January 26, 2015

Washington Redskins GM Scot McCloughin media availability Jan. 9

The Washington Redskins introduced Scot McCloughin as their new general manager at Redskins Park today. The following is a complete transcript of the proceedings [courtesy Redskins media relations].

President Bruce Allen

Opening remarks: “Well, good morning, good afternoon. Welcome to Redskins Park. Today’s an exciting day for the franchise because we really feel today the Redskins are going to get better. Before we go forward, I want to just give you a little bit of the history with this young man to my left. I was fortunate to have worked with his brother and his father for a number of years with the Raiders. About 10 years ago, I was one of the people who called the 49ers to recommend him for his general manager job with the 49ers. [Read more…]

OPINION: McCloughan hire a watershed moment for a beleagured franchise

Yesterday afternoon, I went through a roller coaster of emotions over the course of about five minutes when it was first reported that Scot McCloughan would be the next General Manager of the Washington Redskins.

First, I was very happy to hear that someone with a good track record was coming to Washington, and that owner Dan Snyder had finally made a wise decision.

Then, I remembered how excited I was for Steve Spurrier to come to the District. How intriguing the idea of Albert Haynesworth on the defensive line was. How confident I was that Mike Shanahan could use his leadership skills and championship experience to bring the Redskins back to glory. How all of those moves and more turned out terribly.

Finally, I admitted to myself that this is different from any decision that Snyder and his organization has made in the past decade and a half.

Adam Schefter has confirmed that McCloughan has finalized his deal with the Redskins to become the next GM of the Redskins. He will have four years to turn this franchise into a contender again, after being so terrible for so long. I have been fooled before, but I do believe that this one man will change the fortunes of the preeminent sports team in our nation’s capital more than anyone has in Snyder’s tenure.

Why?

Two reasons. One is that he turned two teams into juggernaut franchises in the past decade in San Francisco and Seattle, as I detailed in yesterday’s piece. His draft philosophy, according to veteran journalist Andrew Brandt, is that you “don’t jump for need, you don’t get desperate, you don’t get emotional.”

This was on display in Seattle, where he drafted Super Bowl MVP linebacker Malcolm Smith in the seventh round of the NFL Draft in 2011. He drafted two-time Pro Bowler Richard Sherman in the fifth round that year. Quarterback Russell Wilson? A third-rounder in 2012. While an executive in San Francisco, he spotted five-time Pro Bowler Frank Gore in the third round. His legacy is one of success and Lombardi Trophies, with ticker-tape parades following him seemingly wherever he goes.

“Okay,” says Joe Q. Redskin Fan. “But how do I know he can be good in Washington? Executives here don’t get to make the decisions. Snyder has the ultimate say in who plays for or coaches the team.”

If this report is to be believed, McCloughan will have the final decision when it comes to who who will wear the burgundy and gold. It would appear that Snyder may have at last learned his lesson. Maybe there is a culture change underway in Ashburn. The results will not be apparent immediately, as the past five years of decision-making have been devastating to the Redskins’ ability to win on the field.

But today is about hope. Hope that Snyder and Allen finally have displayed humility. Hope that there will not be a new embarrassing leak coming out of Redskins Park every other day. Hope that Redskins fans can hear more about the team’s on-field performance than about the name. Hope that fans can be proud of the team again. Hope that they can win.

I do not know what kind of results that McCloughan will bring to DC. I don’t know how long it will take for those results to transpire, whether in the form of a playoff berth here and there or in the form of a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue that will, no matter which team in our area brings it, be the most exciting outdoor event in Washington’s history.

I do know this. Snyder being embarrassed by the past couple of years is a good sign. That Allen is willing to take a step back and be more of a figurehead is a good sign. That the Redskins finally hired a good football mind to oversee personnel operations is a very good sign.

Don’t expect double-digit wins next year, or maybe even the year after. Don’t expect a Super Bowl in two or three or even four years. Do expect, however, a positive culture — one that focuses on winning on the field, that expects a reasonable competition in every game, and one that views ineptitude and failure with disdain.

Smile, Redskins fans. It’s a new day.

