In the meantime, we tackle all kinds of Redskins-related questions that you have sent in during the past seven days.
Thanks, as always, for taking part, and keep the questions coming for next Tuesday’s installment. Send them to me at email@example.com with the subject line “Mailbag question.”
Here we go . . .
I thought teams were not able to interview coaches from a team that is still playing in the playoffs. I see the Redskins are to be interviewing a coach from Seattle and Carolina, both are playoff teams. Was that just an unofficial rule, or is it at the discretion of the playoff team?
— Jeremiah Owen
The league’s rule on interviewing coaches allows teams to interview coaching candidates who have opening-round byes during that week. So that’s why the Redskins could interview Seattle’s Darrell Bevell and Carolina’s Sean McDermott. The rule also states that coaches on staff with teams in first-round games can’t interview until after that first game. The Redskins, or any other team in the market for a head coach, can’t actually hire those coaches until their current teams are eliminated from contention.
When are we going to have a new general manager and owner so the Redskins can finally be successful? Blame must go on those two for interfering with player selection and coaching decisions that ultimately have held us down since Allen came in and Snyder bought the team.
Now with Mike Shanahan out of the picture, the Redskins — with Bruce Allen now apparently running the show and Morocco Brown and Scott Campbell working under him to help make personnel decisions — have the closest thing to a traditional setup that they’ve had since Charley Casserly got fired in 1999. Allen says that he has the power, and based on the candidates they are interviewing, it doesn’t seem like he will then hand that power over to the head coach, Shanahan style, once he is hired. Allen deserves some of the blame for the structuring of contracts during the uncapped year, which led to the $36 million salary cap penalty that the NFL leveled against the Redskins the past two years. But I don’t know how you can say Allen has interfered with player selection and coaching decisions. He largely stayed out of the way. In free agency, Shanahan would say, ‘Go get this guy, that guy, and that one, too.’ And Allen would go do it. In the draft, Shanahan would listen to the opinions of his scouts, but ultimately made the decisions there as well. Allen’s job the past four years has largely been to serve as a buffer between Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder. Now, has Snyder interfered with player selection or coaching decisions? It doesn’t appear that he did so in the coaching department, but he did push for Donovan McNabb, and he was all in on the acquisition of Robert Griffin III, as was Shanahan. Did Snyder’s relationship with Griffin cause discomfort on Shanahan’s part? It seems so. It seems like it’s painfully hard for Snyder to completely remove himself. But, he wasn’t to blame for the 0-8 finish to the season. Neither was Allen. The jury remains out on Allen as a real general manager. He had success with the Raiders and Buccaneers. But this is a new situation. We’ll soon find out how well or poorly he does.
For someone who amassed vast wealth through marketing and media, Daniel Snyder has made numerous idiotic public relations blunders during his ownership of the club. It is utterly baffling how he can build a wildly successful business empire, yet remain completely inept (or arrogantly dismissive) when it comes to the most basic fundamentals of successful organizations as they relate to his on-field product. Despite making tons of money regardless of the team’s putrid performances, I know he hates to lose. From your own observations, what is it about Snyder and his ownership group that creates such a toxic environment for on field success?
— Dave Severn
Well, for much of his time as owner, I think the problem was he underestimated (and maybe still does) what it takes to conduct football operations. We all think we know how to make football decisions, but we don’t. Not in real life. I love cooking. I’m pretty good at it, too — on a very small, in your home kitchen or backyard-grill scale. I’d love to have a restaurant someday. But, if I bought a successful eatery and started calling the shots, I’d run that thing into the ground. I think some of Snyder’s problem was he thought running the Redskins was as easy as playing fantasy football. He’s great at marketing and making money, but running a team is different. Now, some things apply to all kinds of businesses and some of that involves people skills. You have to treat people with respect. There have been plenty of stories from former employees that have come out over the years and relay examples of him not treating people well. And some of that leads to toxic situations. But you’ll talk to others still who say that Snyder is great and does a lot of good things for the people that work for him. Also, Snyder claims to have learned and thus took a backseat and let Shanahan take the wheel, and things still ended poorly. So, it’s hard to say exactly why Snyder can’t get it right.
When does one say RGIII just isn’t the same since his injury? When does someone look at reality and not dreams? I am one of the biggest RGIII fans out there. This guy is nowhere close to being himself.
Robert Griffin III definitely didn’t come close to duplicating the success he had as a rookie, but it’s still too early to say that he is a bust. The guy had his right knee reconstructed for a second time, and that’s a major injury to come back from. But by Week 6, the knee wasn’t the issue. Griffin had elusiveness, he had speed. Against the Giants, he rushed for 88 yards on 12 carries (averaging 7.3 yards a carry). His problem was mental: seeing the defense, diagnosing what he was seeing and then knowing how to react all in a matter of roughly three seconds. A lot was made from how Griffin missed a lot of important snaps during the offseason and training camp, and how those snaps would’ve helped advance his development. Is all that true? We’ll see. This could be a make-or-break year for Griffin. Now fully healthy, he’ll have the whole offseason to immerse himself in whatever new offense his new coach will bring with him. He still has time to get it right. Now, if we’re sitting here a year from now and Griffin has struggled mightily once again, then you can say that this isn’t going to work out.
How much would it cost to buy the Redskins from Dan Synder? Anyone interested in starting a campaign to buy our dignity back?
— Ally Bolin
The Redskins are worth somewhere around $1.7 billion, so, you and a lot of people will need to sell everything you own to come up with that kind of change. And then there’s the matter of Snyder not having a desire to sell the team. He’s a life-long fan and wants more than anything to see this team win a Super Bowl on his watch. I’m not sure even $1.7 billion could prompt him to part with the team.
RGIII is the quarterback of the franchise, right? Because he’s amazing I’m a huge fan of him and I think you should stick with him he’s amazing and is Washington’s leader. They should hire Jim Caldwell or Rich Bisaccia or Art Briles.
— Luke Moscardini
Yes, Griffin remains the franchise quarterback, but he has to make significant strides forward to remain that guy. He’ll have a new head coach coming in, and that guy will find himself under a lot of pressure to lead a quick turnaround. Griffin isn’t his pick, so he might not be as patient. I don’t know what the chances are that the Redskins will hire Caldwell or Bisaccia. I was told they’re not going after Briles. There’s obvious appeal with Briles because he had success with Griffin at Baylor, but he says he’s staying at Baylor, and people close to both sides say they don’t see it happening. Caldwell has experience working with talented quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco and Brad Johnson. But it’s debatable how great a head coach he is. His success as a head coach came while working with one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He went 2-14 with Manning sidelined by injury. And although John Harbaugh made the jump from special teams coach to Super Bowl winning head coach, I’m not sure that Bisaccia has a great shot at landing this job, either. You don’t see many special teams coordinators considered for head coaching jobs. I think he would probably be the most surprising hire of all.
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.
● Robert Griffin III is the Redskins’ Ed Block Courage Award winner.
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