December 11, 2019

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.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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