If you want the short version of what the past seven days have looked like for the Washington Redskins, here it is:
Now, the longer version.
The Redskins began the week with lots — and lots — of uncertainties. They ended it with even more.
Start with Scot McCloughan. McCloughan was brought in two years ago as the Redskins general manager, a move widely touted by sharp NFL observers. McCloughan, after all, had been the personnel genius behind the construction of the Superbowl-winning Seattle Seahawks and the once-mighty San Francisco 49ers. He would be a much-needed professional hand at the tiller, a respite from the constant meddling of Skins owner Daniel Snyder. That McCloughan had been let go by the Seahawks because of issues with alcohol — and that he acknowledged he still drank — was seen as a minor risk worth incurring.
The Redskins fired McLoughan on Thursday night. And they did it — as they almost always do — in spectacular fashion. While Bruce Allen, Snyder's right-hand man, released only a brief statement wishing McCloughan well, a “team official with direct knowledge of the situation” was far more blunt. “He’s had multiple relapses due to alcohol,” the source said. “He showed up in the locker room drunk on multiple occasions … This has been a disaster for 18 months.”
The savaging of McCloughan on his way out the door reeked of score-settling and low-road-taking. Both of which this franchise has specialized in over the years. (Sidebar: The “disaster” of the past 18 months produced a 17-14-1 record and a division championship.)
Even as the Redskins were making sure to kick McLoughan on his way out the door, lots of others were following — or trying to follow — the deposed GM to the exits. On Thursday, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, the team's two starting wide receivers, left to sign as free agents in Tampa Bay and San Francisco, respectively. Defensive lineman Chris Baker headed out, too, joining Jackson in Tampa.
But the biggest potential loss came in the form of starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, who reportedly personally asked Snyder to trade him before the start of next season. (Snyder said a trade wasn't likely.) As it stands today, Cousins will make $24 million playing on the “franchise tag” for this upcoming season. If the Redskins can't sign him to a longer-term deal before the end of the season, Cousins would be a free agent — able to handpick his next team. And the Redskins would be left holding the bag — and a compensatory third-round pick.
All of the chaos surrounding the Redskins had some longtime fans insisting that this was it, that they would give up their season tickets and walk away from the team. But though they were vocal, they are almost certainly in the minority. Under Snyder's tenure, chaos has been the rule. Chaos and not winning all that much. And yet, the fans just keep going to games and buying merchandise.
The wheel turns on. And the Redskins rack up another Worst Week in Washington.