Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Redskins Intervention

Have you ever seen how they start meetings at addiction support groups?

“Hi, my name is Bob, and I am an alcoholic (drug user, porn addict, etc.).”

It’s that simple.

They don’t want to know where you work, what school you went to, how nice your car, house, wife might be. Because it doesn’t matter.

You are in that room, in that circle, because you have a problem. And the only thing that really matters, is you admitting that problem loud and clear, without any “ifs, ands, or buts.”

The Redskins need to pull up a chair in that circle and do the same.

“Hi, my name is the Washington Redskins, and I am a laughingstock.”

When the Shanahan Regime gets fully installed, there will be inevitable hope for immediate turnarounds, and another “quick fix” springtime of free agents and draft picks.

This will be fools gold, again.

The Redskins have been a mediocre franchise on their best days the last ten years under Dan Snyder, an abject joke the rest of them.

Turning things around – truly, “changing how we do business” as Bruce Allen said on Monday – will require the following three things…

1. Realism
2. Control
3. Focus

Let me elaborate.

This is perhaps the hardest part of the equation for both fans and Snyder. We suck. We are a joke. Look around us, who are our NFL neighbors? I’ll tell you who.

Head Coaches the Last 10 Years
1. Redskins (7)
2. Raiders (7)* once they fire Cable
3. Lions (7)
4. Falcons (6)
5. Dolphins (6)
6. Rams (6)

Scoring Average in 2000’s
32. Browns (16.0)
31. Lions (16.2)
30. Redskins (18.1)

Redskins Quarterbacks Since 2000 (10)
Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Patrick Ramsey, Danny Wuerrful, Tim Hasselback, Mark Brunell, Todd Collins, Jason Campbell.

In the NFL, if you win 10 games, you’ve had a “nice” season. If you win 11, you’ve had a very good year. If you win 12, you have had a great year. If you win 13 games you have had a sensational year. If you win 14, 15 or 16, then you haven’t just had a phenomenal year, but you can say with relative conviction that you are an elite franchise, not just a good team that season.

The Redskins have won 10 games or more exactly ONCE since 1991.

The Redskins have won their division, exactly ONCE since 1991.

By comparison, the Eagles have won the NFC East 5 times in the last 10 years, the Patriots the AFC East 7 of the last 10, the Colts have won the AFC South 6 of the last 7.

As I say to my buddies: “Unless you win 12 games in this league, you ain’t shit.”

We’re not shit.

There’s one Pro Bowler on this current roster.


So let’s stop saying “there’s enough talent here to win.”

Pro Bowl caliber salaries? Sure. All over the place. And that’s most of the problem.

Until we as Redskins fans – and more importantly, ownership, coaches and players – realize how fucked up we are, we won’t have the ability to get better.

Realism: “Hi, my name is the Redskins, and I am a laughingstock.”

This part is relatively simple. Who has the hammer on this team? It better be Shanahan. Because the days of going around coaches backs to the owner need to end. Now.

The days of the owner having lunch on a weekly basis with certain players? Over.

The days of the owner going to Las Vegas for a hi-roller party with the star running back? Over.

The days of injured linebackers watching the game from the owner’s box? Over.

There needs to be a clear and unbreakable chain of command, and it needs to be an Allen-Shanahan partnership. A mommy and a daddy.

I don’t want Shanahan giving Allen a grocery list of player needs and sending him out the door. I want true collaboration. I want some creative GM-Coach tension. I want some healthy fights about what players to keep, what players to draft.

I also don’t want Snyder flying around on his jet, having dinners with agents and players this off-season. Enough dinners already. Having dinner with a player doesn’t tell you shit about him. It just sets the wrong tone for the entire negotiation. We want you here as a player. We think you are worth this much. Are you interested?

No? Fine. Move on.

The wine and dine culture, then translates into the corrosive locker-room that helped sink this season.

This is the most under-rated quality of any successful person, or company.


