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Where We Were, How We Got Here, and Where We Go Next...


kleese

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As always, when I start a thread, I do my best to scan the mood of the board and put something together that tries to tie it all together... Naturally, there are a ton of "here we go again" threads, "are we ever going to win again" threads, etc...

It got me thinking. How EXACTLY did we get here? The easy answer is Dan Snyder. And he certainly plays a major role in this horror movie, but he is far from the only culprit.

I am putting this together not to form a simple a timeline or walk through history...we all know the facts, and frankly, they are painful to recall.

Once I compiled this it actually made me feel better. I believe that to truly understand where we need to go, we must first fully understand how we got here.

I see our current overall situation as a culmination of some HUGE mistakes, several smaller mistakes, and some terrible luck. Here is how I break it all down:

The first Gibbs era (1981-1992) was the best era in franchise history, and I wouldn't be surprised if forty years from now, we still view it as THE golden era of Redskins football. It was just glorious.

But even then, the Redskins were a team that made a fair amount of roster changes....and we were one of the first teams to really utilize free agency. We also didn't exactly stockpile draft picks..especially in the early rounds. We were well know for trading away our first round picks. When we did pick, we made it count. Nabbing guys like Art Monk, Darrell Green, Russ Grimm, etc.. were the foundation of our SB teams.

Jack Kent Cooke turned it over to Beathard and Gibbs and let them do their thing.

But once Beathard left, things slowly started to deteriorate. Looking back, our constant inflow of talent started to dry up in the late 80's. The 1991 was a culmination of three years of getting there...a team of veterans, coached to perfection, that had a nearly perfect season. But that team had very little in the name of young talent, and when we started to show our age in 1992, we started to dive fast.

We grinded our way to the divisional playoffs in 1992, but the writing was on the wall....

Gibbs knew this, and between his family concerns and general burnout, he was done. I also think he knew a rebuild was needed, and he wasn't too interested in doing that.

Jack Kent Cooke should have known as well, but I don't fault him for trying with Petitbone. We were an old team that got MUCH older via free agency prior to 1993...and that team was dreadful. The first time in well over a decade the Redskins fielded a truly bad football team.

But make no mistake...the foundation of that "badness" was formed in the latter part of the 80's and early 90's when we failed to develop young players....the Desmond Howard pick was a strong omen of things to come.

My point here is that while those years were brilliant, the Gibbs/Casserly/Cooke regime isn't ENTIRELY free of blame for what took place in the mid 90s.

So, 1994 rolls around, and JKC appears ready to start over....

We hire Norv... this is what I would call HUGE MISTAKE NUMBER ONE

We follow it up a few months later by drafting Heath Shuler making it HUGE MISTAKE NUMBER TWO.

We miss on a coach and a QB all in a matter of months...but of course, it takes time to find these things out...but ultimately it doomed the Norv era.

The Norv Era

Brutal...brutal because we often showed so much promise. The first two years were fine...rebduilding years where we looked pretty solid late in the 1995 season. 1996 was the first major warning sign....I do think we ran into some very bad luck late in that season.... some bad breaks in important games....a trend that continued throughout the Norv years.

During these years, we did not draft very well and our FA additions were hit and miss. Casserly didn't do Norv many favors that's for sure, but it became crystal clear in 1997 that Norv wasn't the guy. That season is when I knew he wasn't going to win DC...some ridiculous losses that year and a horrible ending.

Four years into the rebuild under Norv, we still didn't have a QB, hadn't made the playoffs, our owner passed away, and the franchise itself was in flux.

John Cooke stuck it out with Norv...and 1998 was a total disaster. 0-7 start....we went almost all the back to 1993 at that point.

So, I consider 1994-1998 a true attempt at rebuilding that failed miserably. Bad job by the GM and poor job by the coach. Ultimately, when the GM and coach fail, the finger gets pointed back to the owner...

But right when we needed an owner to make a decisive move....we didn't have an owner.

This is HUGE CASE OF BAD LUCK #1

The ownership fiasco prior to 1999 was a major determint. By the time Snyder took over we'd already made some pretty big personell decisions....it was clear Norv should go, but by the time the sale was approved, it was too late. Norv was granted a reprieve out of sheer luck. You don't normally see coaches have FIVE straight bad years and get a sixth.

