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Need to Know: Has Snyder found the right structure for the Redskins?

Jan 7, 2015, 5:10 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 7, 62 days before NFL free agency starts.

Three and out—After trying everything else, Snyder may have it right this time

1. On Monday morning very few Redskins fans knew who Scot McCloughan was. Now, assuming that he and the organization are able to finish hammering out a contract agreement, he is the savior of their franchise. I’ll admit I’d heard the name but I didn’t know much about him and I live the NFL 365 days a year. Now I’ll be spending the next several days, possibly longer, digging in to his NFL past.

2. If you haven’t read the ESPN magazine article on McCloughan from last month you should do so when you have a little time. Here’s the part that I thought was very interesting. “This morning, he is consumed with an FBS middle linebacker projected by many to be a sixth- or seventh-rounder. But on a play in which the linebacker sprints to the sideline to make a tackle on a bubble screen, McCloughan sees something others might miss. The linebacker smelled a screen before anyone else and was just fast enough to get to the receiver. ‘You can’t teach that,’ McCloughan says.” McCloughan eventually gives the linebacker a second-round grade. That’s an eye for talent that is rare and can’t be taught.

3. Snyder had tried just about every organizational setup possible in the football operation—owner picking the players, head coach picking the players, whatever Vinny Cerrato was picking the players, the triumvirate of Snyder, Cerrato, and Joe Gibbs picking the players. The only on he hadn’t tried was the one that virtually every NFL team that is even somewhat successful uses, with a strong, experienced GM picking the players. Better late than never, I guess.

Out: Bruce Allen is now in a job better suited to his capabilities, negotiating contracts, defending the team name, and handling other such duties as team president. It appears that he relinquished his final say over personnel matters, perhaps because he didn’t think he was up to the task. If that’s the case, he deserves credit for voluntarily stepping aside.


—It’s been 10 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 248 days until they play another one

Days until: NFL free agency starts 62; 2015 NFL Draft 113

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. Joe Greene - Jan 7, 2015 at 5:56 AM

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Rich had no idea who McCoughlan was even after a major feature piece on ESPN. I was stunned to see his name attached to our team as he’s far and away the best available personnel man available in the NFL right now.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 7, 2015 at 6:20 AM

      I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you would come down here and pop off and take a shot at me without reading and/or comprehending what was written on this page.

      • babyteal1 - Jan 7, 2015 at 7:32 AM

        You go Rich!!!

      • mr.moneylover - Jan 7, 2015 at 8:24 AM

        Get’em rich…lol

      • vtsquirm - Jan 7, 2015 at 9:53 AM

        I love how Rich has no problem firing back! you never see this out of other sports writers. Enjoy the column/blog, keep it up!

    • skinsgame - Jan 7, 2015 at 8:32 AM

      I’ll admit, I hadn’t knowingly read an ESPN article until Rich pointed this one out. Ever. I’ll also admit, I don’t watch pre-game shows.

  2. Stephfan - Jan 7, 2015 at 5:59 AM

    I’m happy for this move. I was never sold on Bruce to begin with. He didn’t do much when in Tampa so why would we as fans expect more? He was a mediocre gm there and here. Hopefully scot can bring us talent… And Rich mcshsy has pegged us with a lb in his mock… Your thoughts?

  3. gasngo14 - Jan 7, 2015 at 7:06 AM

    Well Rich i was ecstatic over the McCloughan news yesterday but now i am starting to wonder???The longer this goes on without being confirmed the more concerned i get, I hope like hell Dan does not lose out on this deal because of some stubbornness on his behalf. Or is this just another BIG marketing SPLASH to reel in as many fans as possible and to be in the headlines as long as possible?
    Any Thoughts Rich?

  4. sidepull - Jan 7, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    Maybe the light bulb has gone on, maybe Dan gets it, sign the check and get out of the way.Dan has mucked up this team so badly by meddling. I am skeptical but hopeful at the same time. A real talent evaluator can help him out of this mess if he lets him. HTTR. Great hire.

    • mr.moneylover - Jan 7, 2015 at 8:40 AM

      It will definitely take time to rebuild this team you cant expect a totally change in year one scot can bring in talented players in free agency and draft but its up to the coaches to develop them…I think since scot is now on board once the DC is decided more ppl will be fired and new assistant coaches will be brought in

  5. skinsgame - Jan 7, 2015 at 8:29 AM

    I remember when he was fired by SF but mostly because of the coaching issues they were having with Nolan & Singletary. When Harbaugh came into immediate success, it was evident that McCoughlan had assembled a worthy roster for the new staff to exploit. His choices in coaching deserve scrutiny and criticism.
    The ESPN piece is a bit of a concern. He is not done with drinking in spite of it getting him fired twice. His “resignation” in Seattle was an imposition. Hopefully, drinking or not, he can control his vice which is all most of us can do. He isn’t perfect personally or professionally but, it’s intriguing that a proven talent evaluator is close to coming aboard.
    You give credit to Allen and rightfully so. But he knows he likely just extended his career by removing those responsibilities from his title. I would add Mr Snyder, whom everyone loves to hate. He is showing (yet again) that he is no longer involved in roster building. If there really is a new GM, Snyder gets credit as well. He’s the one signing the pay checks.

  6. mr.moneylover - Jan 7, 2015 at 8:32 AM

    Redskins fans should be happy with this move ..the redskins can only go up from here….but has that EYE for talent witch most GMs dont have hes good at picking up good undrafted players as well..he basically build two soild franchises who was at the bottom at one point…all I got to say to dan and bruce is let the man do his job and disappear until we win on the field….I also agree with chris russell when he said the move to bring in scot was a year late they should’ve brought him in when dan got rid of the shanahans

    • bowlregard - Jan 7, 2015 at 9:17 AM

      He apparently wasn’t available a year ago. The timing just happened to be right at this point.

