In the mid-nineties, GM Rich McKay put together the most talented defensive roster in the NFL in Tampa Bay. The team's Achilles heel was the lack of a competent QB to manage the offense. Failure to reach a Superbowl convinced the Glasers to pressure McKay into firing Tony Dungy and hiring an offensive minded coach. Jon Gruden came in, replaced Shaun King with Brad Johnson, and a year later became the youngest coach to win a Superbowl.
Convinced of his own genius, Gruden demanded full control over personnel and pushed McKay out in order to bring in his favorite lackey from his time in Oakland - Bruce Allen. Over the hill Johnsons went to Dallas. Drafts went horribly wrong - Gaines Adams at # 4? Within a few short years, the roster was garbage and the team floundering. Gruden got fired, along with Allen and his merry men. Gruden found life on MNF, whilst Allen was left on the street, unwanted by anyone. In the meantime McKay, the guy Gruden pushed out, turned the Falcons into a playoff contender.
Fast forward to 2009...
Embarrassed by the Zorn debacle, Snyder ran off in a drunken stupor to Mike Shanahan, a guy who had won one playoff game in the last ten years and was barely over .500 following the retirement of Elway. Like Gruden in Tampa, Shanahan was convinced of his own genius and demanded full control over personnel. Like Gruden, he wanted a lackey to do his bidding and convinced Snyder to scrape Allen out of the bottom of a dumpster. The results were predictably dismal, but, thanks to his family name, Allen survived Lobsternado.
Not only is Allen void of any personnel evaluation skills, he is also incapable of discerning front office or coaching talent. Perhaps the only accurate assessment he has determined is that Snyder is so preoccupied with accusations of meddling that he will allow Allen to do as he pleases.
Thus empowered, Allen has used the Redskins as a means to distribute the spoils of conquest amongst the fellow failures of his tepid Tampa tenure. Not genius, not qualifications, nor even competence are prerequisites; familiarity supersedes all. Gruden, Haslett, Barry, and, forgive me, Doug Williams. Membership has its privileges.
Two considerable talents have appeared during this period. The first, Sean McVay, left for greener pastures in LA, where I expect him to soon surpass Jon Gruden as the youngest coach to win a SB. The other is Kyle Smith. If this draft class pans out, he will likely be lured elsewhere with a promotion to GM.
If the Redskins fail to make the playoffs this year, there must be a complete purge of the Tampa refuse. Only Kyle Smith, Bill Callahan, and perhaps someone amongst Gray, Tomsula and Manusky should remain.
A new team President should be hired, but better that it be someone with no connection to the Skins' glory years, lest Snyder become too enamored with a past and thus blindsided. The Niners hiring Lynch might be a good template. That president should then either promote Kyle Smith, or hire a new GM. The GM should subsequently hire the next coach, thus establishing a hierarchy and eliminating our dysfunctional system of no-one held directly accountable for personnel.
Unfortunately, this is a pipe dream. Empty seats and mediocre records might get Allen fired, but the Dan is more than likely to revert to his familiar failed pattern of hiring a big name coach (Harbaugh, or more likely Cowher) and handing over to him complete control over personnel.