|(Since Snyder has become owner, only one thing hasn't changed -failure. Photo: Howard Smith/USA Today)|
I'll actually write about where the Redskins stand when it comes to the draft and what are the possibilities of them getting close to the #1 overall pick in the next few days. However, right now I need to make something quite clear if things remain the same with the current status quo.
It won't matter.
That's right. The draft and all the hopes that comes with the vaunted 1st round pick will mean NOTHING!!!!
Why? It's simple.
There are significant flaws within this organization. From the front office, down to the coaches and players there are problems. But in the end I am convinced that it starts with ownership and the men in the suits making the big calls (No, I'm not talking about the coaches).
When you look at the last four 1st round draft picks (Orakpo, Williams, Kerrigan and RGIII), the Redskins have had mixed results. Also, one player will not make the difference from the Redskins going 3-13 to 9-7 or better.
The Redskins have hit rock bottom again. It's not that they lack talent, but they lack enough talent and pieces around a select few to be able to do much. There is a huge culture of losing and being okay with losing that filters through Redskins Park like the fog that exterminators use when they tent houses to kill off anything inside. Not one player or coach is big enough to wipe out that two decade long stench.
It has to start at the top.
Dan Snyder has to find the right people to run this organization. We thought he did in 2010 with Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen, but in the end it seemed that Shanahan's perceived megalomania/paranoia and Allen's focus on organizational issues (team name/alumni/past traditions/team events) took away from fixing the main problem - the product on the field.
The Redskins need to do some of the following things:
First, the whole franchise mentality of marketing a bad product HAS TO END. Instead of hyping the next big drafted player, next big coach or next big free agent signing, the Redskins need to focus on The Redskins. Matter of fact, quit trying to market the next big splash in order to sell jerseys or season ticket packages. Don't you understand that if the team is good and winning, the fans will come and buy a ton of Redskins themed merchandise? That's how we roll as fans when it comes to this team. If we support you when you suck, imagine how much we'll support you when you're good.
We've learned over the years that neither Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Clinton Portis, Albert Haynesworth, Jason Taylor, Mike Shanahan or Robert Griffin III can be the savior of this franchise. So quit trying to sell this to the fans.
Second, the leaks have to stop. I know that the team can't control every Tweet, Facebook post and media comment, but the leaks from inside the organization HAVE TO STOP. The old slogan "no press is bad press" does not apply to the Redskins. If the team is more focused on texting Adam Schefter, Jay Glazer or Diana Russini scoops than focusing on winning, this team will remain mediocre for the next twenty years. Not even Dallas has as much issues with leaks and Jerry Jones craves media attention as much as possible.
Third, the organization MUST have a football minded general manager in order to succeed. Some fans are calling for Bruce Allen's head, but if he stays as the Team President (which I can live with, Allen is still well respected in NFL circles and has mended some major fences with alumni and fans) the team needs to have a football minded GM calling the shots on coaching decisions and player personnel. This would allow Allen to fight the battles of the team name controversy and continue to promote charitable events like the criticized Harvest Fest.
The new GM would make up his (or her) mind on Jay Gruden's future as the head coach (and his staff) and would make a final decision on whether the team needs to continue with RGIII or to cut bait and move on. If Jay stays, then it would be up to that GM to work with Jay to give the team an identity and to find the players to achieve that goal. If not, then the GM needs to find his coach that would most likely have a plan and the GM would help execute that plan.
At this point, the Redskins do have AJ Smith in the building as a consultant and making him GM may not be a bad move. Smith should have a general idea of the team's current issues and possibly be able fix them with the support of the team president and owner. There are other options around the league and adding fresh blood to this stagnant organization may not be a bad idea but it could turn on that GM from the fans/media very quickly if things don't start off well.
Finally, there needs to be emphasis that the team is working to build the fan's trust once again. Fans have lived under the "good ol' days" of the 80's for over twenty years. There is a generation of Redskins fans who don't know and frankly don't care about what happened before they were born with this team. They're tired of hearing of glorious Super Bowl victories from their fathers and grandfathers when they've seen nothing but mostly crap over the last twenty years.
For the Redskins, it's time to stop staring at the three Lombardi trophies they've earned and start to focus how to get that fourth trophy. To re-build a once great franchise that has gotten old with the decay of arrogance and has crumpled to dust must be the top priority before you can build the roster with free agency money or newly drafted youth.