Bruce Allen: Shanahan is in charge
Let's go with one final post from Bruce Allen's two-hour appearance on ESPN 980's Lunch With a Legend series from Wednesday. And yes, this is a lot of radio transcribing, even for me, but when the GM for the most important team in town talks for two hours, you might as well have a listen. The audio is already on the station's Web site, if you care to listen yourself.
One of the key questions Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro tried to get answered had to do with authority; who has the authority on football decisions, how much autonomy the coach and GM have, and how this might be different from the past. Now look, Bruce Allen wasn't going to go on the radio and say that the man who hired him was doing things wrong in the past. At the same time, he managed to say some things that will further please longtime Redskins critics.
"There's only one person ever in charge of a football team in a locker room," Allen said. "Anyone who ever tries to break that special bond between the head coach and the authority of a locker room is making a mistake, in my opinion....
"The head coach is in charge of that football team. He will decide who's gonna start, who's gonna be the nickel back, who's gonna be the 53rd guy on the roster and who's gonna be the first guy on the roster."
Allen then talked about how he, the coaching staff and the college and pro scouts graded 350 players before the draft and reached consensus, but he said if there's ever a need to break a tie, only one man has the tiebreaker.
"If it ever became a tie in all of that, Mike, who do you want to coach, which one of these guys do you want to coach," Allen said. "That's the way it should be."
Loverro told Allen how much fans approve of the perceived change in the organizational structure, and here the GM declined to take that bait.
"I can't really comment on what it's been, because I don't know what the organizational structure was," he said. "I know what Dan and I talked about...what we envisioned it being in 2010, what we envision it being actually in 2015, and actually what we envision it being in 2020. I do know that everybody's on the same page of what we want it to be this year.
"When we brought Mike into the fold, we talked about what he wanted, talked about what he envisions it to be, and then went through what it will look like in 2015 and 2020 to him, and yes, everybody's on board. I really can't say what they used to do because I wasn't here."
And then Allen was asked about the common assumption that he and Shanahan would not have taken jobs with the Redskins absent full football control.
"Yeah, but that was never a question," Allen said. "Once again, I don't know if some of the assumptions that were made prior were correct. What I've found Dan to be is a passionate fan who wants us to get it right and has been very supportive of everything that we've done as an organization, the changes we've made. He absolutely signed off and said that if that's what you guys want to do, do it.
"No one's gonna second guess Coach Shanahan. He's got a plan. When you make the decision on 3rd-and-4, what play you're gonna run, you want somebody that's experienced to make that decision. If I was gonna pick out of a hat 5,000 names, I hope I would draw Mike Shanahan, because I've seen what he's done to my team on 3rd-and-4. God, it's painful sometimes....We feel good about the people we have in place to get the job done."
More from Allen....
On Donovan McNabb's lack of a contract extension: "We've told Donovan that we want him to be a part of our future. He has said he wants to be a part of our future, so we're not playing games. Both sides put their cards on the table. But right now we need to focus on what we're doing. We're gonna keep scouring the league to try to upgrade our talent. He's gonna keep learning the offense. He have plenty of time to work that out."
On whether that's unusual: "I think with an insecure player, there would have been an extension, he would have wanted an extension. But [McNabb's] very confident in himself, and we're very confident in our ability to keep him here in Washington, so it's really not something we're worried about, and he's not worried about it. And at the right time, I'm sure we'll address it."
On the end of last season: "It was great how it worked out, being able to watch the Redskins. I got to suffer through those lasts few games just like all the fans, and it was a great experience in order to rekindle the fire of the burgundy and gold....There were a lot of positives that were hidden inside some ugliness."
On whether Albert Haynesworth still has to prove his worth: "I don't think it's any different for Albert than it is for Kemo or it is for Adam Carriker or it is for any of our other players. Everybody's got to prove it....Whoever can help us win will play. We don't care if you're a 7th round draft choice or a 1st round draft choice. Whoever can help the Redskins win will play."
On Trent Williams: "Instant starter, and we'll never look back. He's working hard, and every day he really gets better."
On whether he'll follow Vinny Cerrato's lead and have a radio show: "No sir. No."
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