The ability to train your mind on a goal, and to keep relentlessly pursuing it until it is achieved. Not letting distractions, setbacks, or additional burdens slow your pursuit.


Does this new Redskins brain trust have the focus to endure what will certainly be a transitional (read: no playoff) year in 2010? Do they have the focus to then press ahead with a growing year (maybe playoffs) in 2011? If all goes well, then maybe they could have a contending year in 2012.

Can this current regime, actually go through 3 non-playoff seasons, and not make any panic moves? Can they say: “Well, we went 5-11 in year 1. But we cleared out many bad apples and started restocking our talent. We went 7-9 and showed some promise in year 2. And in year 3 we went 9-7 but could have easily won 11 games except for a few bad breaks. Let’s not make any sharp moves. We’re doing fine, and with a little bit of help on the injury front next year, we think we’re gonna have a really good football team.”

Can they actually do this? Can we as fans be patient along the way?

Can we focus?

Remember, the “let’s win it all NEXT year!” philosophy has been the primary cause of this decade of misery. We’ve had a bad decade, on top of another bad decade before that!

These things don’t get turned around easily.

Realism, Control, and Focus.

It’s simple, but difficult. Like recovery, one day at a time.


  1. Listening to Bruce Allen's press conference yesterday, I would say that we are in for more of the same. Win now! We are screwed.


    Starting at minute 6:18
    "Should Redskins fans be braced for a period of rebuilding, say - a couple 2, 3 years?"

    Allen - "No, I don't believe so. I believe that we have to do everything today to get better for the future. What that gets us in number of wins this year? I can't make that promise. I do know one thing. That the organiziation is going to do everything it can to be successfull immediately. And the direction that the players understand right now and our coaches understand is that."

    Dear God... Are the Texans still taking fan applications?

  2. Congrats on getting Shanahan! If Allen and Shanahan can keep King Daniel out of their way, the Skins have a chance to win.

  3. The Redskins have turned into the Wizards and Dan Snyder is the new Abe Polin.

    Dan Snyder, as far as NFL owners go, is not a successful business man. He pocketed $300 million when he sold Snyder Communications and then used this money in addition to a ton of borrowed money and money from other investors to buy the Redskins. Much of the reason Snyder Communications succeeded is because Mort Zuckerman, owner of USA today, backed him. Not just financially, but he and others like him preferred doing business with people like Snyder. Basically Snyder was given business success. He didn't have to claw his way to success. He was smart to work with what he was given and not blow it.

    I'm not saying he's not a success or he's not smart. It's just that in comparison to other NFL owners, he's basically near the bottom when it comes to business success.

    There are other owners who haven't had to work very hard to become team owners. The Ford family comes to mind. The Lions aren't owned by Henry Ford. They're owned by his grandkids. They basically own the team because of their last name. Look at how successful the Lions are.

    The problem is Dan Snyder thinks he can compete with the other owners all on his own. The other owners, on average, are smarter than him. That's why we always overpay for players. I suspect many of the other owners laugh at him behind his back.

    Snyder needs to hire someone smarter than he to run the team. Problem is I don't think he's smart enough to figure this out or smart enough to hire the right person. The only hope is for him to get very lucky. He would have to swallow his ego and admit he can't compete with the other owners. Something I don't see in Snyder.

    Maybe hiring Shanahan will be his lucky moment. I doubt it. Successful NFL coaches have a flurry of a few years of high success and rarely are able to repeat it. They typically can build one good team that remains at or near the top for a few years and that's it.

  4. I'm a Dolphins fan and we have our own problems, for sure, but watching Jason Taylor disintegrate as a Skin and then watching Haynesworth get 'hurt' every 1:45 makes me wonder what the heck is going on in that locker room and in the players' minds. They definitely need discipline and control, fo' sho'.

  5. Redskins have won 10 games or less TWICE since 1991.

  6. Spot on Czabe. To help others understand just how talent free this team is I ask them to name the Skins that would make an all NFC East team. That little exercise really puts it in perspective.