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WPC: Is table now set for Redskins success?



Is table now set for Redskins success?

By John Pappas
Warpath Confidential Editor

The winds of change are once again blowing over Redskins Park. The much-maligned personnel guy has been replaced. The unorthodox organizational structure is no more. And another coaching legend has arrived in town, presumably to stay.

We’ve seen this movie before.

In fact, those of us who have followed the team for any amount of time could see the signs back in September. When the team struggled early we knew big changes were headed this way. The hiring of an offensive consultant, and subsequent reassignment of play calling duties spelled doom for second year coach Jim Zorn. The gross lack of planning and depth on the offensive line, coupled with accountability for Zorn’s hire placed Vinny Cerrato at risk. And while Cerrato’s so-called resignation was a bit of a surprise, it was not wholly unexpected given the poor attendance and fan revolt that persisted throughout the season.

Fast forward to today. Bruce Allen is now the vice president of football operations and general manager. Jim Zorn was fired as soon as he got off the bus from San Diego. And two-time Super Bowl champion coach Mike Shanahan is in Washington putting the final touches on his deal to coach the Redskins.

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Nice piece. I think we have a golden opportunity here. We finally have the front office structure that is more in line with winning franchises. We finally have rid ourselves of the pox that was Vinny Cerrato. We will soon have a real NFL coach again. All the pieces are coming together. We could still blow it, but I’m feeling better about the team now than I have since those giddy first days when we found out Gibbs would return. There are a few things we all know will be addressed right out of the gate by Allen and crew:

Albert Haynesworth - He could be a powerful weapon, or a distraction and team cancer. We should have known this when we signed him but that’s water under the bridge now. The question now becomes “How do we get the most out of his talent?” I don’t think we did that this year.

Clinton Portis – Does he have anything left? Will he dedicate himself to working hard before the season? Is his health too much of a concern as he nears 30? How much will he cost us to keep around?

Jason Campbell – Allen has been smart here already by not burning any bridges with Jason. After all, we might need him to come back next season, especially if this is, as most of us suspect, a multi-year fix. Regardless of how things turn out with Jason it’s refreshing to FINALLY see someone act smart in the front office by not tipping our hand to the world. Even if we want to move on with a new QB what purpose would saying so at this point serve?

Certainly there are other questions and answers that will need to be addressed before next season starts. I just feel better with Allen, and whoever turns out to be our new head coach, than I ever did with the Vinny/Dan combo.
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Good stuff Pappas. And good point about the danger of giving Shanahan too much power. I think the guy's an ok coach but I'm not thrilled with him having too big a role as a personnel guy.
Perhaps Shanahan realizes that having complete control was not the way to go. I go back again to reports I read when Shanahan was interviewing for the job in Buffalo about Allen being part of the package deal if he were to be hired.

If that report is true it’s encouraging on a lot of levels. It means Shanahan has humbled himself somewhat to what wearing all the hats in an organization really means and it also speaks to the level of trust Shanahan and Allen have.

If the report is inaccurate then all of what I just wrote can be ignored. :)
Either that or it means he wants a GM he knows he can control.

Let's hope it's not that.
Either that or it means he wants a GM he knows he can control.

Let's hope it's not that.

Didn't think of that angle. Allen doesn't give me that impression, but you never know.

At this stage I’m going to stay on the sunny side of the street and try to look for the positives (I know, I know…). I wanted Dan to take some steps to correct this mess he’s made of our football team. To this point he’s done all of the things I’ve wanted him to do. Has the circus left town for good? Man, I hope so. We’ll find out soon enough.
Either that or it means he wants a GM he knows he can control.

Let's hope it's not that.

I believe Shanahan wants this set up so that Shanahan the President of Football Operations doesn't get Shanahan the coach in trouble. Allen will be more of a numbers guy than talent evaluator.

This arrangement will keep him out of contract negotiations, which will be done by Allen and Snyder. Normally this is the part that gets GM/Coaches in trouble. Hard to seperate the two positions when dealing with players.

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