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Fans don’t have faith in ‘Skins, but player agents are surprisingly positive

until they talk about the owner, Dan Snyder

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NFL: AUG 22 Preseason - Redskins at Falcons Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well, the results of the FanPulse survey are in following the Redskins first victory of the season — a 17-16 win over the Dolphins in Miami — and the big news is that nothing changed. In the week before the game, 98% of fans answering the survey failed to express confidence in the direction of the franchise, and after the Redskins got off the schneid, that number was the same — 98% of respondents failing to express confidence in the direction of the Redskins.

To be clear, only 2% of fans expressed confidence in the direction of the Redskins franchise.

The only silver lining behind this very dark cloud may be that no fan base in the NFC East is currently very happy.

This may have to do with the fact that the Redskins are the only team in the division to win in Week 6, and the Cowboys and Giants are riding losing streaks of 3 games and 2 games, respectively.

Confidence levels of NFC East rival fan bases in Week 7

  • BigBlueView (Giants) 66%
  • BleedingGreenNation (Eagles) 34%
  • Blogging the Boys (Cowboys) 9%

As a general thing, the confidence rating in these surveys fluctuates greatly, moving up with victories and down with defeats, so the lack of movement for the Redskins fans is a bit counter-intuitive.

It may be partly explained by the fact that the Dolphins are perceived to be so bad, and the victory was so unimpressive. As one person put it, the victory was “literally by the slimmest of margins”.

But, more significant, I think, is that the source of fans’ lack of confidence isn’t so much the roster, or even the coaching (the uptick in confidence moved only from ‘zero’ to 2% when Jay Gruden was fired); the source of fans’ angst seems to be rooted in the front office and owner. Specifically, people associate more than two decades of frustration and lack of success with the owner, Dan Snyder. They also lay the blame for ongoing dysfunction and the lurches from crisis to crisis at the feet of team president, Bruce Allen, with the hashtag #FireBruceAllen nearly as common nowadays as the traditional #HTTR (Hail to the Redskins) hashtag on Twitter.

If you’d like to add your voice to that of other Redskins fans via the FanPulse weekly surveys, simply click here to sign up. We want to hear your opinions!

But a recent article by Ben Standig of The Athletic may cast a slightly different light on the perception of the Redskins organization — or at least highlight the possibility that it isn’t the worst front office in the NFL, and that it actually has a number of highly regarded and professional people manning key positions.

The article was lengthy, and published in two parts. It was based entirely on anonymous surveys with player agents. In Part One, Standig asked the agents to identify the franchises they they hoped would select one of their players in the draft, and which they hoped wouldn’t. Given the kind of bad press the Redskins usually receive, I fully expected the Redskins to be in the latter list, but they weren’t. They didn’t appear in either list.

This, frankly, surprised me. In 2018, a number of news stories appeared following a survey that identified Bruce Allen as the “least trusted NFL executive” among the 32 teams. Surely that meant that agents didn’t want the Redskins picking their players?!

I was keen to see Part 2 of the article, which Standig promised would focus on the Washington Redskins front office.

As a reminder, The Athletic spoke with 21 agents mostly before the start of the regular season. Since I’m on the Washington beat, I could not pass up the chance to ask this mix of power brokers, industry veterans and relative newcomers for their opinion. Simply put, tell us the pros and cons of the Redskins front office from the agent perspective.

Standig offered the comments “unfiltered”. I’ll present them below in much the same way, though I will make an effort to connect them as much as I can with individuals the agents commented on by name.

General Comments

  • Honestly, I like the guys. I know there’s always drama there, but I don’t think that’s the front office. We communicate well. They don’t pull punches and I don’t pull punches so we get along well.
  • Redskins are dysfunctional. One guy will call on one player and then you talk with another guy in personnel and he has no idea of what’s going on. They fall in and out of love with players. A guy can go from penthouse to outhouse in one week.

Dan Snyder

  • Not a huge fan, but also think they have their hands tied behind their backs a ton because of who’s running the show.
  • As for the owner, he has no airs about him despite his wealth. He’ll hang with you at Hooters and eat wings like a normal guy. As an agent for guys like that, you want to help them win.

Bruce Allen

  • Bruce Allen was an agent so many of us competed with him. I got along with him, but never really trusted him.
  • Snyder and Bruce are incompetent

What I took away from this article is that the professional agents who deal with the Redskins regularly don’t see the franchise as a problem for the players they represent. The key executives that the agents deal with — Doug Williams, Eric Schaffer, Alex Santos and Kyle Smith, in particular — seem to be professional and well-respected up to the Vice President level. Even Bruce Allen seems to be reasonably well liked among this group, despite the “least trusted” tag put on him in the 2018 off season and some equivocation in the positive comments about him from this survey.

This seems a little confusing. If all these people in the Redskins front office are professional and doing their jobs competently, why is the Redskins franchise perceived to be such hot garbage? Why does the organization seem to extricate itself from one bad situation just to step in the next one? How can individuals in the organization work hard and do their job, yet the organization as a whole have a two-decade history of dysfunction and failure?

Reading through the survey responses, the answer seems to be — and this will surprise no one at all — that the fault lies with the owner, Dan Snyder.

Dan is perceived badly by everyone, except, it seems, for one agent who enjoys eating hot wings at Hooters, and sees Dan as a “regular guy” for sharing his passion.

Otherwise, Dan Snyder is seen as incompetent, mean spirited, lacking as a leader, and generally bad for the Redskins.

The FanPulse survey says that Redskins fans, despite the change at the head coach position and the win over the Dolphins this week, remain unconvinced about the direction of the franchise.

This week’s article in The Athletic points the finger at the known culprit — owner Dan Snyder.

The question for Redskins fans who’ve been suffering with Snyder for twenty years is: when will things change?

Those fans probably won’t like the answer, and that means we are likely to see similar results in the FanPulse surveys every week for a long time to come.

The Redskins franchise is broken; Dan Snyder isn’t going away; the Washington fan base is exhausted and apathetic.

This is not the formula for success.

Something has to change, and, according to the survey, only one key part of the organization is truly not working.

If only Dan Snyder could be fired....



If you’d like to add your voice to that of other Redskins fans via the FanPulse weekly surveys, simply click here to sign up. We want to hear your opinions!