The Redskins won the NFC East in 2015. That’s a nice accomplishment but it’s something that they have done before, as recently as 2012.
But what they have not been able to do since the Bush administration—that’s the elder Bush, George H. W. Bush—is make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. They won the Super Bowl in 1991 and then they qualified as a wild card the next year. The Redskins were unable to post so much as a winning record after playoff appearances in 1999, 2005, 2007, and 2015.
The reasons for their inability to build on success are varied. In 2000 they famously went out and got free agents Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders, thinking they were the last pieces to the Super Bowl puzzle. It turned out that the puzzle pieces formed the numbers 8-8. After winning in 2012 they didn’t make any specific moves but Bruce Allen admitted that there was a feeling at Redskins Park that they were on the right track and that improvement was inevitable. That attitude got them a 3-13 record and spelled the end of the Mike Shanahan regime.
There is no guarantee that the Redskins will return to the playoffs in 2016. But if they don’t it won’t be because they went off on an ill-advised spending spree. General manager Scot McCloughan said yesterday that the Redskins “won’t be big players” in free agency.
And they won’t fall short of the playoffs due to complacency, at least not on the part of the general manager.
"I’m never satisfied,” said McCloughan. “Not in this league; it can change in one play. Injuries, trade, anything could happen. I’m always striving forward.”
McCloughan, entering is second season at the helm, said that he sees owner Dan Snyder, team president Bruce Allen, and head coach Jay Gruden all of the same page.
“We’re all gonna keep fighting. We know we have to get better,” he said. “You know, going to the playoffs and winning the division is great, don't get me wrong, but we have a long ways to go, long ways."