Washington Football

Quick Links

One thing doesn't make sense about Washington's dismissal of Alex Santos and Richard Mann II: The timing

One thing doesn't make sense about Washington's dismissal of Alex Santos and Richard Mann II: The timing

In a move that seemingly came out of left field, Washington fired two longtime front office members on Sunday -- Alex Santos and Richard Mann II -- just 16 days before training camp begins.

Sure, the team had its reasons for these moves. Only the people inside the doors of Redskins Park can explain. But what is a bit odd is the timing. Why now? Why in mid-July with training camp right around the corner?

Since last December, the Burgundy and Gold have made several organizational changes. The team's current staff has few holdovers from 2019.

Longtime team president Bruce Allen was fired on Dec. 30, and head coach Ron Rivera was hired two days later. Head athletic trainer Larry Hess, who had been with the organization for 17 years, was let go, too.

Washington has yet to announce a formal replacement for Allen, but Senior VP of Player Personnel, Kyle Smith, has served as the de facto acting general manager. Smith, along with Rivera, spearheaded Washington's 2020 draft, and the head coach had plenty of praise for Smith following the three-day April event.

Eric Schaffer, the team's VP of football operations, who spent 17 years with the franchise as the organization's respected salary-cap guru and general counsel, was let go in January as well. Rivera brought in Rob Rogers from Carolina to replace him. 

Doug Williams, one of the Burgundy and Gold's iconic players, was even reassigned from the pro personnel department to the player development department this offseason. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE REDSKINS TALK PODCAST

All of these moves had one thing in common that these recent dismissal doesn't: the timing makes sense. 

Allen's firing in December was, by all accounts, overdue. He had spent 10 years with the organization, and during that span, Washington made the playoffs just twice with no postseason victories. Rivera's hiring in January was customary for when teams replace head coaches. Schaffer's dismissal came a few weeks after Rivera was hired in January, as the head coach was working through the process of which staff members he wanted to hold over.

But for Santos and Mann? The timing, on the surface level, just doesn't make sense. The team had months to make changes at their respective roles.

Should they have been let go in January, that would have made sense. Rivera would still have been in his first few weeks as head coach, figuring out how he wants to build his staff. Or maybe after free agency? That's when their jobs at the pro level would have been complete. 

Should this move have occurred in early May following the draft, that would have also made sense. Many front office staffers are let go across the NFL following the draft, as teams don't want to waste a year of their work by dismissing them prior to the draft itself. There are still priority undrafted free agents to sign and work to do. But, especially in 2020 when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic wiped out rookie minicamp, OTAs and veterans' minicamp. there was an easy gap to make changes. 

But once again, why now? July is usually a dead period in the NFL, as teams have one final break before gearing up for training camp and the upcoming season. Major personnel moves are rarely made in July, if ever.

RELATED: WASHINGTON MAY CATER TO FUTURE FANS WITH NEW NAME 

Last year, the New York Jets got plenty of scrutiny for firing then-GM Mike Maccagnan in May, just a few weeks after the draft. That was in May, and the organization received major backlash.

Washington didn't get rid of a general manager on Sunday - Rivera is firmly in control there with Smith assuming more power - but it did dismiss two important members of its front office with training camp arriving soon. Those roles will have to be filled and it's not an ideal time to find candidates. Most prospects would have employment by now. Maybe there are internal hires the organization likes? 

With training camp just over two weeks away, the timing of Santos and Mann's dismissal is just plain odd. And with the team's potential name change still at the forefront, these moves will only add to what will likely be another crazy week in Ashburn.

Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE TEAM NEWS:

Quick Links

Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

Packers won't have fans for 1st two home games

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers say they won't have any fans for at least their first two home games this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Lambeau Field will not be the same without our fans' energetic support in the stands," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "Given the extraordinary circumstances this year and the additional protocols in place, though, we determined it was best to take incremental steps to start the regular season. These two games will allow us to focus our attention on safely conducting games inside the stadium with all necessary participants."

