by Aaron Jaffe ’21
In the new world of advanced analytics and next gen stats, anything in sports can be put into perspective by numbers. The Washington Redskins, a once dominant team from the late 80’s into the early 90’s, have been on a free fall for almost 30 years now. To be exact, it’s been 27 straight years since the Skins have hit the 11 win mark in a single season. Over their last 64 games, you couldn’t find a more average middle of the pack team anywhere else in the NFL. The Skins total a record of 31-32-1 over that span. A span like this doesn’t happen by accident.
Washington has burned through many opportunities, quarterbacks and coaches. But there has always been a common scapegoat that has become even more apparent over the past few seasons. The injury bug. Skins fans have watched as season after season, their favorite players have gone down with various and simply frustrating injuries. Most recently, injuries have just decimated once promising Washington seasons. From last season and the 12 games this year, the Redskins have placed around a whopping 40 players on IR. While there is no hard evidence and support for any logical solution or reason for the amount of injuries the team, it may be a cover for what’s really happening in the nation’s capital.
Normally among fans, there is a mutual respect for upper management of a team’s organization because they are the ones in charge of their favorite team. They make the signings, trades, draft picks and put together the team that steps onto the field every Sunday. The situation in Washington, however, is the polar opposite. Support for owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen are at an all time low. Since Snyder purchased the team in 1999, his reputation has slowly been on the decline after many years of just straight-up bad football. Snyder and Allen somehow always ducked from the spotlight as the other teams around the D.C. area have been almost equally as disappointing. In fact until the Capitals broke the “D.C. Curse”, Washington was actually at the top of the list of cities with championship droughts. Thankfully for fans and anyone linked with the sports teams in Washington, the Caps broke through and consequently Snyder and Allen took another huge blow in terms of support. Now that fans and even players on the D.C. teams had seen what it was like for this town to win a championship, the mediocrity displayed by the Skins was no longer going to be tolerated.
Now is the time for the monsters to come out from hiding. There can be no more excuses. The injuries are horrific, but don’t let them distract you from the blundering of many other issues with the team such as the firing of former general manager of the team Scot McCloughan or the Kirk Cousins saga. Yes, there were allegations that McCloughan had a drinking problem that resurfaced but are the Skins really one to hold down the law? They just signed former San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Reuben Foster, who isn’t most famously known for his talent and play, but for his off-field actions that include domestic abuse and marijuana possessions and have adamantly defended him. Drinking is a serious problem but they evidence they had was shaky and at best a gray area. Plus, McCloughan is already back with another job in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. McCloughan had an eye for talent and great drafting skills but was fired by Snyder (not coincidentally) just before McCloughan was going to pull the trigger on a Kirk Cousins trade. Cousins, by the way, was widely considered as a franchise quarterback around the league, but was let to go in free agency after back-to-back franchise tags by the Skins. It was clear once both sides decided it wouldn’t be a match long-term, that Washington and Cousins were going to part ways. There is no problem with that at all, and it may have been for the better because Cousins was not exactly beloved by the fans or even his own teammates and with the way Coach Jay Gruden wanted to change his playbook, Cousins was no longer a fit. But thanks to the dynamic duo of Snyder and Allen, Cousins was almost kept hostage and instead of making the trade that would bring back draft capital and potentially young talent, Cousins stayed on the team and left only a couple short months later with the only return the Skins will see is a compensation pick from the Minnesota Vikings.
There is no better time than the present. Sitting at 6-6 and with third-string quarterback Mark Sanchez at the helm, it’s probably time to look at 2019. At best, the Skins are a first-round exit with a low first round draft pick. At worst they lose out and sit at 6-10 heading into the draft. Either direction this wasted season heads, changes need to be set forth. Assuming Washington fails to make the playoffs, it will cost Gruden his job, which is a good start. A much needed fresh start. Continuing on the path of changes, Allen should get the cold shoulder-there is simply no reason for him to stay. Giving a promotion to current Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams would almost complete the office rebuild. The team doctors have to go, just by default because there is no way they can stay after this injury-plagued year. Then the big one. If somehow the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can do one thing right, he will find a way to replace Snyder as owner, and Washington can finally rise back to the champions they once were.