With the Redskins season crumbling and playoff hopes dashed, the inevitable blame game is playing out. My belief is when an organization struggles perpetually, you look at the top for answers. Dan Snyder has owned the team since 1999 and the current season is just another chapter in the sad saga of his stewardship. Assuming the current state is an artifact of everything that has preceded it, let’s not focus on the past but break down the shortcomings of the 2013 season.
In the forefront of everyone’s mind is the performance degradation of second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III. Hindsight is truly 20-20, and it’s now clear that RG3 was mishandled by head coach Mike Shanahan, and the decision to play Griffin off his knee injury without the benefit of preseason action was a mistake. Kirk Cousins should have started the season at quarterback, but the Washington media’s off-season infatuation with RG3 elevated him to deity status, and Shanahan had little choice but to play him as soon as possible but not as soon as he should have.
Snyder’s shmoozing with RG3 in Hollywood and at fine restaurants in the Washington social scene may have impressed the TMZ crowd in Snyder’s inner circle, but this owner-player crush has the same look as the one played out with Clinton Portis in the prior era. Jock sniffing owners like Snyder seem to need the attention but should remember that a player is the property of owner, not owner’s best friend and the business relationship should reflect that. There should be no social relationship.
And finally, why is RG3’s father in the locker room after games? Why is RG3’s father pontificating on how to use his son in the offense? Do we even care what he thinks? Should the coaching staff care what he thinks? Why does this guy have any clout at all? Because Snyder permits it.
Not to be outdone by the RG3 drama has been the terrible play of the offensive line, the porous defense, and the inability of the kick return unit to present any threat to improve field position. The only two bright spots from week to week are the running game and place kicking. In short, the team has faltered in all three phases and the occasional shine of one of the units hasn’t been enough. Truth be told, they stink and their record is a reflection of Dan Snyder’s organizational effectiveness.
Snyder’s hiring of Mike Shanahan, now in his fourth season, can be cast in the same light of the Joe Gibbs II hiring. He on-boarded an older head coach with a great track record in Scene I who inevitably flops in his encore performance. Snyder could have gone for the young upcoming coordinator type but no; he loves the marketing splash of a big name hire and pulled Shanahan into the pool for a belly flop.
And who’s idea was it to hire Kyle Shanahan? While the younger did a great job installing the Pistol formation and read-option scheme that worked well in 2012, NFL defenses have adjusted and rendered it ineffective in 2013. On top of that there was always the nepotism angle and the threat it presented. A head coach needs to be able to freely hire/fire staff based on performance and fit. If Kyle couldn’t be fired for mishandling the quarterback because he was the coach’s son, how can the team operate with any accountability? Only Snyder could have vetoed this father-son combo and he didn’t.
About the only thing Snyder has done right is defend the team name. I stand with him on that, but even the marketing stunt they pulled in the 49ers game with the Navajo code talkers was shallow and uncalled for.
Dan Snyder was a helluva marketing guy when he owned Snyder Communications. The Redskins are often referred to as a marketing organization that happens to play football. Fans are wondering when it will all get better and the answer lies with the next owner of the team. #HTTR.