Then, of course....we have 1999

This may have been the worst thing that has happened in the past 20 years. The 1999 team got incredibly lucky. We had a fireball start...but the NFC (especially the East) was horrid that season and we managed to go 10-6 that year without beating a team with a winning record (other than the Dolphins in the last game that meant nothing). It was a fun year, and a year the fans needed, but it really was just luck. TWO 8-8 made the playoffs in the NFC that year.

Of course, we wound up a FG away from the NFC title game, so we weren't going to make a coaching change and our new young owner wanted to dive right in and "go for it" in 2000.

Most disagree, but I will always maintain that Norv wound up being the big problem in 2000, not Snyder. The majority of the big names we signed that year were on defense...and those guys played well for the most part. We went from 30th in D in 1999 to 4th in 2000. But our offense crapped out, and we wasted yet ANOTHER good start under Norv and crumbled. Finally, Norv got the boot.

Despite needing to totally start over after 1998, the Redskins caught a little lightning in a bottle and tried to beat the system in 1999 and 2000...we came up well short.

So, closing in on a decade after Gibbs left, we had attempted one true rebuild, didn't get very far, and were looking at another rebuild heading into 2001. At this point, I blame very few of our problems on Snyder.

2001, we bring in Marty, and to his credit, Marty does try to start from scratch...sort of. We had a calm off-season and Marty was clearing trying to clean up the roster....but the guys he was bringing in weren't helping much. Rod Gardner was a terrible first round pick. Marty got things rolling for five weeks, but then we died late in the year....

I was not a Marty fan...not like many here at least, but I will admit that Snyder should have let Marty proceed into 2002 without meddling.

Snyder got antsy, his relationship with Marty fizzled, and they parted ways....THIS WAS MISTAKE #3 (although I don't believe it was big of a mistake as others believe)

HUGE MISTAKE #4 came prior to 2002 when Snyder brought back Vinny.

But I still don't blame them for hiring Spurrier. Just about every team in the league needing a coach was interested and it was clear that someday Spurrier would get a shot in the NFL. I was exctied to see what he could do.

But BAD LUCK #2 reared it's head when we wound up with an unmotivated coach. Spurrier came in and along with Vinny tried to recreate Florida. When it didn't work, instead of being humble and going back to learn what he needed to do to get it right, Spurrier quit. It wasn't easy, so he just threw in the towel.

We never really even had a chance to rebuild under Spurrier because he didn't care. He was interested in the NFL for about 8 weeks in 2002...after that, he checked out.

We were now a decade past Gibbs and still no better than when he left. And now Snyder had skin in the game and certainly held some blame.

Along comes Gibbs II....I believe Snyder was humbled and frustrated following Spurrier and he fully turned things over to Gibbs for however long he wanted it.

But Gibbs seemed a tad caught between wanting to rebuild and wanting to win now. He drafted well, but also spent on veterans. I think he was so desperate to win for the fans again that he just couldn't stomach the idea of a true teardown and build up. Instead, he did a very good job of bringing in good players with high character. It paid off in 2005, with what I consider to be the best Redskins team of the past 20 years, bar none. But Gibbs strayed prior to 2006.... that off season was bad. Real bad. And that season was a major disappointment.

Things were better in 2007 but then BAD LUCK #3 happens...

Sean Taylor is murdered.

IMO, this event completely derailed and defined the Gibbs II era. How many teams can successfully navigate the murder of their best and most popular player?

It drained Gibbs...he gave us one more great memory down the stretch playing for Sean in 2007, but he was spent. He had a five year plan, but had no energy left for the fifth year.

Snyder begged Gibbs to stay because I do believe Snyder had turned total control over to Gibbs...and I don't think Snyder had any clue what to do after Gibbs left.

So then he makes HUGE MISTAKE #5 with the 2008 off-season along with Vinny. I've always felt Snyder got a tad of a bum wrap from fans, but this was indefensible. It was a mockery. Those two made complete fools of themselves and the organization, finally landing on Zorn...possibly the worst coaching hire...ever. Somehow we had one good half season under Zorn, then it unraveled to embarrassing levels.

