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Allen wants to find ‘mentally tough players’

Feb 22, 2014, 11:55 AM EST

Bruce-Allen-snow

On the day that the Redskins announced that Mike Shanahan would be fired as the team’s head coach, Bruce Allen also announced that he would take over control in the personnel department.

“We are going to redefine some of the characteristics that we’re looking for in players,” Allen said at the time.

This week at the NFL Combine, Allen was asked just what he meant by that. Part  of it, he said, was that there were going to be some scheme changes that will ask different things out of some players. But the bottom line of what he was talking about was more about what a player has above the shoulders.

“What I was saying was we are going to find mentally tough players,” said Allen. “We want to find people who love playing the game of football.”

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By saying that the Redskins are looking for mentally tough players strongly implies that Allen believes that the team has too many players who are mentally soft. That issue could manifest itself in a few different ways.

One of them is special teams. Virtually every player who puts on a uniform is capable of covering kicks and blocking on returns. What separates the ones who can’t—and many on the 2013 Redskins couldn’t—from those who can is often what’s inside the player’s helmet.

Another is the ability to hold on to a lead. In the past two years alone, the Redskins have lost 12 second-half leads. They did manage to recover to win a few of those games but perhaps a mentally tougher team can maintain those leads.

The mental toughening of the Redskins probably can’t take place over the course of on offseason but it will be interesting to see who Allen ends up taking and how they stack up in that important but hard to define category.

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    In other words, the opposite of the Skins 2008 draft.
    ~

  2. internetcareer - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    I believe that Allen is going to go with strong character guys FIRST..its what his Dad taught him. I really do think the Skins are now a different franchise than even one year ago..much less over the last 15 years. The vibe is different…more positive…even from my living room.

    • thankslittlebrandonbanks - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      I hope you’re right, but that same dad seemingly had trouble instilling character in George Allen.

  3. toonloonboon - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    yan. talk is cheap.

  4. shermanp79 - Feb 23, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    That is almost more important than talent. It separates winners from lossers. I want guys with attitude and a bit of nasty. Not enough to be disruptive but smart.

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