By now almost 99% of Redskin fans know that Jim Zorn will be gone by the end of the 2009 season (if not sooner) and we also know that Snyder will be interested in a few coaches that have done well and that are currently on the market like Shanahan, Holmgren, Gruden, Cowher and Dungy. However, any head coach that isn't naive or desperate for a paycheck would know that the Redskins organization is in shambles.
And it starts at the top (to quote Carlos Rogers)........
I have to think that most of those guys listed would not come to this team with the current structure, so what should the Redskins do to get one of these guys here?
Here's a list of things that if I was going to coach the Skins would expect in changes from this organization. I think any coach would expect this unless they were truly naive or just were happy with the 5-10 million paycheck.
(Note: This was going to be The Redskins Manifesto with some other things added, but the change in philosophy was the main point)
1. Change Philosophy- The Skins need to conclude that most of what they've done the past few years have been wrong, thus this new regime is going to work differently from the top down in how we do business, run the team, develop personnel, address the media, deal with fans. There needs to be a firm commitment from ownership and the front office and without that, nothing will ever be accomplished.
2. Vinny Cerrato Must be Terminated- While Vinny seems to have some football acumen, it is clearly overshadowed by the fact that he's Daniel Snyder's "Right Hand Man" and it also seems clear that it's Snyder running the show moreso than the Executive VP of player personnel. The Redskins need a "football guy" who knows football, knows the league and knows how to run and manage a team and all of its various departments (at least on the football side of operations).
3. Hire a GM- Good GMs, real football guys, are out there. Since Jon Gruden seems to be a favorite of Snyder's, here's a name for you: Bruce Allen. Find a GM who has some experience and let him run the team. That means Snyder gives up enough power so that the GM has authority to tell him "NO". Remember Mr. Snyder, Jack Kent Cooke won Superbowls with GMs. You can't be a trend setter if you fail and this current set up (Snyder/Vinny running the show) isn't working, nor will it ever.
4. Accountability- Here's a quick question that may stump die hard Redskin fans: Who drafted Sean Taylor? Was it Snyder, Cerrato, Gibbs, Gregg Williams, Clinton Portis? That's the point. It was hard to tell who was doing what and who was signing off on what. That's been a big problem. Who's really running the show and has been running the show? All signs pre and post- Gibbs 2.0 point to Dan Snyder (via Vinny). The Redskins need to have accountability in all aspects of football operations from the owner down to the players. If there is accountability, then people will work harder to get the job done and done correctly.
5. Have a Plan- The Skins are a reactionary team. Instead of planning ahead for problems in the future (like an aging O-line) or having a plan in place, the Skins currently react by radically changing things or by overspending on free agents that will provide a quick fix to all of the problems (and they usually don't). What this team needs to do simply is have a plan. What type of coach do you want to lead this team? What type of scheme do you want to run and do you currently have the players here to run said scheme? What type of players will you need to run said scheme? Those are just a few questions, but you get the point......if the Skins plan ahead they may avoid some of the pitfalls they have fallen into over the past decade and save some money in the process.
5b. Have a Backup Plan- The Redskins should always have a list of GMs, potential head coaches, potential assistant coaches, scouts and players on hand. Sometimes coaches quit, get promoted (to other teams) or other reasons, same with front office people and same with players. If the Redskins have lists ready of potential candidates, they won't be caught flatfooted like they did when Gibbs left in 2007 and the Skins had no idea who they would bring in to replace him.
6. Stick to the Plan- Once the plan has been set up.....stick with it! How many times have the Redskins brought in players and even coaches that don't fit the current structure or scheme....thus making the situation worse.
7. Let the Coach Bring in His People and Players- Don't hamstring the coach by forcing him to use other coaches and schemes that he won't be comfortable. It didn't work with Zorn and it won't work with the next guy. Again, you are not a trend setter if your "trend" fails miserably.
8. Patience- Building a winning team from scratch takes time. The Redskins must allow this coach enough time (minimal 3 years; window 3-5 years) to build his team via draft and free agency. For everyone to learn the scheme and to gel as a unit. The hunger to win should always be there, but it takes time to develop the swagger and learn to win.
9. Honesty- With the fans and the media. You want to win a Superbowl every year. So does 31 other teams, but the organization needs the admit that it's starting over and doing it right this time. If the Redskins try to downplay any big moves or keep the big splashes to a minimal, maybe the fans will give the organization (especially the coach and the players) time to develop.
10. Evaluation- No plan is perfect. There are always bumps in the road. This is why the team and the organization needs to re-evaluate things at all levels and determine what needs to be adjusted......and don't go overboard. Most teams already does this and the Redskins do this at times as well, but it needs to be stated.
11. Win First, Market the Team Second- If the Redskins win, the Redskins will make boatloads of money. So instead of focusing on how to market the team and sell jerseys, the concentration needs to be on what it will take to win. "If you build it, they will come" and FedEx will be packed.
If the Redskins are willing to change their practices and team philosophy they, like other teams, have a good chance to turn things around and become a winning franchise again. It's up to Daniel Snyder to find the right people to do the job and let them do it. If he can do this, he could one day turn from the most hated owner to one of the greatest.