Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Quick Takes: As the Redskins turn
By John Keim
This question gets asked a lot and now I can say: This is the most bizarre turn of events that I think I’ve covered in Washington. So much sniping going on and story planting that comes across as a smear campaign, mostly against Robert Griffin III with a little Kyle Shanahan bomb tossed into the pile.
Jim Zorn’s entire final season was bad -- the play caller plucked from the bingo hall, remember. But you knew entering that season it had the potential to go south in a hurry. He was on shaky footing and there already was back stabbing going on before the season. What happened was predictable.
We knew about the dynamics between Mike Shanahan and Griffin before the season. And you knew if the Redskins started poorly it could lead to trouble. But to this degree? And this sort of a full-season meltdown by the organization? The players have handled it well, to their credit. But the constant drumbeat of stories and accusations seem designed to win a PR battle, among other things.
Somewhere, Vinny Cerrato is laughing, too. You never want Cerrato laughing at you.
It’s also shocking to see how much this franchise has turned in the last year, with Griffin now painted as the bad guy. He’s not perfect by any means and must continue to learn. But if someone wants him viewed as a bad guy, the more that gets piled on will have a reverse effect, probably in the court of public opinion and in the locker room. Just a guess.
What free agent would want to come to this mess – should it be allowed to continue? Besides those who like a lot of money, of course. Still, there are agents who would steer their clients elsewhere if the money is close.
I agree with everyone who says general manager Bruce Allen needs to say something. Anything. He has a powerful role in this organization and if owner Dan Snyder isn’t going to talk, then someone else needs to step in front of the cameras aside from coach Mike Shanahan. The Washington Post's Mike Wise wrote a good column about this topic Wednesday.
Allen probably wouldn’t say a whole lot, but that’s not the point. Your organization looks to be in shambles right now. It would be good to hear from management’s side about any of this. We already know nothing will be decided until after the season. But you can still address some of the issues.
Otherwise, you’ll continue to get this mess. Maybe it will go on anyway, but let people know what the organization thinks of what’s going on. Is it that difficult. From what I’ve heard, behind the scenes Allen does more than you think. OK, part of that should include saying something if only to appease the fans.
A fan could say this much better than I could, but this has to be the most dissatisfied they’ve been over a season in a long, long time. After last season’s love affair it’s been nothing but drama and disappointment. Clearly, fans had to feel that the their devotion to 20 years of mediocre -- at best -- football would be rewarded over the next five years or so watching Griffin help win titles. And now this. Now you have no idea where this disaster is headed.
Fan dissatisfaction – and empty seats – played a role in owner Dan Snyder’s changes in 2010. It’s hard to see selling another year under this regime, regardless of who’s at fault. And there’s a lot of blame to go around.
The assistant coaches, the ones who have not created this mess are frustrated (at the least). They’re not the one’s leaking stories, they are the ones who will get caught in this wake of this disaster. Coaching in the NFL is all about timing and opportunity. A year ago some viewed the timing here as terrific; I remember talking to one person in the organization who felt like Griffin would help get a lot of people paid. Now some of these coaches and staffers will be out of work, not knowing if they’ll still work in the NFL or not. They went from a dream situation to a nightmare. Some will stick in the NFL; some will not. Perhaps some shouldn’t be in the NFL, but the fact is they were and now their careers will be shaped in part by the drama of the last couple weeks.