Second Big Change of the 2015 Washington Redskins Offseason comes at General Manager

Less than a week after the organization “mutually” parted ways with Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett, the Washington Redskins made a big splash in the management department. Last week, Bruce Allen said “it’s not too much on his plate” to serve as both President and General Manager, but something must have changes as the Washington Redskins are on their way to hiring talent evaluating guru Scot McCloughan as their 14th General Manager in franchise history (after they meet the terms of the Rooney rule).

After rumors swirled that former San Diego Charger President and GM A.J. Smith would be given a promotion in the organization, McCloughan was reportedly meeting with owner Daniel Snyder for six hours. Although an official press conference will come later this week, McCloughan is believed to have been given a four-year deal.

So far this looks like an excellent move by the franchise in a possible long chain of massive overhauls to rebuild the organization. It must have taken a lot for Bruce Allen to swallow his pride and hand over full power over the personnel department including adding or subtracting from the actual evaluators, but it was a move than needed to be done after another brutal season.

Although McCloughan spent last year out of football because of problems he had with alcohol, it is reported that he has handled those demons and ready to make contenders out of a third NFL franchise. Fans should be excited about the track record he brings to the Redskins and that Snyder was able to lure him here as he also had rumored talks with the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.

In 2005 McCloughan was named vice president of player personnel in San Francisco and was general manager from 2008-2010 before moving on. He subsequently served as Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider’s right-hand man from 2012 to 2014. McCloughan has been credited with hitting on late-round picks such as Richard Sherman while he was in charge and is also believed to be a catalyst in turning the respective franchises into Super Bowl contenders and powerhouses.

The Redskins have been in dire need to enhance their personnel department during the recent years of Dan Snyder’s ownership and adding an individual such as McCloughan with a true scouting background might do the trick –or at least start the process. Since McCloughan ran a private scouting service that the Redskins were clients of last year he should be able to immediately help as soon as the upcoming draft in late April into early May.

McCloughan’s eventual hire might play in the role of deciding who will fill the vacant opening at defensive coordinator the Redskins have, whether it be former Dallas Cowboys’ Head Coach Wade Phillips, current San Francisco 49ers’ Secondary Coach Ed Donatell, or current San Diego Chargers’ linebacker coach Joe Barry, as well as possible firings at lower level assistants on both sides of the ball.

Moreover, this will most probably have an impact on the expanded role A.J. Smith is planning to have as he is scheduled to meet with upper management on Sunday. All in all, if the Redskins are planning on returning to prominence in the recent future, they need to continue to make moves that make logical football operations sense like this one moving forward.

Washington Redskins hire Scot McCloughan as General Manager

According to multiple media reports, the Washington Redskins are expected to hire Scot McCloughan as the franchise’s ninth General Manager after the two parties met for several hours on Tuesday.

[Read more…]

McCloughan hire a step in right direction

On Tuesday, news broke that the Washington Redskins will hire Scot McCloughan, former 49ers GM, as the team’s General Manager. The formal announcement should be imminent. It is an important move in the right direction.

Since Daniel Snyder bought the Redskins in 1999, the team has known two head personnel managers: Vinnie Cerrato and Bruce Allen. This is the first time the team, under Snyder’s stewardship, has gone “outside the lines” in hiring a player personnel director.

Cerrato was a college recruiter, way over his head when tasked to evaluate pro talent. He was a glorified “yes man”, doing Snyder’s billing to attract and acquire every big name available on the market, usually with spectacular failure.

Allen is a marketing man. Always has been, dating back to his time with Tampa Bay. Talent evaluation is not his strong suit, evidenced by the dearth of talent produced form the past several drafts.

So this is a departure, of sorts, with the Redskins hiring an actually qualified candidate for the position.

McCloughan’s resume is strong. He has been involved in player personnel decisions for three teams over 20 years, and each have reached the Super Bowl on his watch or immediate upon departure using players he was responsible for.

McCloughan is a disciple of Ron Wolf, longtime GM of the Packers. He’s been responsible for the drafting and developing of several All-Pros, including Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Ahmad Brooks and Russell Wilson. It’s a good track record.

If — and this is a big if at Redskins Park — McCloughan is allowed to do his job without interference from the owner’s box, he should be able to construct a personnel and development staff that can compete in the NFL. The Redskins currently have one of, if not THE, smallest scouting department in the league.

