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The 5 O’Clock Club: Shopping for a man to ‘buy the groceries’

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

The 5 o’clock club is published Wednesday to Saturday during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.


I’ve had today’s article on GM candidates ready for a week or two, and was holding it until today so that it would be more “timely”.

Seems I waited one or two days too long.

In light of the decisions on Lafemina, Ziff and Kline, along with the resignation of Bye (apropos name, I guess), I could have dumped this article and written a different one, but... well... I figured I’d just run with this list of respected NFL personnel people and executives as a sort of protest against Wednesday’s particular idiocy from Dan Snyder.

Just when you think he might be ready to pay attention...

Here’s a few paragraphs from Liz Clarke’s story about the shakeup in the Redskins front office yesterday:

In some ways, Wednesday’s parting could have been anticipated from the moment Snyder pared back team President Bruce Allen’s duties to carve out a role for Lafemina. Like a monarch with two sons, Snyder in May gave Allen and Lafemina each half of the Redskins’ fiefdom to rule, announcing that Allen would supervise the football side of the operation and Lafemina would supervise the business side. Each reported directly to Snyder. In the restructuring, Lafemina inherited some of Allen’s former terrain.

Patience has not been a hallmark of Snyder’s 19-year ownership. Nor has collegiality been a hallmark of Allen’s tenure, particularly when he perceives fellow executives as smart, self-directed and threats to his authority. Heading into Sunday’s season finale against Philadelphia, the Redskins have compiled a 59-83-1 record during Allen’s nine seasons in Washington.

Snyder is said to be frustrated not only with his team’s performance but also with the waning appeal of FedEx Field, built in 1997, which he increasingly views as a liability. A decline in game-day revenue could have been predicted, of course, given that Snyder has downsized capacity at least three times in the last eight years — from roughly 92,000 to less than 82,000 — to convey the impression of ticket demand.

Despite Lafemina’s multipronged initiatives to boost ticket sales, the Redskins drew just 57,013 for their Sept. 16 home opener against the Indianapolis Colts. It was the smallest crowd for a home opener in the venue’s 21-year history — down more than 21,000 from the 78,685 who attended the Redskins’ 2017 home opener against the NFC East rival Eagles.

The 5 O’Clock Club: Shopping for a man to ‘buy the groceries’

Who is Dan Hatman?

Dan Hatman is a guy with a reputation as a scout and evaluator of talent in the NFL. Here’s a quick profile I grabbed from one website that popped up on a Google search:

Dan Hatman has been a progressive mind in the football world and NFL Pro Scout. His focus is on the personal and professional development of the next generation of evaluators and is constantly looking to Help Build Champions. To date he has trained eleven NFL scouts and earned a Super Bowl XLII ring while interning with the New York Giants. Additionally, Hatman coached at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst focusing on Defensive Line and Special Teams. Hatman graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and two masters; one in Business Administration and one in Sports Administration.

Why should I care?

Well, mainly because he wrote an article that I want to reference today, and I thought I’d remove any question about whether the author was a kid writing articles while eating meatloaf in his mom’s basement.

The article I want to reference is titled, 2019 NFL General Manager Candidate Study.

Here’s Dan’s explanation of what he’s trying to accomplish with this article:

[W]ith some anticipation of potential changes at GM positions in the NFL in the coming weeks, I present to you my research on the process of how owners decide who they want to lead their football operations, but I say again (in my annual tradition), I do not speak with owners (or agents for that matter) regarding the list below.

This is NOT “my list.” This is the outcome of years of studying which candidates have actually interviewed for the position and my attempt to highlight what I have learned in that process. I have dear friends that I believe should be in consideration for GM opportunities that will be on the list below and others that will not. This is because this study is not about who I believe in, but who seems to have the attention of ownership groups.

I do believe these types of lists are becoming predictive. As Breer noted in 2016, “As some evaluators explain it to me, the influx of search firms and veteran consultants has spawned a network connecting candidates to advocates and narrowing the process—making it easier for teams, and hard for everyone else.” So as we study candidate lists from insiders ... and then study the candidates who are interviewing, those who decline interviews, and those who do not get permission to interview, we can really see the field of candidates take shape.

