Okay, be honest here, did you really expect an upset win against the reigning Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots? No? Okay then, there are bigger things that has taken place since the Redskins 26-point beat down by the Patriots. The Washington Redskins has fired head coach Jay Gruden, named offensive line coach Bill Callahan as interim head coach, and Bruce Allen announced all of this information at his presser Monday afternoon. What can we take away from the fall out that has happened over the past couple of days?
“Our 0-5 start is not just disappointing, we had much different expectations for this beginning of the season. We owe it to our fans, our millions of fans – not just here in the great nation’s capital, but across the world – the organization, the players, the coaches and their families to do everything we can to win. Under Bill’s leadership and the programs he’s going to put in, and the discipline and execution, we believe we’re given the best opportunity to beat the Miami Dolphins and for the rest of the year.”
This is a part of Redskins President Bruce Allen’s opening statement before taking questions from reporters. There is no doubt that the Redskins fan base is global, the rich history of the franchise during their heyday has been embedded many people and their children, and their children’s children. The problem in this statement – Allen is a big reason why the fans who are “owed” have left this team in their rear-view mirror. For the older generation, the Redskins are a team they will never abandon, the great times are always there in memory, leaving room for the Redskins to “get their act together.” However, for the younger generation who has never experienced winning without the help of YouTube, it is not difficult to jump ship, and some have. For kids growing up in today’s DC, Maryland, and Virginia area, the Redskins – to – other NFL team’s ratio (presumed) is undoubtedly in favor of the other teams in the NFL. The incompetence, lack of star power, and lack of sustained success has deterred so many fans and potential fans So, yes Bruce, the Redskins have an enormous fanbase, but it has drastically dwindled, and over the past decade your name has been attached to the franchise the brand has rotted from a local and national perspective. Jay was your latest scapegoat, and unfortunately for Bill, he will be your next.
“Right now, we’re all 0-5. I don’t believe anybody is hiding from their record. Our goal is to obviously change that and beat the Dolphins. When you’re around this building enough, you can feel the passion of these players. You can feel the ability of these players and you can see the coaches working their tails off to try and come up with a winning game plan. That’s all we can do right now is work toward the Dolphin game and the season and to keep developing these players.”
Bruce Allen was asked why should fans have any confidence in “upper management,” clearly, he must have forgotten the question, right? No, he did not. The issue here is obvious – “players” and “coaches” only win games in the mind of Allen; an delusional, incompetent, or poisonous front office plays no role in organizational instability. Accountability has been an elusive character trait from key decision-makers in the Redskins organization for nearly a decade; here is no different and will continue to expose itself if no changes are made.
”We’re all involved in this. I don’t ever want to hide from our record, I don’t want to hide from things that didn’t go the way we wanted them to go. All we can do is work. Do I believe in the group that’s here? Yes. I think [VP of Player Personnel] Doug [Williams] and [Director of College Scouting] Kyle [Smith] had a great draft.”
Again, Bruce was asked about his level of accountability. Recognize that, Bruce Allen will not acknowledge the state of the franchise to this point. The reason behind that is an acknowledgment of any sort from Bruce Allen starts with him, and he will have to admit he has not got the job done. Instead, it is a collective effort from his point of view – from player personnel to college scouting, coaches, and players – Allen will not take the fall.
“Well, I appreciate the fact that the Patriots have a great fan base and they’ve had tremendous success and [Head Coach] Bill Belichick is probably the best coach in NFL history, so I’m sure many of our fans put their tickets on the second market and made some money on it selling it to people from the Northeast. All we can do is try to improve our product. These games, we weren’t close in. We’ve lost five games and we didn’t lose them in the last second, we lost these games decisively. And we have to change that and our fans deserve that and this market deserves that – we’re in the nation’s capital and it deserves better than that, and we have to get it done.”
Whether intentional or not, I do not think there was any way possible that Bruce Allen can mention the fans in such a cynical and delusional manner. There is a truth that Redskins fans sell tickets - but what is the cause? The cause has very little to do with opposing teams, and this is strictly a result of the Washington Redskins ineptitude that has been in existence for over twenty years. Specifically, this ineptitude has been at its worst in the past ten years. So, no, the Redskins fans are not selling their tickets to help Patriot fans out, they would have sold them to a Miami Dolphin fan base even if they were playing at FedEx Field because the fan base has been mentally beaten down. The Redskins were 6-3 heading into the Houston Texans game in 2018 and still could not overpower Houston Texans fans at FedEx Field. This is the result of a terrible regime from an organizational standpoint, not the fan’s fault.
“The culture is actually damn good. We have to win. We didn’t win any of these games… I don’t necessarily agree with the premise that it’s ‘never.’ Last year at this time, we’re in first place and we’re doing well, so it was working pretty damn good and unfortunately our quarterback got injured. The pieces are here for a winning team.”
This is not one statement, but comments stemming from the questions reporters asked Bruce Allen about the team’s culture. Understand that if the Redskins front office is unaware of how destructive the culture is to this point, ten years into the regime, they will never understand. The Redskins were heading to 6-4 regardless if quarterback Alex Smith had gotten hurt or not. Additionally, they were very non-competitive against the better offensive teams they faced on their schedule before Smith’s injury (New Orleans and Atlanta). Allen’s statements on the Redskins culture is as deceptive as they get, there is no telling the change to come at the end of the year; however, as stated before, if there is no change at the top, it does not matter whom Washington hires as their next head coach. The lack of personal accountability, indirect finger-pointing, and general deception may very well have a period of dormancy. However, eventually, ineptitude will prevail, so long as management is not addressed.
Maybe we did not “learn” anything this week, but more of a much needed reminder. What do you think, what have you learned?