McCloughan should change that — very quickly.

But that’s always the caveat, isn’t it? IF. IF Snyder can stay out of areas he shouldn’t be meddling in. IF he can stay away from becoming chummy with pet players, making things more difficult for his coaches and personnel staff. IF he can dedicate his resources in the right places instead of pursuing fool’s gold.

If, if, if.

Redskins fans had high hopes for Marty Schottenheimer. For the second coming of Joe Gibbs. For Mike Shanahan. None of these moves restored any glory to the franchise past glimpses of hope. Instead, they all ended just like every other decision Snyder has made in 15 years: poorly.

This move becomes the latest in high-profile offseason acquisitions for this franchise. They got the right guy this time. Let’s see if they allow him the time, space and resources to do his job correctly.

_____________

Biggest questions for McCloughan on the field:

1) The Redskins own the fifth pick in the NFL Draft. Do they keep it, or move down for multiple picks. If they keep it, will they use it to help rebuild the porous offensive line?

2) Wither RGIII? Will McCloughan see enough from Robert Griffin III to install him at quarterback and make Jay Gruden integrate Griffin better into his offense? Or will the new GM defer to the current head coach?

3) With that in mind, with McCloughan expected to clean house in the personnel and development staffs, will he make similar changes in the coaching area? Will he take a year to evaluate Gruden and how he works with Griffin, or will he start anew?

Washington Redskins: The more things change… Bruce Allen meets the press

“We’re winning off the field,” Washington Redskins GM Bruce Allen.

In the absolutely most wishy-washy firing ever, the Washington Redskins and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett “mutually agreed to part ways,” according to the team’s press release. The wording of the press release couldn’t have been more ambiguous if they tried. But both GM Bruce Allen and coach Jay Gruden have a personal relationship with the now-departed Haslett, so the team’s statement is deferential to Haslett to allow him to “save face” on his way out of town.

“Jim and I have had discussions over the last few days and have decided that it’s best for everyone that we have a new Defensive Coordinator for the Washington Redskins. I wish him nothing but the best in the future,” said Gruden.

“Jay and I mutually agreed it’s time for the Redskins to have a new Defensive Coordinator,” Haslett said through the team’s release. “I want to thank Dan Snyder, Bruce Allen, Coach Gruden and all the players and fellow coaches for their efforts the last five years and I wish them nothing but the best.”

It is yet another example of this team doing bad business and allowing interpersonal relationships affect how they conduct themselves.

Haslett’s record speaks for itself, despite whoever might try to defend him in the local media. He needed to be dismissed — without prejudice — several seasons ago, but was retained and allowed the Redskins defense to suffer and flounder, instrumental in yet another double-digit loss season.

Allen met the press today — for the first time all season.

For the record, here was his statement on the arrangement.

“Jay and Jim had been talking the last few days. This morning, when they were talking, they decided it was the best way for both sides. I appreciate Coach Haslett’s work and what he’s done for the Redskins, but I think it was the right decision.”

Bruce, bubbie, if you think it was the right decision, why on earth didn’t you make??? Isn’t that, like, your job?

Allen’s remarks today were as wide-ranging as they were head-scratching. For the entire transcript, click here. But Allen talked around many subjects more than specifically addressing them.

He mentioned amorphous “change” several times, without including any specific ideas or details about such change. But several times he also indicated his faith in those already in place to affect that “change.”

“I think there is going to be changes. I know Jay mentioned that he’s going to make some changes and there’s going to be some other changes. But that’s part of the evaluation process right now. We’re looking for the solutions to get the team back on track. It seems like a long time ago when we won the division, and in football I guess it’s sort of like those dog years, it does multiply with each year. But, I’ve seen different people perform, I’ve seen the way people have evaluated talent, I’ve seen the way they’ve worked together, and I know this group will do it again.”

Allen identified what he thought was the recipe to fix the organization, identifying “good players, good coaching, good chemistry” as the secret. He ignored the ideas of good scouting, good drafting and good player development strategies, but hey, maybe we’re nit-picking at this point.

