On Leadership
Video | PostLeadership | FedCoach | | Books | About |
Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

PostLeadership

On McNabb contract timing, Redskins management suffers a big loss, too

Donovan McNabb's agent, Fletcher N. Smith III, was certainly pleased about his client's reported five-year, $78 million contract extension with the Redskins. Finalized Sunday night and announced Monday afternoon, the agreement was timed perfectly, the agent for the former Philadelphia Eagle told the Post. "The fact that we could get this done tonight, with the Redskins playing the Eagles on Monday night and everything that goes with that - I couldn't have written a better script."

Actually, he could have--or at least the Redskins officials could have. Because this chapter of the McNabb narrative did not have a happy ending. In an embarrassing beat down, the Redskins fell to the Eagles 59-28 in last night's game, a stinging blowout in which McNabb threw three interceptions and completed only 17 of 31 passes.

The timing of the two events could be nothing more than unlucky coincidence. And indeed, there were surely many reasons the extension came together now, rather than earlier or later in the season. But the optics of a multi-million dollar contract extension for a star player coming the same exact day he led his team to one of the worst losses in its history is more than just painful irony. It's poor planning on the part of Redskins leaders too.

McNabb and Redskins officials have been trying to come to an agreement for eight months now. The team's off week was the date set as a target for an agreement, Coach Mike Shanahan has said, and they met it. Shanahan's controversial benching of the veteran quarterback at a critical moment during the Redskins' loss against Detroit may have also helped bring the two sides together. "The Redskins definitely seemed motivated to show that they were behind Donovan despite what happened," McNabb's agent told the Post's Rick Maese and Jason Reid.

Surely, then, the Redskins management didn't plan on throwing millions at their star talent on the very day his worth to the Redskins team might be most seriously called into question. But they could have planned the announcement so that it didn't happen on the exact same day as a big game with a top team where such headline-grabbing comparisons would inevitably be made. The Eagles were 5-and-3 heading into yesterday's game, and the big Monday Night Football matchup was sure to set up contrasts between McNabb and his former teammate and back-from-near-career-death quarterback Michael Vick, who had a record-setting game that prompted some observers to call him the best in the league.

Perhaps McNabb or his agent wanted that perfect "script"--announcing McNabb's extension on the same day he played his former team--so badly that negotiations demanded yesterday's timing. Who knows. But if Redskins officials did have a real say in the announcement date, the choice resulted in spectacularly embarrassing headlines (ESPN on Vick: "Show Him the Money").

Redskins officials could have waited to spread the good news after a big win. Or at the very least, picked a day that wasn't game day. Leaders can pretend otherwise, but optics matter. Maybe almost as much as offense.

By Jena McGregor

 |  November 16, 2010; 9:15 AM ET |  Category:  Bad leadership , Decision-making , Pop Culture , Sports leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Obama's trouble: Setting expectations? | Next: A royal wedding may be just what Britain needs

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Your point is something about "optics"?
"Leaders can pretend otherwise, but optics matter. Maybe almost as much as offense."

What on earth is your column about? Why is the date a contract is signed relevant to anything? No fan cares when a contract is signed. And McNabb did not "lead" the Redskins to anything. The Redskins have low caliber personnel. That's why they lost.

If you want to use this game to talk about "leadership", why not talk about how a "leader" can do nothing when he/she is not provided personnel and resources to accomplish the job. Why not talk about how the real "leaders" of the team have bungled personnel decisions for years. Possibly even better, why not write about something you know.

Posted by: dcc1968 | November 17, 2010 5:30 AM

The Redskins really looked pathetic against the Eagles- and I really hate having to say that. I agree with an earlier post that the o-line is so bad- why spend any money at all on a q-back? The deal for DM seems a lot like the same old Snyder-Cerrato circus part 2. Too bad they are bankrupt as far as having any ability to get new young talent in the drafts. It's going to be a long time before they can climb out of the talent hole they are in now.

Posted by: tplakeup | November 16, 2010 4:41 PM

HILARIOUS!

Jaws calls Vick "electrifying" in the third quarter.

Since Mr. Vick killed many of his dogs by electrocution, I wonder if Jaworski sensed the irony...or even listened to what he was saying!

Very funny stuff!
And the game was entertaining, too!

