Friday, December 18, 2009

Thumbs Down Indeed

Hey Paul 2002 called, it wants its CRT monitor back

With a hat tip to lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery, Philadelphia Daily News NFL columnist Paul Domowitch gave Dan Snyder a thumbs down in today's column:

Thumbs down

To Redskins owner Dan Snyder for his rapid-fire hiring of former Bucs and Raiders executive Bruce Allen as his new football operations vice president. I've got two problems with this. One, Allen is a barely - and I mean barely - more competent talent evaluator than the boob he's replacing, Vinny Cerrato. Two, the Redskins announced the hiring of Allen less than 2 hours after Cerrato's long-overdue resignation was announced. Makes you wonder how earnestly Snyder complied with the league's Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one African-American candidate for coaching and front-office positions. He probably brought in Bob from accounting and Frank from marketing for 5-minute interviews right before hiring Allen, who will fit in nicely as Snyder's newest yes man.

So let us review Paul's challenges with the Bruce Allen hiring, first that Bruce is barely a better talent evaluator than the boob he replaced. Ok fine, let us assume that is the case. Then one would hope as general manager, a title Dan Dnyder has never bestowed upon anyone, Bruce would be smart enough and invested with enough authority to develop his personnel evaluation team, whether in the form of a hotshot coach with personnel cred and responsibilities like Mike Shanahan, or in the form of capable suits.

From a transactional perspective, Redskins fans lose nothing if Bruce Allen bumbles his way through another disastrous draft like 2008's, and have everything to gain if Bruce can actually build a college and pro talent evaluation program.

Using this criticism of Bruce Allen we should be able to go back and find Paul's columns critical of the Eagles' hiring of Andy Reid as head coach directly from a quarterback coaching position in Green Bay because Andy was way less qualified as a head coach than Ray Rhodes, the guy he replaced who at that point had coached sixty-four more games at head coach than Andy's zero.

Second, Paul seems to have a problem with the quote rapid-fire unquote timing of the announcement of Bruce's hiring coming too soon, not even two hours, after the announcement of Vinny Cerrato's departure, as if it all seems much to conveeeeeeenient to have happened above board, Paul even wonders if the presumably black guys in marketing and accounting got a five minute token interview to validate the Rooney Rule.

There are two issues here, the timing and the Rooney Rule compliance.

Although these twin announcements took all of Washington by surprise, as it turns out the whole thing was not knee jerk or rapid fire and had been in the works for some time. There was talk in January of this year that Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen had met to discuss a possible role with the team, and numerous sources, including Bruce Allen's brother, Senator Macaca himself George Allen have confirmed that this has been brewing under wraps for long enough that people had to be sworn to secrecy.

Dan Snyder never leaps without a net except when he hired Jim Zorn before hiring a head coach, and we should have known the canning of Vinny was just the first shoe. The team had been negotiating this transition for long enough that a requisite minority candidate was interviewed, if we presume the transaction's approval by the Fritz Pollard Alliance sufficient to validate this. The Fritz Pollard Alliance is the group formed to encourage minority hiring in the NFL and to police franchises on practices.

Do we know who that minority candidate was? Or if there was none how did the team acquire a waiver? No we do not and we may never know, then again this is Washington and it may leak out. Few people really know how these things are brokered or measured. What matters is the regulator agrees the team complied. As a Redskins fan and inquirer though, I would like to know more about the details.

With their poor play, the fan backlash that came to be known as the Burgundy Revolution, the Bingo Caller, the Playcalling, obvious friction between management and coaching and mounting injuries, the football media at large was given license this season finally to write about what a horribly run organization is the Redskins. And they have, and I have no doubt that negative coverage, so many respected football writers and talking head not simply saying whoa they suck right now in 2009 but that they have sucked for a decade and we all know it, we all know why and everyone knows it, played a part in helping this transition along.

And while we do not know what the future holds for the Redskins and how they will be run and how successful they will or will not be with a formal general manager, it is disingenuous for anyone with a real football credential not to say the last 24 hours represents steps in the right direction for the organization, especially when evidence refuting concerns about timing and rule compliance is right in front of our faces.

Paul Domowitch, Philadelphia Daily News NFL writer from here.