But Allen came up with some doozies today.

On the role A.J. Smith has played: “A.J. is a consultant. He lives in Del Mar, Calif. He’s somebody I’ve known for a number of years – we worked together 30-some years ago. When he got let go of the Chargers, I said, ‘If you have a few weeks a year and you want to come out, please do. Give us some insight into it.’ And so he’s sat in some meetings, and we’ve utilized his wisdom and experience.”

On whether Smith would be more helpful in DC rather than San Diego: “You know, the technology today, if you’re in Hawaii, you can watch the game tape as quickly as I can watch it here at Redskin Park. And, because we have telephones in Hawaii, we can have a conversation immediately after the game.”

On Jay Gruden’s first year as head coach: “He’s not the first coach in the history of this NFL to have a losing season in his first year and we are not the first team to have back-to-back losing seasons in the NFL. And it will happen again [in the NFL]. Do I believe he is the right leader? Absolutely. I believe he is the right leader and I believe the players believe that he is the right leader. We just have to make sure we augment the roster with the right players and give him the talent that he needs.”

And this winner: “I do think our Charitable Foundation does a fantastic job. We’re winning off the field, but we’ve got to start winning on the field.”

The punchlines write themselves.

This organization it rudderless at this point, and it doesn’t seem as if the person ultimately in charge has any clue that the man he’s tasked with making the changes to the football operations is completely and utterly ill-equipped for the job. Allen is a marketing man, not a football executive. Yet, he’s the one person over the past five seasons that has been in charge of football operations.

Mike Shanahan has come and gone. His son Kyle too. Jim Haslett and the team have “parted ways.” It seems like it’s just more of the same at Redskins Park.

Yet, the man making the decisions stays, with the owner’s well wishes and respect.

OPINION: Allen encapsulates Redskins’ woes with disaster press conference

Washington Redskins President and General Manager Bruce Allen took time this morning to speak with the D.C. media after his fifth season at the helm of the franchise.

If his late father, George, were on the Redskins’ Mount Rushmore for his services as head coach in the 1970s, the proverbial Hall of Shame would be too great of an honor for the younger Allen.

[Read more…]

Washington Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen’s Wednesday Media Availability

Here is the entirety of Washington Redskins head coach Bruce Allen’s media availability on Wednesday after the Redskins completed their 4-12 2014 season. [Transcript courtesy Redskins media relations.]

Opening statement:

“We just finished a frustrating season that had a few ups and too many downs. As Coach [Jay] Gruden talked about with you all on Monday, we’re going to take this time to start a full evaluation of everything and look into the way we acquire players, look into the way we coach players, looking at the way the players prepare in the offseason and in-season, and make sure we correct the problems that occurred and make sure they don’t happen again and bring in the right people. You know, I’d like to tell you there’s a secret ingredient in football, but there really isn’t. It’s getting good players with good coaching and good chemistry, a little luck with injuries, and that’s a successful formula. That’s what we’re going to start addressing.” [Read more…]

Current State of the Washington Redskins at Quarterback Going into the 2015 Offseason

Robert Griffin III's future with the Washington Redskins is up in the air. (photo by Brian Murphy)

Robert Griffin III’s future with the Washington Redskins is up in the air. (photo by Brian Murphy)

The Washington Redskins just completed another dreadful season, which continues a streak of terrible play on the field and dysfunction off. The biggest question going into the offseason is obvious — who will be the signal caller going into training camp, preseason, and eventually week one of the regular season?

That individual might be Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, or a dark horse that is not even on the team yet. It is unlikely that the Redskins will use their No. 5 overall pick in the upcoming draft on Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota should they be available, but the team could pick a quarterback with one of their mid- or late-round selections.

Going into 2014, Robert Griffin III was the starter without a question, with Kirk Cousins playing the role of a serviceable backup, and Colt McCoy sporting a headset and being inactive. That is hardly how the season turned out as Griffin started seven of the nine games he appeared in, Cousins five of six, and McCoy four of five.

Controversy began before the season started as many believed Kirk Cousins was a better option under center than Griffin. Not only that, but many believed new head coach Jay Gruden thought it as well.