Posted by: wcmillionairre | November 16, 2010 4:35 PM

A fool and his money....

Sorry, just spent 10 years in Philly watching this loser. Gaudy stats, and big-game collapses, the Dsmack M.O.

Get used to those heaves into the third row, the dirt and five feet behind the receiver.

That's ole' #5 for you. Better hope your "D" steps up.

Posted by: vze2r3k5 | November 16, 2010 4:29 PM

Oh good. Another broad that knows dick about football talking about football. McNabb's value is worthless to the Redskins because there's no offensive line. No running game. No receivers. Tom Brady would have gotten killed last night let alone probably not scored 28. The defense especially the Hall-led lameness that went on last night doesn't help. Every aspect of the Skins game is trash. Bring in all the QB you want, no supporting cast, no wins. And Jenna McGregor wouldn't know the first basic point of football if McNabb hit her with the ball in the horsetooth set of chicklet-caps McGregor is sporting. What she, Jenkins and that chubby Tracee Hamilton know about football wouldn't overflow a thimble. But here they are doing two articles a week with their nonsensical tripe as if they know. And the Post keeps serving up crummy commentary as sure as Snyder serves up crummy football.

Posted by: JamesChristian | November 16, 2010 4:07 PM

Oh good. Another broad that knows dick about football talking about football. McNabb's value is worthless to the Redskins because there's no offensive line. No running game. No receivers. Tom Brady would have gotten killed last night let alone probably not scored 28. The defense, especially the Hall-led lameness that went on last night doesn't help. Every aspect of the Skins game is trash. Bring in all the QB you want, no supporting cast, no wins. And Jenna McGregor wouldn't know the first basic point of football if McNabb hit her with the ball in the horsetooth set of chicklet-caps McGregor is sporting. What she, Jenkins and that chubby Tracee Hamilton know about football wouldn't overflow a thimble. But here they are doing two articles a week with their nonsensical tripe as if they know. And the Post keeps serving up crummy commentary as sure as Snyder serves up crummy football.

Posted by: JamesChristian | November 16, 2010 4:06 PM

Optics shmoptics - overpaid is overpaid.

Posted by: JoeOvercoat | November 16, 2010 3:23 PM

I am so tired of caring about all of these details and side issues going on with this team. Why couldn't this be a team that worries about the "product on the field" as opposed to the "product packaging?" I was hoping the new mgmt and coaching regime would make a difference, but thus far, it appears as utterly inept as the past. I only hope that, at some point, competence will return to the burgundy and gold.

Posted by: sadskin | November 16, 2010 2:50 PM

All very good comments, but I like the one by majorhinton1 the most. Snyder and the team management is much like Congress and major corporations: They spend all freaking day telling you how good they are, yet they fail to deliver every time. Losing is acceptable. Losing without concern or professionalism is not. So, Snyder boy (The Kiss of Death), you should refund money to the fans. Do it, or I'll never go to Six Flags again. Ha-ha!!! Remember when Six Flags was profitable?

Posted by: ahntrio3 | November 16, 2010 2:33 PM

The reality is this: Vicks receivers caught every pass early in the game. McNabb's receivers dropped the ball early in the game. The bigger issue was Redskins defensive secondary - entrusted with stopping or at least "containing" the passing game last night - was absolutely horrible and overmatched. They allowed Michael Vick to look like - and have the 1st quarter stats of - the BEST QB IN THE HISTORY of the NFL. Jeez - I think some of our area high school quarterbacks could have had a few completions out there against them. When his career is done, QB Donovan McNabb is probably going to the Hall of Fame. The Redskins have won 2 superbowls with lesser QB's in Doug Williams and Mark Rypien. That means that the QB position is misunderstood here. At a minimum and to simply this it's also important to have a big, talented and achieving O line, receivers who achieve, and a competent and effective defensive secondary. It's a TEAM sport with many subtle but important details and integral parts that have gone unmentioned by most in these discussions. I give McNabb credit for TRYING to lead against overwhelming odds.

Posted by: HornetCoach | November 16, 2010 2:00 PM

You know, I would be upset about this loss, but when you've seen so many bad decisions, so many bad teams, so many bad coaches, so many "Big Money" players that go down in a fiery crashes, why bother.

