Over the past year, there have been major changes throughout the Redskins organization from top to bottom.
Longtime team president Bruce Allen was fired at the end of the 2019 season. Larry Hess, the team's head athletic trainer for the past 17 years, was let go, too. Well-respected head coach Ron Rivera was hired, and he overhauled the entire staff to form his own. And most recently, the team traded left tackle Trent Williams to San Francisco, ending nearly a year-long ugly saga.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen has only been with the Redskins for just three seasons but has already emerged as one of the team's leaders. During the Redskins virtual draft party this past weekend, he explained how different things are now compared to when he was drafted three years ago.
"I think the biggest difference between this year and my rookie year is this year is all business," Allen said. "When I [first] came in, the goals of the organization didn't all align. Guys weren't on the same page, from the top all the way down to the players."
Since taking over as head coach, Rivera has preached several times about building a new culture in Redskins Park. He hasn't been shy to get rid of some of his better players, especially those not buying into what he's trying to build. That's why trading disgruntled players like Williams and cornerback Quinton Dunbar were major steps in the right direction for the organization.
In the three years that Allen's been in the nation's capital, he's plenty of organizational disagreements. Allen's rookie year was the final season Kirk Cousins was a member of the Redskins, as the QB's camp and the team could not agree to a long-term deal despite Cousins playing under the franchise tag for two seasons.
Allen's second year started off promising, but quarterback Alex Smith's devastating knee injury derailed any hope the Redskins had in 2018. This past season saw plenty of organizational misalignment, as the Redskins invested a first-round pick in Dwayne Haskins, a raw quarterback prospect, despite then-head coach Jay Gruden in win-now mode.
But with Rivera in charge, all signs point in the positive direction for the Redskins moving forward.
"The direction we're heading now is great," Allen said. "I'm excited for it, the players are excited for it."
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Allen and the Redskins, along with the rest of the NFL, will not have the chance to have on-field activities during OTAs and minicamp. With normal lie currently on halt, Allen is trying to contain his excitement.
But the defensive lineman, whose fifth-year option was picked up earlier this week, preached that once it's time for the team to get back on the field, he'll be ready to go.
"Come football time, that's when we're looking to really get things rolling," he said.
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