Because Vinny was clueless, we were left with a totally clueless coach trying to win with the leftovers from Gibbs II who were aging fast. I do believe had Gibbs had the spirit left for 2008, that things could have been much different, but ST's death ended that.

2008 and 2009 were rock bottom...the worst two years in this 20 year period.

My point here is that I believe we have truly tried ONCE to rebuild this team since 1992....the Norv era. That was an honest rebuild effort that just didn't go well. After that, through a series of bad decisions and bad luck we really never tried to fully rebuild the team.

Until now.

I do believe that Allen and Shanny have been giving full control and that they are attempting an honest to goodness rebuild project.

But don't you see what they are up against? Don't you see this history? It WAY pre-dates Snyder even.

This is why I am patient...willing to go week to week with these guys....year to year. I do not agree with everything they've done, every hire they've made, every pick they've made, etc... but I do firmly believe they are giving it the first real attempt we've had a rebuild since entering the 1994 season.

I have no idea how it will end up....but I believe in the philosophy here. That makes a 23-0 loss no less frustrating...but I do not feel a sense of hopelessness anymore. Stay the course, fellas. You are going to have to deal with some real venom from some fans and media who can't take anymore. But just stay the course.

For the first time since the 1994-1995, I feel like the Redskins are willing to stomach what it takes. I just hope it goes better this time around.

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I just wished we wouldn't have neglected the offense which needed more help than the defense the last two years. When Mike took the job the offense was trash and the defense was good at best. I can understand the fumble at QB but everything else about offense from the line to the skill positions were indeed of a complete makeover.

While making that over, you could have added to a good 4-3 and made it better. We could have gotten younger/faster/smarter at Dline and LB. We still could have picked up a FS. I really don't understand letting the better cover corner go but hey he wanted a new home.

I think Mike made things a tad bit worse and now we're climbing up a hill that leaves us with no positives for the future. I predicted a bad year by the record but I thought the younger players would at least be growing together and progressing week in and week out.

Call me crazy but the lack of urgency to end the game look like a coach and a team that just quit. Even Zorn's team had some fight in them.

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Excellent, excellent post, kleese. Don't have much more to add than that, you nailed it. Maybe Shanahan and Allen fail, these things take luck as much as anything else, but at least we have true professionals, true football people from top to bottom on the football side of the organization and they're fully committed to doing things the right way, from the ground up. I'm willing to wait it out and see what happens. This is what we've been waiting for for a decade, right? It was never going to be an overnight thing and sure, they may still fail but at least this way we have an honest to goodness chance to be good again.

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Very good thread Kleese and I've been trying to tell my friends this to know avail. I don't care if we win again all season long, although I'd like to see Beck improve enough so we aren't forced to start a Rookie next season.

In the beginning of the season I said records was not important to me. This year I was paying attention to how the players that Shanahan and Allen brought in, whether it be through drafting or FA did. They have made some very nice moves and I hope this can continue.

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All that past history has absoutely nothing to do with how we will move forward, as I am sure you know, Kleese.

We are in the middle of a stated 5 year plan to rebuild this football team. We have many holes to fill but less than we had last year.

I imagine we will add a least 2 QB's to the team next year, a veteran and our 1st round pick. Probably an inside LB, another WR and several offensive lineman. Even with this it will take two-three more years to see all come to fruition (two or three more drafts and experience for those drafted in 2012. It just doesn't happen overnight and we are just plain wrongheaded if we think it should.

It is painful now but things will be better in seasons to come. We have every right to hope Shanahan and Allen will do right by this franchise. We just need patience now, even though it is difficult to conjure when we watch debacles like this past Sunday. Keep the faith though.

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Outstanding post ! I think the most important thing to look at this team right now is how are the players who were drafted and picked up in FA by Shanny and Allen doing not the wins column....I'm happy to say for the most part those young players are doing extremely well.....unfortunately the McNabb trade and I'll go ahead and say it the J.Brown trade might have set us back yet another year for rebuilding we could of picked up some solid players in the draft but instead we got older and worst ......however three more years of off-seasons like the 2011 one I think we could finally be back to being a successful organization IMO

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I agree with your closing statement 100% kleese.