Dan has some evidence that his method is fairly predictive — at least for GM openings that are not filled internally.

There were two GM openings after the 2017 season and both went to candidates included in the 2018 study, with Brian Gaine and Brian Gutekunst being hired in Houston and Green Bay respectively. In addition, Eric DeCosta will take over in Baltimore.

After the 2016 season, there were 3 GM openings that were not an internal promotion and two of the three were filed with candidates from the 2017 study. Chris Ballard earned his opportunity with Indianapolis and Brandon Beane earned his in Buffalo.

Two GM openings after the 2015 season were not internal promotions and both went to those on the 2016 study with Jon Robinson being selected in Tennessee and Bob Quinn in Detroit.

The Redskins

I mention this because a lot of people seem to feel that the time has finally come — meaning that there are enough empty seats at FedEx Stadium — for Dan Snyder to finally come to grips with the inevitable and make sweeping changes (or at least one big change) to the front office of the Redskins franchise.

In short, it seems like it might finally be time to fire Bruce Allen.

Of course, Bruce isn’t the GM, he’s the President.

And, isn’t Doug Williams the GM? No. Doug is the Senior Vice President of Player Personnel.

The Redskins, of course, don’t have a General Manager. They haven’t had one since Scot McCloughan’s ugly termination a while back. I’ve assumed that the reason had something to do with defending the grievance that Scot filed against the team, but that is in the past now. If Bruce were to be fired on Monday, I think that all bets would be off about whether the current organization would be retained.

Chances are, whether the team simply re-shuffled the front office team without bringing in an outside personnel professional, or whether they did bring in some new blood, the organizational structure would not survive intact.

There has been a lot of speculation in the press recently about what an internal re-organization might look like. Eric Schaffer, perhaps, replacing Bruce as the top guy in charge; Kyle Smith moving into a GM role... something like that.

But there’s always the possibility that Dan may feel that the current structure is a bit too cozy, and he may be seeking new ideas and new direction. If that’s the case, then the list put together by Dan Hatman may give some indication of the universe of candidates that Snyder would likely be looking at in choosing a new General Manager.

Hatman divides his list into groups.

Oft-mentioned GM Candidates that tend to decline interviews:

Candidates with multiple 2017 or 2018 interviews:

  • Scott Fitterer – co-director of player personnel – Seattle SeahawksKnown interviews: 2017: SF / IND / KC
  • Trent Kirchner – co-director of player personnel – Seattle SeahawksKnown interviews: 2015: NYJ / 2016: DET / 2017:SF, IND
  • George Paton – vice president of player personnel/assistant gm – Minnesota VikingsKnown interviews: 2012: STL / 2013: CAR / 2017: SF, IND
  • Jimmy Raye III – senior personnel executive – Detroit LionsKnown interviews: 2009: KC / 2010: SEA / 2012: CHI / 2013: SD / 2017: SF, IND / 2018: HST, CAR
  • Louis Riddick – nfl analyst – ESPNKnown interviews: 2010: PHI / 2017: SF, NYG
  • Eliot Wolf – assistant general manager – Cleveland BrownsKnown interviews: 2017: SF, IND / 2018: GB

Candidates with one 2017 or 2018 interview:

  • Kevin Abrams – vice president of football operations/assistant general manager – New York GiantsKnown interviews: 2007: NYG / 2016: DET / 2017: NYG
  • Mike Borgonzi – director of football operations – Kansas City Chiefs2017: KC
  • Trey Brown – executive vp of football operations – Memphis Express (AAF)2017: BUF
  • Ryan Cowden – vice president of player personnel – Tennessee Titans2017: KC
  • Lake Dawson – assistant director of college scouting – Buffalo Bills2012: STL / 2013: CAR / 2014: MIA, TB / 2015: CHI / 2018: CAR
  • Terry McDonough – vice president of player personnel – Arizona CardinalsKnown interviews: 2017: SF
  • Marc Ross – unknown – none knownKnown interviews: 2010: SEA / 2012: IND, CHI / 2013: JAX, NYJ, SD, CAR / 2014: MIA, TB / 2016: TEN / 2017: NYG

Previous General Managers who appear most likely to gain another opportunity this year:

Candidates from the Insiders lists on teams in the playoff hunt:

Hatman ends his article with these thoughts:

[I]n the aftermath of Black Monday and the pending changes to the top of many organizations, owners ask themselves: What type of leader do I want? An experienced personnel man that comes in with a proven plan? A younger executive with less experience but new and fresh ideas? Someone closer to the age of the owner who can relate to the boss? Someone who can recruit the best coach possible? A man who really knows the talent floating around the country in the draft and on the free agent market? How about a guy with a business-savvy approach?

