Never has the fanbase of the Washington Redskins felt so hopeless.
After being persuaded four years ago that the organization had matured past its baffling old ways, the Redskins are right back where they started: floating in the belly of embarrassment.
One offseason probably isn't enough, but laying down the team's new foundation has to begin somewhere.
Check out this short stack on the Redskins' offseason must-do list.
Salary information courtesy of Spotrac.com.
Despite sounding extremely cliche, the recipe for success in the NFL starts at the top. And the ingredients don't change for the Washington Redskins.
Bruce Allen's job alongside team owner Dan Snyder appears to be the second-most secure behind only the guy paying the players' salaries. But don't let his actual job title fool you, Allen isn't the general manager as it pertains to football personnel.
That's not to say Allen isn't good at his job—although most fans probably aren't too sure what that is. It's just that Allen is more of a businessman than a football brain.
To get this team on track, the Redskins need a general manager with control over the coaches, staff and players.
With bridges seemingly burned and relationships reportedly not reparable in Washington, Mike Shanahan would figure to be on his way out, thus vacating the Redskins' head coaching position.
Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is an intriguing name—probably not the Gruden you had in mind—and a guy to add to the upcoming coaching carousel and rumor mill.
Again, the most important part of the new head coaching situation is that he's hired by the hopefully competent general manager.
Of course, Dan Snyder has his say in who he prefers, but this ultimately comes down to winning.
As long as Bruce Allen and Mr. New GM can agree that Mr. New Coach can lead the Redskins to the promised land, make the call, garner the support of the fans—yet again, because we're all silly and gullible—and get the ball rolling.
If the head coach is running things on the field, let him assemble his own staff.
We're still unsure what that whole Jim Zorn-is-the-offensive-coordinator-oh-no-wait-sike-he's-the-head-coach thing was. But whatever it was, no more of that.
And you know what can help an organization avoid such an inexcusable blunder? An adequate front office, with an intelligent general manager.
This franchise has gone all in on Robert Griffin III, making his protection and surrounding pieces the most important hedge bet the Redskins can make.
That starts with the offensive line.
The Redskins have been terrible up front this season, and aside from left tackle Trent Williams, Washington wouldn't miss any of the remaining four starters if it were somehow able to execute a complete overhaul of the front trench.
Working by way of both free agency and April's upcoming draft, the Redskins need new offensive linemen—most notably at right tackle and guard, keeping in mind that current left guard Kory Lichtensteiger may be better at center.
Veteran corner DeAngelo Hall took less money last season in order to stay with the team, further proving the Chesapeake, VA native's desire to play for his childhood team.
Although 2013 hasn't worked out the way we all would've liked, Hall has turned in one of his best seasons as a pro, consistently locking down the opposition's best receiving threat, snagging three interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, forcing three fumbles and taking one to the house for a score through 13 games.
Regardless of what the market may be for Hall's services this offseason, the Redskins would appear to have a leg up given the veteran's hometown loyalty.
They need his presence in the secondary and he's a guy that should be willing to negotiate a fair deal for both parties.
Whether that means addressing the position by way of draft or free agency, the team could certainly afford to add some speed as well as keep its eyes open for a potential No. 1 receiver.
Above is a picture of Brandon Coleman, the 6'6", 220-pound Rutgers senior wideout and Maryland native. Mentioning guys like Coleman is fun, but closer to unrealistic for a team without a first-round pick come April.
Turning to free agency, quick receivers due to hit the market like Andrew Hawkins, Julian Edelman and Emmanuel Sanders could generate some interest.
Again, it doesn't necessarily matter where the Redskins find additional wide receiver talent. They just need to find it somewhere. Garcon and soon-to-be sophomore tight end Jordan Reed can't do it all.
With linebacker being one of the Redskins' most suspect positions heading into next season, re-signing inside linebacker and 2010 draft choice Perry Riley should be a team priority.
Riley has been good at times, but not necessarily as consistent as anticipated in, say, his sophomore season. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Riley has received below-average grades in rush defense, pass coverage and overall performance.
Working in the Redskins' favor come negotiation time will be Riley's history with the team, albeit with a specific staff. Also, given his performance, Riley—who will turn 26 in May—will likely net a fair deal that works well for both sides.
Adam Carriker came into his own when he joined the Redskins in 2010. But after tearing his quad last year and missing most of the last two seasons, Carriker's $6.8 million salary next season is cause for concern.
When he's healthy, Carriker is a key cog for the Redskins defense, which has struggled mightily this season due to a number of factors—including an ineffective front seven.
But if the quad injury is an aggravating one, Carriker's $6.8 million salary over each of the next two seasons is entirely too much for the Redskins to bear, given the amount of holes they need to fill throughout the entire roster.
Assuming good fortune and ideal scenarios take place, perhaps Carriker receives a clean bill of health and is willing to renegotiate his current deal to reflect that of a large man coming off a major muscle tear.
Stephen Bowen was a key free-agent acquisition in 2011, joining the Redskins as a defensive end in their new 3-4 scheme and playing a significant role over the next two seasons.
But for most of this year, Bowen appeared average, looking nothing close to what we saw from him in 2012.
Then, earlier this month, Bowen underwent microfracture surgery, which not only comes with a six-month recovery time, but also a difficult healing process for any athlete.
Stephen Bowen needed micro fracture surgery last night. 6 months recovery— John Keim (@john_keim) December 4, 2013
Bowen will turn 30 in March and count for over $7 million against the salary cap next season, neither of which serves as a factor working in Bowen's favor when it comes to staying with the team past this year.
For the love of mankind, please find a punter.
The Redskins' special teams unit clearly has more problems than just current punter Sav Rocca, but once Keith Burns is relieved of his duties—fingers crossed—Rocca should be the next guy to go and the Redskins' new special teams coordinator will need to find a new leg.
Above is a picture of Memphis senior punter and 2014 Ray Guy finalist Tom Hornsey.
No one is pushing for the Redskins to pull a Gene Smith and draft a punter in the third round—or at all. However, the team needs a consistent booter of the football to serve as one of the studs in the team's (hopeful) attempt to rebuild the special teams.