SBD/January 2, 2014/Franchises

Allen Set To Retain Control Over Redskins' Football Ops Following Shanahan's Dismissal

Allen will have the final say on all player-related decisions
The Redskins "aren’t interested in fixing a key part of their organization that is clearly broken" in regards to a front office that has had a "15-year run of mediocrity" under Owner Daniel Snyder, according to Jason Reid of the WASHINGTON POST. Though there is "no way to justify maintaining the front-office structure of a 3-13 team," Redskins Exec VP & GM Bruce Allen "tried while declaring all is well" during Monday's news conference to announce Mike Shanahan's dismissal. Reid: "Truth is, Snyder would rather do things his way than the right way." Allen is "great at shaking hands and kissing babies, but he doesn’t possess the player evaluation chops to overhaul a roster in disrepair." A source said that Allen "would be best at managing the Redskins’ business operation as the team president." If Snyder was "serious about finally trying to set the Redskins along a good path, he would promote Allen, hire a general manager who served in a high-ranking position on a successful team and give him the power to hire a coach and construct the roster." Of course, "in such a scenario, Snyder would be relegated to the sidelines again, which is where he largely was the past four years." But he "would rather be closer to the action -- like in the middle of it" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/31). In Richmond, Michael Phillips noted Allen during the press conference "dismissed reports of Snyder's meddling as 'distasteful,' adding he believes the owner is misunderstood." Allen: "It's not Dan calling the plays. It's not Dan picking the players. It's the people he hired, and it's our job to actually turn this team into a winner" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 12/31).

LEADING MAN? Allen said that he "will inherit the final say" over the Redskins’ player-related decisions from Shanahan. Allen: "The control will be mine and it will be working with our personnel department. ... It doesn’t mean we might not add somebody to the personnel department." (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/30). SI.com's Don Banks questioned if Snyder is "going to serve to limit his options on the head coaching front if Allen is perceived as having fully-vested personnel authority going forward." Allen's "strong suit has not been on that side of the game, and how that different approach in D.C. will be viewed is a question left unanswered for now" (SI.com, 12/30). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell wrote of Allen, "It was striking that he so firmly dismissed the notion that the team needs to restructure its front office and bring in a personnel guru to collaborate with the new coach." It is "baffling that NFL owners don't put as much emphasis on finding the up-and-coming personnel people as they try to strike oil on the coaching front" (USA TODAY, 12/31). In DC, Mike Wise wrote Allen was “instantly made into a bona fide” GM by Snyder, who “transferred executive power over personnel and all football decisions to his former alumni director/salary-cap supervisor.” Wise: “What a promotion! What a franchise-altering change! What a crock.” Allen “looked so calm and serene in his new official role of Franchise Leader that you would have never known a man who already has ‘general manager’ in front of his name failed to utter a public word during the organization’s most woeful year in two decades, that he failed miserably -- purposely? -- as a buffer between Snyder and Shanahan” (WASHINGTON POST, 12/31).

WHERE THE PROBLEM LIES: In DC, Fenno & Boyer reported, "In a four-minute statement to reporters at Redskins Park, Shanahan blamed the $36 million salary cap penalty that stretched over the past two offseasons for the team’s lack of depth, but said he believes the organization is in better shape than when he arrived" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/31). Also in DC, Zac Boyer noted it is believed Shanahan, who signed a five-year, $35M contract in January '10, "will receive" the roughly $7M remaining on his deal (WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/31).

THEATER OF THE ABSURD: In DC, Kent Babb wrote under the header, “Shanahan’s Final Day At Redskins Park Is Symbolically Bizarre.” Snyder and Allen “did the firing” during a 9:00am ET meeting, and the team “ordered pre-emptive measures presumably meant to reduce unnecessary attention -- but in the process attracted far more.” Reporters “weren’t allowed to stand in the parking lot between the media building and the team facility after Snyder and Shanahan arrived.” The team “assigned two public-relations interns to patrol the area, assigning them walkie-talkies and instructions to keep doors and window shades closed.” Reporters therefore “watched and shot video through uncovered windows and slits between curtain and sill” (WASHINGTON POST, 12/31). Also in DC, Nathan Fenno wrote the organization “seemed beset by the same mentality that has left it in perpetual chaos.” Fenno: “Dysfunction, the sort of anonymous finger-pointing that occupied much of the season’s final month, is more familiar than playoff victories” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/31).

FISSURES BENEATH THE SURFACE: ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said, “Snyder, as an owner, is terrific. There’s 91,000 people there every game. It’s a great brand, the Redskins. But they have to win.” Jaworski added, “Let Dan Sndyer be the owner and enjoy all the rewards of being the owner, but let the football people -- let the Bruce Allens of the world, the next guy they bring in -- let them do their job and support them rather than fight them” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 12/30). In DC, Thomas Boswell wrote, “Can this farcical franchise continue to rule Washington no matter how bad it is, no matter how much of an embarrassment it is to the city and its fans?” If this “tacky tabloid year doesn’t start a process of modest disengagement, of fan grieving, what would it take?” (WASHINGTON POST, 12/31). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, appearing on ESPN Radio 980 DC, said the Redskins’ season "started off bad and got worse, and melodramatic, like a 1940s post-war movie." Wilbon: "It was never even like a football season: it was just like something starring Joan Crawford. What is this?” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/30).
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