The fact is, we weren't going to be good this season. Many of us believed that before the season started and are now willing to wait out this season for hopes that next will be better. Calling for the coach or the coordinator or QB after each and every ugly loss will do nothing to improve the situation that we are now in. We are a team with many, many needs. It will probably take this offseason and perhaps next to get it back on track. I am willing to wait that long for the team to be a seasonal contender. I just hope that the rest of Redskins nation is.

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Anybody heard of a bad day, our problems started when Trent went down. Sometimes 1 man is the link between terrible and good. We have a average team not great but good, just need get inspired again 3-4 and tied for 2nd 1 game out of wild card berth nine games to go , who knows ,Trent might be ready this week

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Call me crazy but the lack of urgency to end the game look like a coach and a team that just quit.

That above all else is what worries me the most. I can endure watching them lose to teams that are more talented because I do believe that it will take more than two off seasons to get this team back into playoff contention. That being said though, there is no excuse for the team looking as unprepared and as flat as it has the last three weeks, especially against a division rival at home. I sincerely hope that this team has not quit on Shanahan and vice versa; because I really do think we are heading in the right direction.

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That above all else is what worries me the most. I can endure watching them lose to teams that are more talented because I do believe that it will take more than two off seasons to get this team back into playoff contention. That being said though, there is no excuse for the team looking as unprepared and as flat as it has the last three weeks, especially against a division rival at home. I sincerely hope that this team has not quit on Shanahan and vice versa; because I really do think we are heading in the right direction.

Something is wrong. I rewatched thus morning and there is really no sense of urgency on the field or sideline. Its like we know we don't have a chance so whatever. This shouldn't be the case. We may be outmatched our lacking talent across the board but you fight. London is fighting, Fred is fighting, you can't just quit on those guys.

I don't know if things are headed in the right direction when your team is playing with no purpose and then after the game your saying they were prepared to play.

Also another interesting nugget is the fact that we played against three poor defenses three weeks in a row and couldn't do squat against them.

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While I agree with everything written in the OP post, I agree and understand the fustrated fans as well. For the younger fans that didnt get to experience Gibbs I, its even harder for them because they have never seen dominant years from the Redskins. Some of us can at least hang our hat on the Glory years and say "what it once was", but the younger fans have seen nothing more than a Redskins team, that look like the Tampa Bay Bucs back in the 80's and early 90's.

Now for the fustrated fans, myself included, we all understand that this process takes time to re-build, and things are not going to happen over night. What becomes fustrating is the constant decline of the teams play. I understand we are not going to win every game, and that we will lose some heart breakers at times, but give me a team thats at least competitve

When you see teams such as the Detroit Lions, Cincy, Buffalo, San Fran, these teams were as bad as the Redskins the past several years and are making huge strides. You cant convince me that Alex Smith is any better than John Beck or Rex Grossman, he just has a offensive coach that understands offense and how to score points.

For me, Im not asking to win every game right now, because I know this process takes time, and we do still need some players, but at least show me that we are progressing, that we can make adjustments like B-more did yesterday. My fustrations come from regression of the play of my favorite team.

But again, next week I will be sitting in my living room, with my Redskins gear on, rooting, and screaming like no other.... Hail

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My point here isn't to convince everyone how awesome Allen and Shanny are or what an amazing job they are doing.... My point was to simply point out how we got to this point and how, contrary to popular ES opinion, we really HAVEN'T been down this road before... At least not since we hired Norv.

And you also need to remember that part of the rebuild process is dealing with the frustration of getting some things wrong. Miss on a pick? Sets you back. Sign the wrong guy? Sets you back. Endure a major injury? Sets you back.

It's unrealistic to think that Shanny and company would come in an shoot 100%.