After a shaky performance at Houston week one, fuel was added to the fire. However, Griffin got the start against Jacksonville the next week, where he began a solid drive before suffering the dislocated ankle injury. As a result, Cousins was given the chance he was hoping for but did not take advantage of it. Cousins finished with eleven turnovers against ten touchdowns, with an 86.4 QB rating, before being benched against Tennessee in week seven.

With Griffin still on the shelf with his ankle injury, McCoy was given the reigns and he successfully completed the comeback against Tennessee. Those heroics gave McCoy the opportunity to return to his home state and start against the rival Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

In the Redskins most complete and best game of the season, McCoy restored hope to a lacking franchise and led the team to victory. Unfortunately for McCoy, and quite possibly the rest of the Redskins season, Griffin returned from injury was given back his job as the starting quarterback.

Griffin came back to start against Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and San Francisco and, quite frankly, stunk it up and looked like a complete joke. Griffin had a total QB rating of less than 80 and was sacked a whopping 16 times, a direct correlation to his lack of reading defenses and quickly going through his progressions.

This led to Colt McCoy being given an opportunity to continue his strong play from earlier in the season. McCoy continued his impressive performance against Indianapolis but was rewarded with one of the worst defensive showings of the year and a loss.

McCoy had a poor performance against St. Louis the following week and suffered a neck injury, and Griffin stepped back in midway through the game against New York after McCoy could not continue physically. Griffin was given the majority of the final three weeks to state his case and although he showed some improvement, he has not guaranteed himself the job heading into the offseason.

Gruden, who is likely — but not certain at this point — to be retained as head coach next season, has stated that “all three quarterbacks have shown the ability that they can play quarterback in the NFL, but all three quarterbacks have shown that they need some work”.

Moreover, as it is difficult to have three in competition because of the limited amount of quality reps available, Gruden would like to narrow it down to two and then one “to work and grind on him and develop him.”

The one thing we know for sure at this time is Colt McCoy will become a free agent on March 10 if he is not re-signed before then. With limited cap space available and the possibility of McCoy wanting more than the veteran minimum, money could play a role in determining those who will be competing for the lead signal caller job in DC.

We can speculate that Griffin has the current edge in the competition because of the speculative backing from Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder. This most likely stems from the stubbornness of upper management to admit a mistake for giving up so much for a possible bust at the position. However, this next season may be the last straw for Griffin regardless.

Adding to the intrigue is Cousins’ status, as reports surfaced Monday that he would prefer to be traded if not given a fair shot to win the starting job. Cousin spoke on a conference call to clear the air that he did not “demand” a trade. But preferring to play somewhere else is different than “demanding” a trade.

Still, it’s hard to see the Redskins trading Cousins, or receiving what they think might be fair market value for him.

The best guess going into training camp is that all three quarterbacks — Griffin, Cousins, and McCoy — will be in competition for the starting job, with the obvious undertones from the front office leaning toward Griffin.

After training camp evaluations, as well as evaluations of the film from all three from the past season, Gruden will quickly narrow the search down to two with a front runner. Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay will most likely put all their efforts into shaping that one front runner into their starter as long as everything goes well.

However, as this fan base has sadly grown accustomed to, this may be far from the case.

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden’s Monday Media Availability

Here is the entirety of Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden’s media availability on Monday, the day after the Redskins completed their 4-12 2014 season. [Transcript courtesy Redskins media relations.]

On his first season as Head Coach and if he sees ways he can improve in his second year:

“No question. It’s a humbling experience, man, being the head coach in the NFL, going 4-12, obviously. You learn a lot. You learn a lot about yourself, a lot about the team, a lot about the staff you work with, and it’s definitely a learning experience. It’s something you can grow from. The big thing is not making the same mistakes twice, trying not to, and growing with your staff and with your football team and moving forward to bigger and better things. But, you’ve got to always keep your eyes up, eyes on the prize, have a positive outlook and try to do the best you can every day and that’s what we have every intention of doing.”

On his plan for this week:

“This week, I’m going to meet with Mr. [Bruce] Allen here tomorrow and then Sunday I will meet with Mr. Allen and Dan Snyder, and then after that, we’ll get together with the staff and start our evaluation process. But, we give the guys a couple days off here – a much needed break after a long grueling season, let them see their family and kids, get away for a few days. Then come Monday, we’ll all be back to work, ready to roll.”

