Is Dan Snyder backing off?
With everything else going on, I hope you've taken the time to read Barry Svrluga and friends breakdown the Jim Zorn Era. The most interesting nugget--and biggest reason for optimism I've heard in months--came near the end, when Dan Snyder talked about his relationship with Zorn.
"I think we had a good relationship throughout his time here," Snyder said. "Our regular meetings and lunches did end after Bruce Allen came here three weeks ago. Bruce thought that the right line of communications was between himself and the head coach."
Bruce wasn't the only one who thought that. I mentioned that Clinton Portis discussed at great length his relationship with "Mr. Snyder" on Tuesday, and that line of communications, too, is now under attack.
"We don't need that," one player told Brian Murphy. (And please, read this entire blog post filled with anonymous Redskins firing back at Portis.) "You can't do that. You're making yourself an individual. Why should you be special? That's one thing I've never understood - why does one man feel like he's above everybody else? That's not right. You're undermining your coach. Whether you like the man or not, you've got to show a level of respect. For you to go over the coach's head and go to the owner - that's really childish. It's like having two parents and saying to dad, 'Mom said I couldn't do this, but can I anyway?' You just can't do that."
Something like, I don't know, 100 percent of fans would agree with Mr. Anonymous on this one, and there are indications that the rules are now changing. Adam Schefter--the reporter closest to Mike Shanahan--went on ESPN 980 this morning and was asked whether Shanahan and Allen will have full autonomy from ownership on football decisions.
"One hundred percent," Schefter said without hesitation. "And I don't think either one of them would have come to Washington without that understanding and agreement. I think that when you hire Bruce Allen and when you hire Mike Shanahan, you hire them to do what they do, and that is to coach and to run a football team. And I think that Dan has been through all the experiences that he has before. He's been involved, he's going to be paying very close attention to everything--because he cares, that's what he wants to do. But the decision's gonna belong to Mike and Bruce, and that's just the way that it's gonna be going forward."
(Sound of praise and rejoicing.) As with everything, let's wait and see. But if it's true, that autonomy matters far more than the name on the head coach's door. Schefter returned to this idea a short while later, and it was just more red meat for a fan base with a serious case of Snyder fatigure.
"It's their show," Schefter said of Allen and Shanahan. "That's it. They're taking over. They're the men in charge right now, and they are responsible for the direction of this franchise moving forward. When Jim Zorn was dismissed this week, who did it? Bruce Allen. Not Dan Snyder. Bruce Allen. When Mike Shanahan was hired, who did it? Bruce Allen. So it's Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan running the show in Washington, with Dan Snyder watching from above, which is how it should be, which is how most successful organizations in football are run. You look at the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dan Rooney was there, he was a presence, he was aware of things, but he wasn't ultimately making decisions about what free agents to sign, and what players to draft, and what players to keep, and what players to cut. And it'll be the same thing in Washington."
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