Washington Football

Washington Football

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 28, 28 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Have the Redskins shed the dysfunction?

This question is from Jamey Cowan from my Facebook page.

Hey Rich, do you think the culture of the dysfunctional Redskins has turned the corner? The roster looks better and 5th Year for a coach is positive but still worry about things like McCloughan firing and Kirk debacle have me nervous still.

For much of this decade, the Redskins have staggered between competence and dysfunction. In 2010 they hired Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan to run the operation, two men who had spent a lot of time in the game and had experienced success. But right off the bat, the coach clashed with Albert Haynesworth (a product of previous dysfunction) and that was the nexus of the salary cap penalty that was imposed in 2012.

Despite the penalty, it looked like things were going well when they dealt for Robert Griffin III who became the talk of the NFL as a rookie and led the team to the NFC East title. But then came the knee injury and the summer of passive-aggressive exchanges between Griffin and Shanahan about the idea of being all in for Week 1.

After the Redskins went 3-13, Shanahan was fired and the pendulum started to swing back towards normal. Scot McCloughan came in to be the general manager, supposedly with full control over personnel. The Redskins won the division in 2015 and things were looking up.


Those “normal” Redskins had a good run that lasted until McCloughan did not accompany the other team officials to the NFL Combine in 2017. The official reason for the absence given to the media was that he was dealing with the death of his grandmother, who was 100 and had died nearly a month before the combine. Things went from suspicious to ugly when McCloughan was fired shortly after they returned from the combine. Accusations of drinking on the job came from an anonymous team source and the organization had a self-inflicted black eye.

Since then, things have settled down. Doug Williams was named to head the player personnel department and it appears that they have had two productive drafts (although we will have to wait a couple of years to see how they pan out). There were missteps in dealing with Kirk Cousins’ contract, but they recovered well by trading for Alex Smith. And while this doesn’t directly relate to the product in the field, the Redskins move to lure Brian Lafemina away from a top job in the NFL offices to become their president of business operations and chief operating officer drew many positive reviews from around the league.

But before you get too comfortable, get out your calendar and consider the fact that the McCloughan debacle unfolded about 15 months ago. It’s just way too soon to say that the Redskins have put the dysfunction behind them.

It’s possible that the Redskins are on a course that will let them enjoy years of being a tranquil, successful operation that makes headlines only for the right reasons.

But it also could be a setup for the classic scenario where Lucy pulls the football away just when Charlie Brown is about to kick it. Although fans should hope for the best they also should be prepared for the possibility (probability?) that the next bout with dysfunction is lurking just around the corner.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler.

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Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 28
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 42
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 65

The Redskins last played a game 179 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 73 days.

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