On if he anticipates any coaching changes:

“I’m not anticipating any right now. Right now, it’s just let’s take a deep breath, let’s get to the tape, let’s get to the evaluation process, let me meet with Dan and Bruce, and we’ll go from there and start the process slowly but surely, get it all taken care of.”

On if he needs to meet with quarterback Robert Griffin III to “clear the air” on certain things:

“Yeah, there needs to be some clarity at certain spots. There’s no question about it, obviously the quarterback position is one of them, you know, and that’s going to be part of the process we’re going to have to evaluate and move forward from. I got a chance to sit down with all the players, about 95 percent of the players, today one-on-one – some of them for 30 seconds, some of them for a few minutes. I talked to them and let them know I appreciate their hard work and moving forward and hopefully I can bring a lot of those guys back to be part of this growing process and this turnaround. Robert is no different. We’ve just got to sit down and talk with our staff and GM and owner and decide who we want to make sure we come back and bring back and go from there. ”

On if he is already considering what he will do different next season:

“Yeah, there’s a million things. There’s a million things swirling in your brain right now. That’s why it’s important just to take a deep breath, take a few days off, let everything sink in, make the notes you need to make and when you talk to the owner and the general manager and the rest of the staff, then you move forward with some of your thoughts and your beliefs and make sure some of the key points are addressed, some of the key issues are addressed as quickly as possible so the team can move forward.”

On Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett and if he foresees any changes at the position:

“Well, I didn’t say there won’t be any changes. I don’t know what the changes are yet. I just said we’re going to take a couple days here, take a deep breath, and I’ll meet with Bruce tomorrow and I’ll meet with ownership –Dan – on Sunday and then we’ll decide and talk about the future of everybody in this organization, try to get some clarify moving forward. Every decision we make, it’s not going to be Dan’s, it’s not going to be Bruce’s, it’s not going to be my decision – it’s going to be our decision. It’s something we’re going to live with and something we’re going to do together. I’m going to be on board with whatever decision we decide to make.”

On his thoughts about Haslett:

“Well, I think I have a lot of respect for Jim Haslett. Coach Haslett had his hands tied a little bit this year. We had a lot of injuries, a lot of issues to our defense, the personnel that not many people have had to go through in this NFL season or in the history of this league, playing with as many different guys at as many different key positions throughout the season. I don’t know what the numbers were but I’m sure they’re up there with a record amount of players that had to start and play in this defense. Obviously, from a production standpoint, offense, defense, special teams, we all have to take a step back and look and evaluate everybody and nobody got the job done this year. You’re 4-12, so we had issues all across the board. I’m not going to talk about fictional things. I’m just going to take a step back here, wait for the meeting with Mr. Snyder and we’ll go from there.”

On if he would recommend keeping Haslett:

“Would I recommend keeping him? I would recommend keeping him, yes.”

On how long it could take for Griffin III to develop as a pocket passer:

“You can’t put a timetable on that. I wish I could. I really do. Obviously he did some good things in the game. He did some good things the last couple of games, but there are some things that we need to improve on in the offseason, as does everybody. His play is the focal point of this offense, obviously, as well it should be. Most quarterbacks, that is the job. That is what you sign up to do. When you sign up to play quarterback in the NFL, you’re going to be under a microscope. It’s no different here. This microscope is a little bit bigger than everywhere else, though. Obviously as a young quarterback he’s going to go through some growing pains. We all have a long way to go as far as learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we’ve just got to grow from there. Moving forward I think he’s got the arm talent to be a good quarterback. Obviously some issues in the pocket have to be worked with – anticipation, accuracy. There’s a lot of things that can be improved on. But every quarterback in the NFL will have to improve on every part of their game from one season to the next and he’s no different.”