There is no single right profile when it comes to hiring a GM. As with any human capital acquisition, the owner must decide what skills the organization has to have to be successful and ensure there is a plan to cover every aspect of running the organization. Teams have used many models and still made the playoffs; the owner model (Dallas and Cincinnati), the head coach model (New England, Seattle, New Orleans), and the traditional GM model (Baltimore, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Arizona). As Jim Collins says, you have to get the right people “on the bus” and “in the right seat” in order to move forward successfully. So for this wave of GM hires, that means the owner and interview committee need to have a strong plan on how to identify, vet, and acquire the right person.

Read a related story published today on Pro Football Talk: Click here for link

The poll question now seems irrelevant, but, as before, I’ll leave it in place


Assuming Snyder makes changes that start with firing Bruce Allen on Monday, what would you prefer to see happen next?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    An internal re-structure that sees Doug Williams, Kyle Smith (or someone else currently in Ashburn) in charge of personnel in 2019
    (110 votes)
  • 67%
    New Blood — possibly someone from Dan Hatman’s list
    (225 votes)
335 votes total Vote Now

Here’s a poll question perhaps more appropriate to the current news cycle:


How do you feel about Dan Snyder’s decision to fire Brian Lafemina and Steve Ziff, followed by Dan & Bruce refusing to answer any questions about the decision?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    I feel really good about it
    (15 votes)
  • 95%
    I am not happy about it
    (341 votes)
356 votes total Vote Now

This Kyle Smith profile was attached below the poll question when I prepared the article for publication. I decided to leave it in place.

Kyle Smith’s profile from

Kyle Smith is entering his ninth season with the Redskins and his second as the team’s Director of College Personnel in 2018.

Smith initially joined the team on a full-time basis as an area scout during the 2011 offseason. After being promoted to Director of College Personnel in June 2017, Smith now oversees the organization’s evaluation of collegiate talent, managing scouting efforts at both the area and national levels.

Smith began his professional career as an intern with the Redskins in 2010. He joined the team on a full-time basis in 2011 and spent six seasons as an area scout for the organization. Prior to his promotion to Director of College Personnel, he most recently oversaw the team’s scouting efforts in the Southeast region, a region that produced the team’s first- and second-round picks in both the 2017 and 2018 NFL Drafts.

In his first draft as Director of College Personnel, Smith collaborated with his staff and Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams in identifying and selecting the eight players that comprised the team’s 2018 draft class. Among the selections were first-round defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne, who joined the Redskins following his dominant showing for Alabama in the College Football Playoff, as well as second-round running back Derrius Guice, who exited his collegiate career at LSU ranked second only to Auburn legend Bo Jackson in yards per carry in SEC history.

Smith graduated from Youngstown State, where he was twice named honorable mention all-conference while playing wide receiver and punt returner from 2002-05. He inished his collegiate career ranked 11th in program history in career receptions (101) and receiving yards (1,534), third in punt returns (56) and fourth in punt return yards (377). Smith also owned the school record for consecutive games with a reception (30).

As a senior, Smith was elected a team captain and earned the team’s Most Valuable Player Award. Following the season he was invited to play in the 2006 Hula Bowl All-Star Game. Smith signed as a college free agent with the Minnesota Vikings, where he spent part of the 2006 offseason. In January of 2007, he was signed by Tampa Bay, which allocated him to NFL Europe’s Berlin Thunder. He later had practice squad stints in the Arena Football League and Canadian Football League.

Smith was born in Warwick, R.I., and raised in Buffalo, N.Y. He is the son of long-time NFL executive A.J. Smith.