After 20 years of watching this movie, it is simply no surprise that Dan Snyder’s stewardship of the Washington Redskins has once again led us to this place.
The place where nobody ever learns from the past.
The place where you can’t have nice things because they will only be defiled.
The place where the taste of success triggers diabolical, self-destructive machinations.
You know, the place where every single terrible theory might actually be true.
Kevin Ewoldt is sitting on his front porch in Charleston today, rocking his jorts and crocs, laughing his ass off. When he and I interviewed Dan Snyder back in May 2010, I remember Dan looking me in the eye and saying he made the wrong call when he kept Norv Turner and jettisoned Charley Casserly. Hearing him say that did so much to make me believe a lesson had been learned, but it was hearing him talk about the possibility that he had held onto Vinny Cerrato too long that really made me feel good as a Redskins fan.
The fact that we are here right now is truly shocking, which in itself is truly shocking. After all, who among us can say that the kind of narcissistic, self-aggrandizing behavior that seems to be taking place at Redskins Park is all that out-of-character for a Dan Snyder-led organization? So why should we be surprised this is happening? That said, after two years of apparent progress—both on the field and in the front office—the idea that this bunch would willfully reject the path back to respectability is as distressing as it is disgraceful.
I have been a target of some who have suggested I have been taking it too easy on Scot “McLovin” McCloughan this offseason. The narrative seemed to be centered around McLovin being the problem child who was predestined to implode. If you believe Mike Jones from the Washington Post—which I do—that narrative was coming straight from Bruce Allen, who seemed to be circulating negative opinions of McLovin in league circles (like blaming Scot for any and all negative leaks about the team). When I would say, “Maybe we need to wait to know more before we jump to such harsh conclusions and run this guy out of town,” it wasn’t because I’m smart in any way, or that I am privy to things that nobody else seemed privy to. It was because I know how this front office operates. We all do, really. To deny that this kind of behavior is nothing new is to deny that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Of course it was (and is) possible that multiple parties need to share blame, but there is a very common ingredient that Redskins fans know all too well: Dan Snyder.
As I wrote the other day, the decision on what to do about Kirk has been a divisive force inside the Redskins organization. Publicly, Bruce Allen has been talking lately about Kirk “not going anywhere” and has been more aggressive in the kinds of long-term offers he has made. This has had the effect of making some assume that this is where his head has been at all along. Not so fast, or so it would seem. Now we are hearing that McLovin wanted to lock Kirk up last year and it was Bruce and Dan that felt otherwise. With regard to the theory that Dan and Bruce didn’t want to confirm Mike Shanahan was right about Kirk by signing him to a big deal...is that really so hard to believe? Is it really so difficult to believe that Dan Snyder would act in this fashion? Listen, the franchise tags have not hurt us from the following standpoint: even at $43 million over two years, I think we are paying at or below market value for Kirk Cousins. (Important note: I have always advocated for the long-term deal, so this is more about me making lemonade out of diarrhea than it is me thinking these tags are great. Thanks Bill!) The problem is on the roster-building, talent evaluation side—you know, where Dan Snyder has committed to the most disastrous unforced errors. Bruce Allen may be an experienced veteran NFL exec, but his track record evaluating and selecting talent is well-documented. It’s not a good record. THAT IS WHY THEY HIRED MCLOVIN. He was brought here to help the team make good decisions that would lead to long-term roster stability. On the MOST IMPORTANT roster decision you can make as an NFL team—the one about a franchise quarterback—the guy who supposedly came here with full authority on roster decisions gets overruled? Out of spite?!? WHAT?!?!?!?!?
Even if Bruce Allen is the one spraying gasoline onto this dumpster fire, Dan Snyder is the one who put the gas can in his hand. At multiple points throughout his tenure as steward of this team, Dan Snyder has faced tough decisions exactly like this. He made the wrong one when he dumped Casserly in favor of Norv. He made the wrong one when he dumped Marty Schottenheimer for Vinny Cerrato. He is on the verge of making the same mistake again if he decides to dump McLovin in favor of keeping Bruce Allen. Make no mistake about it...this might not be a decision between two perfect people, but that does not mean there isn’t a right decision to be made.
Put simply, the Redskins team is close to being an actual contender on the field. Bruce Allen is not the reason why. If Dan decides to keep Bruce and fire Scot, it would be a deliberate move to get worse on the field. It would be choosing to go backward. It would be embracing the very kinds of shenanigans that defined this organization for much of the last 20 years under Dan Snyder.
Until it actually happens, I will hold out hope that the Redskins can figure out a way to keep the best talent evaluator we have had since Bobby Beathard on the staff. Until we actually fully implode (oh...we’re so close), I will hold out hope that Dan Snyder doesn’t actually want to lift his leg and crap all over his fan base/customer base.
WHAT ARE REDSKINS FANS SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE ABOUT WHAT DAN SNYDER THINKS OF US WHEN HE DOES THIS? He clearly thinks we’re morons that aren’t paying attention.
It seems clear that those lessons that Dan seemed to have learned and owned up to have been completely forgotten (or he was only telling me/us what we wanted so desperately to hear at the time). It seems clear that ego and pettiness have returned to their thrones in Ashburn. It seems clear that Dan Snyder doesn’t give two f’s about winning football games.
As Bob Dylan said, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”
To those who think this may be overreaction, please read the comments below. You might find I am under-reacting...