That means there won't be any spectators for their Sept. 20 game with the Detroit Lions and their Oct. 5 Monday night game with the Atlanta Falcons.

Green Bay's third home game is Nov. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Packers officials say any decision on whether to admit fans for that game would depend on the status of the pandemic, and that they'd consult with local health officials.

This announcement comes two weeks after Packers CEO Mark Murphy had said that any Packers home games this year would include no more than 10,000-12,000 spectators, if any fans were allowed at all.

All other public areas at Lambeau Field, including parking lots, the pro shop and the Packers Hall of Fame, will be closed during the home games that have no fans. The Titletown area surrounding Lambeau Field will remain open to the public, but no team-run, game-day activities will be planned.

Quick Links

Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

Radio host Kevin Sheehan says it would be 'major indictment on Dwayne Haskins' if he doesn't start Week 1

As the Washington Football Team continues to ramp things up in training camp, head coach Ron Rivera has yet to officially name the team's starting quarterback.

However, for Team 980 radio host Kevin Sheehan, there's only one direction the team should go at the position.

"If he doesn't start September 13th against the Eagles, it's a major indictment on Dwayne Haskins," Sheehan said Thursday on Washington Talk & Friends.

In the QB room, there's Haskins, a first-round pick from a year ago that many expect to be the eventual starter. But Washington did trade this offseason for Kyle Allen, who has spent the past two seasons under Rivera and Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner in Carolina.

Earlier this offseason, Rivera said that if there was no normal offseason program due to the coronavirus pandemic, Allen would have a "leg up" on Haskins entering camp. 

Despite all that has transpired the past several months, Sheehan doesn't want the odd, pandemic-riddled offseason to be an excuse as to why Haskins shouldn't be the team's Week 1 starter.

"I don't care what anybody says about the offseason, minicamps and OTAs missing and Kyle Allen getting traded for, [Haskins] has got to be the guy," Sheehan said. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TALK PODCAST

Earlier this week, Rivera praised Haskins for how he's handled everything this offseason. He commended the passer for how much of the playbook he's already mastered, albeit that being less than three-quarters of it.

Rivera's ultimate decision for who the team's starter will be isn't just between Haskins and Allen. Besides those two young signal-callers, there's also another QB in the mix: veteran Alex Smith. The 35-year-old is currently on the active PUP list, but has been cleared by his personal doctors to return to football activities.

Smith's journey is remarkable. After nearly losing his leg (and maybe his life) from infections that occurred as a result of the gruesome leg injury he suffered in November of 2018, Smith has worked incredibly hard to return to football. 

Even if Smith does get the clearance from Washington team doctors, Sheehan doesn't envision a scenario where the quarterback takes a meaningful snap for Washington.

"I don't see Alex Smith taking anything other than, if he takes a snap on an NFL field, it'll be ceremonial," Sheehan said. "That's what I'm hoping for, too, but I hope he gets back to where he's cleared and then decides not to play."

RELATED: DOES ALEX SMITH MAKE SENSE AS WASHINGTON'S QUARANTINE QB?

When asked why he thinks Rivera has not come out and named Haskins the starter already, Sheehan explained that the second-year passer may benefit from believing he's in a competition.

On his radio show, Sheehan spoke to former Washington cornerback Shawn Springs, who happens to be one of Haskins' biggest mentors. Springs explained to him that Haskins may benefit from not being given the title of QB1 just yet.

"[Springs] really thinks that it's better if Dwayne perceives he's in a competition," Sheehan said. "Maybe Ron recognizes that, too."

While Haskins may not be the starter just yet, plenty of signs point towards the second-year passer being Washington's Week 1 starting quarterback. And that's exactly why Sheehan and many others in the D.C. area believe he is the best direction for the team to go.

"I think he's fearless," Sheehan said of Haskins. "This thing is not above him, it's not too much for him."

Stay connected to the team with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM NEWS