Snyder Has Failed
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Dec. 14, 2008 will go down as the day the Redskins hit rock bottom.
Oh, sure, there was that 73-0 business with the Bears in 1940, and the 1960-61 un-dynamic duo (combined record: 2-21-3), or the night Gus Frerotte gave himself a concussion, or the day Darrell Green seemed to be playing by himself against the Vikings, or the "Happy Birthday, Joe" season opener in Dallas in '85, or the day Theismann had to punt against the Bears and whiffed. All fine candidates.
But has this team ever come up smaller, in a game that meant their season, against such a horrid opponent, as it did yesterday?
The inability to score, the lack of a pass rush, the feeling that this is, once again, a team content to be mediocre, all stems from the decisions made at the top. Because Snyder's unwillingness to bring in a true general manager and step aside is at the heart of everything that's rotten.
There's no secret about why the elite teams are always elite. They build terrific offensive and defensive lines, they get a quarterback who doesn't make mistakes, they can run the ball and they have a half-dozen or so playmakers throughout the roster. You know, like the 80's Redskins under Bobby Beathard. Yeah, he had Plan B and the USFL at his disposal, and he didn't have a cap. But what he did have was a knack for finding football players.
Take 1981. Mark May (first round), Russ Grimm (third), Dexter Manley (fifth). A very good draft. Now, throw in Charlie Brown (eighth round), Darryl Grant (ninth) and Clint Didier (12th), and Joe Jacoby (undrafted free agent). A great draft, a draft you can live a decade off of, which is precisely what the Redskins did.
Beathard was far from perfect; there are a lot of Bob Slaters and Carl Powells and Tory Nixons on his first-day board. But this isn't about being perfect; it's about being consistent, and the Redskins under Snyder have lurched from year-to-year with no carryover, no sense that Snyder's willingness to spend is leading to anything special.
Have you noticed that teams with a reputation of being cheap with players, like the Steelers, always seem to be contenders? Could it be that there's something to the whole notion of players being motivated to prove themselves, instead of getting seven-figure signing bonuses up front? Pittsburgh loses players because it won't pay; the Redskins sign players who never live up to the price it took to get them.
I think Dan Snyder wants to win, desperately. He either still doesn't know how or isn't willing to get out of the way to do it. Either is inexcusable after owning the team for more than a decade.
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