I do agree with many that the loss to Buffalo was bad... Even in a rebuilding situation, you need to perform better than that (cooking up an idea for a thread on that later in the week :) )

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Great post kleese, can't argue with anything you've said. I agree that Snyder gets a bad rap from fans for the most part. A lot of people are willing to give young players time to develop (and rightly so), but when a young owner comes along they expect him to get it right away. I have a feeling like Snyder was just getting into his groove as an owner two years ago. After Gibbs II, he was probably just as shellshocked as Gibbs was following ST's death. He brings in Zorn because he doesn't really know what to do in that situation and Vinny made a suggestion.

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My point here isn't to convince everyone how awesome Allen and Shanny are or what an amazing job they are doing.... My point was to simply point out how we got to this point and how, contrary to popular ES opinion, we really HAVEN'T been down this road before... At least not since we hired Norv.

And you also need to remember that part of the rebuild process is dealing with the frustration of getting some things wrong. Miss on a pick? Sets you back. Sign the wrong guy? Sets you back. Endure a major injury? Sets you back.

It's unrealistic to think that Shanny and company would come in an shoot 100%.

I do agree with many that the loss to Buffalo was bad... Even in a rebuilding situation, you need to perform better than that (cooking up an idea for a thread on that later in the week :) )

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My point here isn't to convince everyone how awesome Allen and Shanny are or what an amazing job they are doing.... My point was to simply point out how we got to this point and how, contrary to popular ES opinion, we really HAVEN'T been down this road before... At least not since we hired Norv.

And you also need to remember that part of the rebuild process is dealing with the frustration of getting some things wrong. Miss on a pick? Sets you back. Sign the wrong guy? Sets you back. Endure a major injury? Sets you back.

I think what fans are refering to is they showed a stat yesterday on the game that showed what the record after 22 games were for Norv, Gibbs 2, Spurrier, and Zorn compared to Shanahan. They were all like 10 and 12 and Shanahan is like 9 and 13. Obviously none of those coaches regimes worked out so well so from that perspective it just feels like more of the same.

It's unrealistic to think that Shanny and company would come in an shoot 100%.

I do agree with many that the loss to Buffalo was bad... Even in a rebuilding situation, you need to perform better than that (cooking up an idea for a thread on that later in the week :) )

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A rebuilding team does not quit, ours did.

A rebuilding team's #1 priority is to fix the o-line, our team neglected this.

A rebuilding team should hold everyone acountable for failure, Little Shanahan gets a free pass.

A rebuilding team needs to stabalize the QB position, our coaches chose dumb and dumber as opposed to a crop of rookie QBs and free agents.

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A rebuilding team should hold everyone acountable for failure, Little Shanahan gets a free pass.

If you are thinking Kyle gets a free pass, you are mistaken. What do you want? Fire him?

If you think we have a roster better than 6 or so wins, you are mistaken. What do you want?

I agree we should have gutted the team in it's entirety including Cooley, Moss, D Hall, Sellers, but that wouldn't have made anyone happy either.

We are who everyone thought we were. A bad team in the rebuilding process. What did you want?

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If you are thinking Kyle gets a free pass, you are mistaken. What do you want? Fire him?

If you think we have a roster better than 6 or so wins, you are mistaken. What do you want?

I agree we should have gutted the team in it's entirety including Cooley, Moss, D Hall, Sellers, but that wouldn't have made anyone happy either.

We are who everyone thought we were. A bad team in the rebuilding process. What did you want?

play with heart and urgency

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A rebuilding team does not quit, ours did.

A rebuilding team's #1 priority is to fix the o-line, our team neglected this.

A rebuilding team should hold everyone acountable for failure, Little Shanahan gets a free pass.

A rebuilding team needs to stabalize the QB position, our coaches chose dumb and dumber as opposed to a crop of rookie QBs and free agents.

100% of th time an NFL team gets blow out, frustrated fans accuse them of quitting. We got our tails kicked and no doubt we were discouraged late in the game, but I didn't think they "quit."

2/5 of the OL is out... Including the #4 overall pick in the draft. Our 2011 starting OL was 100% different than the starting OL at the end of 2009. So stating we didn't address the OL is a factual error.

So you state you think we've done a terrible job with the OL and QB, but that you want Kyle held responsible for their lack of performance?

If Gabbert or Ponder wind up being stars, then we most likely made a mistake passing on them. Only time will tell if waiting to address QB was worth it.

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