  7. shermanp79 - Jan 7, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    I believe Snyder has finally woken up. He likes Allen and wasn’t wanting to fire him, even though there were clearly deficiencies in his talent evaluating process. So he brought in a guy that has a proven track record. I can’t understand why it has taken so long for him to figure out he needs a scouting dept. lead by someone with credibility. This signing is better than AJ Smith. It will take a few years but I believe this move gives us a realistic hope of building a SB team. Everything sounded great last year with the hire of Gruden but after not getting rid of Haslet and basically getting nothing from FA and the Drafted players, it was clear changes were needed. I wonder how Scot effects who is hired as DC? Will he want to go with one of the young guys , especially with the SF connection. I think Wade could fix the defense but is he a long term solution. I prefer someone with experience but maybe that’s not the right choice. It has to be someone who can teach, I’d love Ryan to come here but he clearly wants to be a HC. I just wonder if Scot will be involved with those decisions. They would be typical GM duties. I’m just wondering if his function is going to be finding talent and Allen might have more control with the other GM functions. Truthfully as long as he has a say, it’s more important he is the final say with talent. Are these the things that are being worked out now and why a deal hasn’t been completed? I hope Allen insn’t getting in the way. He said they all were going to sit down and evaluate everything, there is no way not to see they failed miserably in the personnel department for many years now. Allen had minor success in his past, agree to be team President and manage the cap, using his strengths. I believe that is the only was this organization gets turned around and returns to our proud and winning history.

  8. Dave - Jan 7, 2015 at 9:17 AM

    I believe they are allowing Scott McCoughlan to draw up his Own plan for the team before agreeing to any type of control. But I believe they will give him Total control over personal and Roster decisions. I can’t see him agreeing to Be a GM if not given total Control which is what will eventually happen.

  9. bowlregard - Jan 7, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    Bruce Allen’s situation can be compared to that of Howie Roseman in Philly. They just reshuffled the front office there, giving Kelly complete control of personnel. So Allen and Roseman have both been relieved of personnel duties. In the case of Roseman it was an unhappy move as he is seen as a victim of Kelly’s power play. Allen genuinely may be content not dealing with picking players. But who knows?

  10. hitmeimopen - Jan 7, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    Doesn’t the picture bring to mind the story of a blind squirrel? That he stumbled into a good decision should not give anyone confidence moving forward.

  11. vtsquirm - Jan 7, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    I had never heard of McCloughan before yesterday but it looks like this will be a great hire. Ultimately this should be a great help for the team on draft day. But, no one else is talking about how this will impact our free agent signings which could be a bigger deal. We’ve always struggled to land free agents who can provide an impact. Hopefully he helps add stability there as well.

  12. brucealmty - Jan 7, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    It would be nice to know the name of the linebacker given the 2nd round grade. That “eye for talent” may have had a cataract with that pick and the player may have been a bust.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 8, 2015 at 1:24 PM

      That’s for THIS year’s draft.

  13. Steven Morrow - Jan 7, 2015 at 12:17 PM

    This will not be the fix needed because Snyder will always mettle with coaching.

  14. Josh - Jan 7, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    Good move by Dan Snyder. Hopefully Mccloughan hasn’t lost his knack for finding exceptional talent in the draft. Should now move on from Scott Campbell and his staff, expand the size of our scouting department filled with his own guys. Haven’t been sold on Campbell for awhile now. Move in the right direction? I think so, but as we all know, you just never know in DC

  15. Scottlo91 - Jan 7, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    Maybe having to watch Dallas get ready for a second playoff game got Danny off his ass to do the right thing finally

  16. clayton268921 - Jan 7, 2015 at 3:17 PM


    Stole this from another website – A question for you. Bobby Beathard used to say (and I’m paraphrasing): “I decide who shows up to camp and Joe (Gibbs) decides who leaves.” In other words, Beathard basically was in charge of the draft while Gibbs ultimately who controlled the roster with decisions about cuts. When you said that McCloughan will have final say over the roster does that mean he can overrule the HC on cut decisions? Or only that he has final say on roster acquisitions (drafts, FA signings, trades)?

  17. colmac69 - Jan 7, 2015 at 5:32 PM

    On the face of it a gd signing. ….u look at job he did in san fran and seattle and rosters that were built there it would appear he real gd at his job…..

    If he gets time to do job his way we could b onto a winner finally

    Certainly step in right direction

  18. goback2rfk - Jan 7, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    New GM, New Def. Coord, nice moves but I am not penciling in 10 wins next year. I want to see what they do with this personnel first.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 8, 2015 at 1:25 PM

      Who cares about 10 wins NEXT year? I want a better roster that consistently builds into a SB contender.

      • goback2rfk - Jan 8, 2015 at 5:54 PM

        That is not going to happen. History tells us the Redskins will never be like the patriots.

        • Joe Greene - Jan 8, 2015 at 10:04 PM

          What history is that? Prior to Snyder, that’s exactly what the Redskins were. I’m beginning to think you literally have no clue about anything that has ever happened with this franchise.

        • goback2rfk - Jan 8, 2015 at 10:25 PM

          Ok let me rephrase, Snyder’s history with the Redskins. And Snyder is not going anywhere dude, quit whining and crying it about it all the time. Atleast he is trying to get better people in here now

  19. jscx3 - Jan 7, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    I think they can compete next year in east. The division is ripe for the picking. Dal, NY have aging qbs. Philly kinda doesn’t really have one. I know the skins don’t either, but a good draft and fa run could help. I think that a move like this with this guys rep can get some quality fa’s over in DC. Not big name splashy washed up help. Solid help. I also keep hearing they are going to interview the niner oc. Why? Archives

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