Wednesday, January 1, 2014
A Sensible Start
Let's try to keep our resolutions firmly in tact for at least a week, okay?
You know how they say "out with the old.... " well, the Redskins did exactly what I said they were going to do with ol' Mike Shanahan.
Fired his ass.
I said it while many of the "professional" media covering this team were still trying to concoct scenarios to keep him around. Or reasons why he deserved that one last season.
He was not just trying to get fired, but his players played like they didn't give a shit. Contrast that to the emotional psuedo-championship the Jets celebrated by doing just enough to keep the Chief Foot Fetishist around for at least one more year, and the chances of Miracle Mike sticking around had bled out to exactly zero.
I'd say the 20-6 drubbing by the Giants (minus Eli Manning in the 2nd half) was one of the most eyeball bludgeoning football games I've watched stem-to-stern in many a moon.
And Kirk Cousins' mythical trade value - you know the one Shanny crowed might be a first rounder if "he lights it up out there" and don't worry anyway, because "his value can't go down" - took a beating like George Zimmerman booing loudly at a Snoop Dogg concert.
So the Redskins, and Dan Snyder, and Robert Griffin III all did the right thing.
The Skins moved on from Shanahan's disastrous reign of error, replete with paranoia, leaks, wasted timeouts, shop worn excuses, and unproductive grudges.
Snyder only issued a statement, brief and without rancor. No personal appearance given, none needed.
And Griffin - the guy who some idiots keep saying to me on the radio "needs to do fewer press conferences" and to "stop filming Subway commercials" pulled a very nice, very deft move.
He declined to speak to reporters while cleaning out his locker, saying he wanted to speak face-to-face with the coaches first. Hell, that might have even been true. Best of all, he then looped back by phone for a press conference, to answer questions, give praise for the coaching he got (poor, as it ultimately was, in my opinion) and most importantly NOT give ESPN any video to feed into the great hype machine known as modern cable TV sports.
This is not "starting over" as some people are saying around here, usually with a groan. To start over, implies there was something worth continuing, that now must be painfully re-assembled.
Shanahan had run this thing utterly into the ground. I am confident in saying we "start" at 4-12 next year, and work our way up from there.
Bruce Allen has been given the "final say on football matters" which has some people skeptical and nervous. The skeptics say this smacks of him being just another, more polished version of Vinny - the owner's errand boy on any and all ill-advised free-agent signings and draft-day gyrations.
The merely nervous point to Allen not being from the "football side" of the GM ascension ladder, so why should he have final roster say?
Me? Meh. I am fine with it.
For one, Allen is likely no worse than any other GM league wide. How can I say that, you ask? Well, look at how the Chiefs thought they had a "score" with getting Pats mastermind Scott Pioli.
How'd that work out?
Meanwhile, "respected" Joe Banner of Eagles fame, just shit-canned his own coach Chud in Cleveland after just one year.
In short, I think GM's are over-rated.
Besides, I don't think Allen is going to be running roughshod over the football wishes of the new coach, and the scouting department. I think he may only be needed on 3-4 calls per year to "break a tie" on a player, and my hunch is those players will likely be on the lower end of the roster.
What the Redskins did was the "least invasive" approach to turning around this team. And I applaud it. They didn't even get rid of all of Shanny's staff, which is another sign that Snyder and Allen are playing more chess than checkers these days.
Let's start by getting a new coach, and let's give it two years.
This team needs 1. Structure 2. Better Players 3. Time.
No four or five year "plan." But two. That's reasonable.
I think there's a good chance that a young, hungry coach, with a sensible Allen and hard working personnel men whose draft boards will not be treated as mere wall decorations in the war room - coupled with a healthier RG3, energized by a new coach he can trust and without that guy's SON calling the plays - might put a real charge into the product we see on Sunday.
Call me a nutty optimist if you will. But I do think better days are ahead.
This team's sensible, minimalist reaction to a disaster season, was really the only Christmas present I needed.