On if Griffin III is the quarterback going into next year:

“It’s all part of the evaluation process. Coaches, players, all of it together, it’s going to be… we’re going to take this thing slow, very methodical. We don’t want to jump to any conclusions right now about anybody – coaches, players, anything. I want to go back and watch all the film of all of our defensive snaps, all our offensive snaps and evaluate our guys in the most professional way I can before I make any comment on who’s the starter and who is going to be competing for the job, who’s going to be here, who’s not going to be here. Luckily for us, we’ve got a lot of tape to look at on all three quarterbacks. All three quarterbacks have shown the ability that they can play quarterback in the NFL, but all three quarterbacks have shown that they need some work. That’s the case with most teams who are out of the playoffs right now. We’re going to go through that process slowly but surely, but we will get there.”

On developing players within the framework of the collective bargaining agreement:

“That’s tough. You’ve got to play by the rules. They come in here, they can work out but they can’t use a ball and can’t be with the staff, so it’s hard. They have to do a lot of their work on their own, with their own personal coaches and we can give our recommendations but we can’t be out there with them. But we do have all the OTAs, we have a chance to get really hands-on with them. We have the training camp and all the necessary preseason games and all that moving forward. Hopefully this experience that they all had they can take and learn from and study the game themselves with a lot of tape they have on themselves, study other quarterbacks, study other systems and continue to grow as a person and a player.”

On his message in a team meeting this morning:

“It wasn’t very long at all. The big thing was just giving the dates for the first offseason training activity, tell them [I] appreciate their work, their hard work, and you know we’re all disappointed with the 4-12 record, obviously, but we want to approach this next season differently, man. We want to work harder. We want to do things that you have never done before. And sometimes when you go about the same way you train, same way you work, same way you prepare, you’re going to get the same results, and we’ve had the same results here for too long. We’ve got to look at doing things differently and hopefully these guys come with a fresh mindset, come in in the best shape of their careers, best shape of their lives because we have to. We’re not good enough not to come in in the best shape of our life. So, a challenge to these guys? Very much so. And the core group of guys that I know are going to be here I feel good about. Now it’s a matter of surrounding them with other good people.”

On if he would be comfortable with three players competing for the quarterback position:

“It’s very difficult to have three with the reps that you get. You’d like to try to narrow it down to at least two. But like I said, if somebody said that, ‘Hey, you have to play with this guy, this guy or that guy,’ I’d be comfortable working with one. I’d like to pick one as soon as I could so we could really try to work and grind on him and develop him, but until that position is earned, you have to have a competition. And I anticipate us having a competition at a lot of spots and quarterback is no different next year.”

On if the team improved from last season:

“Well, it didn’t get much better, to be honest with you. We won one more game, so I guess we got a little better but that’s not good enough. We tried to address some issues in the offseason, depth-wise, and in the draft, but however, the results did not show. I think that will be determined next year and hopefully the year after to see the progress. You know, I think we are making progress, I think these guys competed, I think these guys came out the last few weeks despite being out of the playoffs. I feel like they laid it on the line for the most part. They really played hard, and that’s a positive sign for me. But the results aren’t much better, so I can only speak on results and it’s a results-driven league and, personally, if you look at the scores and the final 4-12, it’s not much better, so we have a long way to go.”

On if it would make a positive difference if A.J. Smith was at Redskins Park full-time:

“Well, he’s got great experience in the league and he’s a well-known general manager and done some great things out there with what he’s accomplished, but that’s not up to me. That’s up to Bruce and A.J. themselves and I have a lot of respect for both Bruce and A.J. and I think if A.J. is here full-time, it could only be a benefit.”

On his expectations for the level of scrutiny the team receives:

“I didn’t expect it quite to be this crazy, but it’s pro football and I’ve always understood the level of media scrutiny in pro football. You’re under a spotlight, you’re under the microscope like you said and if you don’t perform, you don’t win, then all your demons and all your skeletons are going to be pulled out of the closet, and as well as they should be. That’s what people want to read, I guess. I just get a little disappointed sometimes with a lot of the negativity because there’s a lot of good positive stories to write about. There’s a lot of players on this team that play their butts off and perform very well and I don’t feel like those stories are written enough, personally. The Alfred Morrises of the world, the Ryan Kerrigans, there’s some good people on this football team that are good off the field and on the field that I think deserve to be written about more so than all the controversial opinionated stories, but that’s just me. But overall, man, it’s been kind of what I expected for a 4-12 season.”

