It’s customary for NFL front office heads to hold postseason news conferences during which they reflect on the year that was, outline a vision for where their team is headed and field questions from reporters about any number of topics. Sometimes, these sessions double as an introduction for a new head coach, or an announcement about changes to the coaching staff or front office. While general managers aren’t required to meet with the media, doing so, at least on occasion, promotes a sense of transparency and accountability between teams and their fan bases.
The Redskins don’t do customary, and after dabbling in transparency and accountability for a few months last year following the hiring of Brian Lafemina from the league office, they apparently decided they’re not too keen on those two things either. Lafemina, who, in one of his first moves announced that the Redskins’ season ticket waiting list was no more, was ousted after eight months on the job. Meanwhile, Redskins team president and de facto general manager Bruce Allen, as well as owner Daniel Snyder, have remained silent about the direction of a franchise that missed the playoffs for the fourth time in Coach Jay Gruden’s five seasons.
General managers from 13 of the 20 teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs, including several that didn’t make head coaching changes, have met with reporters in the two weeks since the regular season ended. Except for the Redskins, every team’s general manager (or equivalent) has fielded questions from reporters in a group setting within the last year. The last time Allen took questions during a news conference was on June 13, 2017, when he introduced Doug Williams as the Redskins’ senior vice president of player personnel, three months after Scot McCloughan was fired as general manager.
“One of the things we wanted to do this offseason, from the beginning, was find out what we did wrong,” Allen said that day, before referencing a loss to the Giants in the 2016 regular season finale that cost the Redskins a playoff berth. “We should not have lost the last game of the season. From that Giants game on, the direction of this organization was, ‘We have to get better. We have to find out ways to win that game when we have that opportunity.’”
The Redskins haven’t gotten better, finishing 7-9 in consecutive seasons, and Allen, who is 59-84-1 in nine seasons at the helm, hasn’t answered for any of the team’s recent failures. He also declined to speak with reporters after the Redskins claimed former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers in November, two days after Foster was arrested on a domestic violence charge for the second time in a year. (The charge was later dropped.) Instead, the team issued a statement attributed to Williams, who later apologized for comments he made on a radio show about the team’s heavily criticized decision to claim Foster. Allen wasn’t heard from after the Redskins released Pro Bowl safety D.J. Swearinger for insubordination on Christmas Eve or when Lafemina’s ouster was reported two days later.
A month after announcing Williams’ promotion in 2017, Allen invited a small group of reporters to Redskins Park, where he read a brief statement explaining Washington’s failed efforts to negotiate a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins before the deadline. Allen pronounced Cousins’s first name “Kurt” at least six times during his two-minute statement and declined to take questions.
Allen did conduct one-on-one interviews with reporters during the league’s annual meetings last March, more than nine months ago.
Perhaps Allen is still embarrassed by what transpired the last time he gave an end-of-season address, following the Redskins’ 4-12 campaign in 2014.
“It eats away at your core when you lose,” Allen said during that 40-minute news conference. “But we’re going to make sure everyone understands that that’s not acceptable, and that everybody is working together in order to get success on the football field and off the football field. I do think our charitable foundation does a fantastic job. We’re winning off the field. But we’ve got to start winning on the field.”
In fairness to Allen, there’s not much he could say — short of “I no longer work here” — that would appease the disgruntled Redskins fans behind the #FireBruceAllen movement on social media. While he has granted one-on-one interviews within the last year, his lack of news conferences puts him in a class of his own among his NFL peers. Most teams’ front office heads take questions from reporters multiple times a year, including at the combine, before or after the draft and during training camp. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones speaks with reporters after almost every game. At the other end of the spectrum, Bengals de facto general manager Mike Brown rarely meets with the media and didn’t speak at a news conference announcing Coach Marvin Lewis’s firing last month, but even he makes time for reporters once a year.
Here is the last time every NFL team’s general manager (or equivalent) took questions from reporters in a news conference setting, based on a search of team sites and news sources. In some cases, general managers may have fielded questions from individual reporters or radio programs more recently than the date listed.
Broncos GM John Elway: Thursday
Elway took questions after introducing Coach Vic Fangio as Vance Joseph’s replacement.
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht: Thursday
Licht invited reporters to “fire away” with questions after he introduced Coach Bruce Arians as Dirk Koetter’s replacement.
Patriots Coach Bill Belichick: Wednesday
As a head coach, New England’s de facto general manager is required to meet with the media every week, though he’s mastered the art of saying nothing of substance.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim: Wednesday
Keim took questions at the news conference to introduce Coach Kliff Kingsbury as Steve Wilks’ replacement.
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst: Wednesday
Gutekunst and Packers CEO Mark Murphy answered questions from reporters at Coach Matt LaFleur’s introductory news conference.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Tuesday
Jones gives an annual state of the team address at training camp and meets with reporters throughout the season. He also makes weekly radio appearances.