This organization has been a failure for many years and those that have come and gone including Joe Gibbs did nothing to improve the foundation. I'd rather watch a no name college team play than to sit down and have my football intelligence insulted week end and week out with this team. They should all take their big contracts and give that money to a local shelter because no one earned a damn thing yesterday.

Albert lying on the field like a beached whale, smurf defensive backs trying to cover tall wide receivers, our small receivers trying to catch balls thrown at their feet, behind them, over their heads, anywhere other than in stride, when does it end? No speed in the backfield, a quarterback that is easily 50-60 pounds overweight and can't hit the side of a barn in stride. Coaches: What coaches? I heard the announcers calling Eagle’s plays in the first quarter. What did they know that the Redskins didn’t?

This whole thing is an embarrassment to any true Redskins Fan, in fact to anyone that simply appreciates a well played game. A loss is a loss no matter if it's by 5 or 50 points, but by God, at least show up to play and show some professionalism. All of this drama week after week, year after year and watching the latest "smartest guys in the room" fail every week is pretty pathetic to say the least. The Fans have come to expect mediocrity to the point that they still have hope for a 4-5 team and compare this to last year’s 4 win team and see this year as improvement. In this regard, I’m glad I’m no fan because I expect more. I don’t expect them to win every game, but I do expect them to honor and play the game in a manner that would make George Allen and Jack Kent Cooke proud. This is Washington Redskins tradition.

Posted by: majorhinton1 | November 16, 2010 1:57 PM

Let's take a look @ Redskins' mgt:
Head Coach; Shanahan fired by Denver for clashing w/ owner/front ofc. over his insistence to make personnel decisions which proved disastrous.
General Manager; Allen fired by Tampa Bay for inheriting a Super Bowl champion and turning it into a doormat.
Owner; Dan Snyder - enough said.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | November 16, 2010 1:56 PM

I see this differently. I'm glad McNabb got PAID for mentoring Vick back into the NFL and although the student POUNDED the teacher, Vick made McNabb VERY proud!!!! Sports is about GREAT stories and the day McNabb signs a HUGE contract his student leaves the nest!!!!

I'm just glad Vick gave up that pointless reality mess and decided to focus on his first luv...FB!!!! Vick is what rehab is supposed to achieve.....

Posted by: MDlady2 | November 16, 2010 1:55 PM

I sure am glad that Snyder hired coaching "geniuses" to lead the team out of a bye week to a dismal performance. The coaching staff did such a poor job of game planning that a team of All-Pros could not have won. As George Bush would say, "Good job, Shannie".

Posted by: pjohn2 | November 16, 2010 1:48 PM

Well, they scored 24 points, without having their best RB. Perhaps the bigger shame is that they need that money for defensive players. I mean, c'mon, 59 points!? That means you have to score 60 points to eke out a win.

Posted by: dmm1 | November 16, 2010 1:28 PM

"But the optics of a multi-million dollar contract extension for a star player coming the same exact day he led his team to one of the worst losses in its history is more than just painful irony. It's poor planning on the part of Redskins leaders too".

Shanahans and Haslett are the the real "leaders" of this mess of a football team.

Posted by: why231 | November 16, 2010 1:28 PM

"ALLOST calls Dan Snyder a punk and says Snyder behaves as a punk..."

is that supposed to be a controversial statement or something?

Posted by: stoat1 | November 16, 2010 1:26 PM

Interesting. ALLOST calls Dan Snyder a punk and says Snyder behaves as a punk, but ALLOST doesn't accept responsibility for his comments by including his name or contact information.

Ah, the power of the internet, to be able to criticize without repercussions.

dungarees@gmail.com

Posted by: Dungarees | November 16, 2010 1:16 PM

Redskin management ought to be utterly embarrassed for showing the entire nation their complete incompetence and misjudgement in putting on the field such an obviously unprepared, outmatched and inept group of "football players" that Monday Night Football has ever seen in 637 games. 592 yards in offense given up, 6 TDs by one player and 0 for 10 in 3rd down conversions? Other than that, I'm speechless!

Posted by: dealshotscooter | November 16, 2010 12:46 PM

No matter who is at fault the blame is going to fall on that punk Snyder. He has behaved as a punk would with regard to how he has handled the Redskins.

Posted by: ALLOST | November 16, 2010 12:18 PM

Post a Comment




characters remaining

 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company