On his expectations for his first season and how accurate his expectations were:

“Anytime you come into an organization as a head football coach, man, it’s a great opportunity obviously and you can’t wait to get started and your expectations are always high at the highest of levels, otherwise you’re in the wrong business because that’s what you have to strive for as a football coach. The highest level’s a Super Bowl and that’s the only thing we can strive for here, and when you don’t reach those expectations, then you’re answering questions uncomfortably Week 17 when you should be getting ready for the playoffs. But I think from a standpoint of working together with the staff and the players, I think everything went pretty well. I have respect for a lot of people I work with, a lot of people that I coach and I know moving forward there’s enough people in this building that we can get this thing turned around very swiftly if we do it the right way.”

On if he prepared himself for the job at hand or if he had to learn on the fly:

“A lot of it’s on the fly. You know you don’t prepare yourself for this – 4-12 is hard to prepare yourself for. You don’t want to prepare yourself for that, but you know that when you coach in football long enough and you play, you’re going to have your ups and downs, man. You’re just going to have them. You’re not going to win the Super Bowl every single year of your career, so you have to handle the adversity like a pro and hopefully these players don’t get too used to losing, but you have to handle it and have to learn from it to do everything they can and everything we can in our power not to let it happen again.”

On if he has given thought to adding a quarterbacks coach:

“Yeah, there’s definitely been some thought to a lot of different things we’re going to do staff-wise. I am not going to stand up here and say everything is going to be exactly the same as next year. I’m not going to do it. There will be some changes; I just don’t know where they are yet, what they are going to be so I promise you there will be some changes. Maybe some additions, maybe some subtractions, but moving forward we will have some changes for the better and make this team better.”

On what “doing it the right way” entails:

“Bringing in people, bringing in the right people, number one. You know it starts with the right people, the right kind of people –guys that buy in, guys that like football, love football, want to be here, want to come to practice on time and practice their butts off and prepare the right way and coach the right way and love the game. We’ve got a lot of guys in the building that like that right now. We’ve just got to continue to add more.”

On if timing between the quarterbacks and receivers is fixable:

“Hopefully it’s fixable. You have to fix it. Playing the position of quarterback, you have to rely on timing and accuracy. Right now, for whatever reason, with the new receivers that we had, the quarterback switches, we just haven’t had the right timing and consistency with routes down the field. Yesterday we threw for a lot of yards but the majority of those were on screens and flat routes and all that stuff. Being able to push the ball down the field is a very important part of football nowadays and we have to do a better job of making sure everybody’s on the same page – running a route exactly the right way, throwing the ball with the right timing, footwork and accuracy. Right now, whether it’s receivers, whether it’s blocking, whatever it might be we’re just not quite clicking to where you need to click in order to win more games than you lose.”

On if he has to do some “house cleaning” inside the organization:

“No question. Sometimes the best addition to your football team is subtraction. That’s what we’ve got to figure out. Being with these guys for a long time, there are some things that you want to address. You want to make sure you have the right people in here. I’m not saying that all 53 guys are my type of guys, you know? There are some changes that are going to be made. I do have a lot of respect for everybody, the way the worked and prepared, but we do have to get better. We do have to make some changes. I promise you this – this will not be the same football team, football staff  right now that we’re going to have the start of next year. So we’re going to have a lot of changes that are done and made and hopefully for the better.”

On injured players:

“[Chris] Chester had a sprained toe. He’s going to be out for a couple of weeks. Trent Williams had his MRI – he’s going to have an MRI – on his high ankle sprain. Hopefully it won’t need surgery. And [Tom] Compton had the MCL sprain. He’s going to get an MRI. The other guys that were already – I think [Jason] Hatcher – were trying to avoid surgery, I think we’re going to keep close tabs on him. Tracy Porter might have to have surgery on his shoulder. We already know D-Hall, there’s a couple others. We can get you a list, too, if there’s need be. But on a lighter note, Logan Paulsen played good left tackle for a few plays. The more you can do the better, man. But, you know, injuries happen and hopefully our training staff gets with these guys closely and some of these guys who are hurt come back full strength in the OTAs and be ready to roll, give us some more depth.”

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