Lions GM Bob Quinn: Jan. 4, 2019
Quinn rarely meets with the media during season, but he answered questions for 20 minutes at his end-of-season address.
Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff: Jan. 3, 2019
Dimitroff and Falcons Coach Dan Quinn fielded questions from reporters on the heels of Atlanta’s disappointing 7-9 year.
Giants GM Dave Gettleman: Jan. 2, 2019
“We’re headed in the right direction, I really believe that,” Gettleman said during his 35-minute end-of-season news conference. “We’ve had a year. We’ve done a lot of different types of things. Obviously we’ve done a pretty extensive overhaul with the roster. We consistently talked about culture and building a winning culture. It’s a team that had to learn how to win again, so I feel really good about the foundation that we’ve started to lay. I’m not happy with 5-11, nobody is, but I feel good about where we’re headed.”
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan: Jan. 2, 2019
Maccagnan and Jets CEO Christopher Johnson both addressed reporters after the season and will likely do so again when Adam Gase is introduced as New York’s head coach.
Bills GM Brandon Beane: Dec. 31, 2018
The second-year GM took questions on a variety of topics during a 20-minute end-of-season news conference.
49ers GM John Lynch: Dec. 31, 2018
“We fell far short of our expectations within our team this year, and that’s what’s most important, our expectations,” Lynch said while seated next to Coach Kyle Shanahan at the 49ers’ end-of-season news conference. “We fell short of those, but I’ve always been taught that you look for the positives, and I think there are some positives from this season. We got to see a lot of different people play.”
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and GM Chris Grier: Dec. 31, 2018
After firing Coach Adam Gase, Ross announced that longtime vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum would be reassigned within the front office and the Dolphins next head coach would report to Grier.
Browns GM John Dorsey: Dec. 31, 2018
Dorsey, who held an end-of-season news conference on New Year’s Eve, will likely speak with reporters again when Freddie Kitchens is introduced as the Browns’ head coach.
Raiders GM Mike Mayock: Dec. 31, 2018
Mayock, the former NFL Network analyst, was introduced as the Raiders’ new general manager shortly after Reggie McKenzie was fired on Dec. 10.
Vikings GM Rick Spielman: Nov. 6, 2018
Spielman typically holds an in-season question-and-answer session with reporters during the Vikings’ bye week.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman: Oct. 30, 2018
Roseman took questions from reporters after the Eagles acquired wide receiver Golden Tate at the trade deadline.
Titans GM Jon Robinson: Sept. 27, 2018
While many GMs avoid speaking to reporters during the season, Robinson addressed the Titans’ decision to release wide receiver Rishard Matthews after Week 3.
Bears GM Ryan Pace: Sept. 2, 2018
Pace and Bears Coach Matt Nagy answered questions about the trade for Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack before the season. Pace is scheduled to hold his season-ending news conference on Monday.
Chiefs GM Brett Veach: Sept. 1, 2018
Veach answered questions from local media on a conference call after Kansas City trimmed its roster to 53 players.
Rams GM Les Snead: Aug. 8, 2018
Snead took questions from reporters during training camp.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert: July 27, 2018
Colbert told reporters there’s “absolutely no concern” about how Coach Mike Tomlin runs his team and answered other questions at the start of Pittsburgh’s training camp.
Panthers GM Marty Hurney: July 26, 2018
Hurney met with reporters at the start of training camp.
Saints GM Mickey Loomis: July 25, 2018
Loomis and Saints Coach Sean Payton held a joint news conference at the start of training camp.
Bengals owner Mike Brown: July 24, 2018
Brown rarely meets with the media, but he makes an exception at the team’s annual media luncheon, a 51-year-old tradition.
Colts GM Chris Ballard: July 20, 2018
Ballard told reporters that Andrew Luck was healthy again and “throwing the ball pretty well” before the start of training camp.
Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell: April 28, 2018
Tom Coughlin, the executive vice president of football operations, and Caldwell, who spoke after the draft, have yet to address reporters since Jacksonville completed its disappointing 5-11 season.
Texans GM Brian Gaine: April 28, 2018
Gaine and Texans Coach Bill O’Brien addressed reporters after the NFL draft.
Seahawks GM John Schneider: April 28, 2018
Schneider and Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll held a news conference after the NFL draft.
Chargers GM Tom Telesco: April 28, 2018
Telesco and Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn held a news conference after the NFL draft.
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome: April 28, 2018
Newsome, who built two Super Bowl-winning rosters over his 23 seasons as the Ravens’ general manager, spoke to reporters after making his final draft pick for Baltimore. Eric DeCosta, Newsome’s successor, signed a contract to begin his new role on Thursday.
Redskins GM Bruce Allen: June 13, 2017
It’s been 577 days and counting.
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