The Washington Redskins' Lack of Fundamentals Starts with Daniel Snyder
The Washington Redskins will not have a successful season in 2009-10.
(This is the point where 65-percent of the audience has either cursed me or closed the article. For the remaining 35-percent, I will enlighten you as to why the Redskins will be laughable, again).
We can sit here and do all the analysis on every position that we want. We can exhaust ourselves—as we do year after year, offseason after offseason—looking at the draft choices, looking at the free agent signings, and studying the position battles.
We can find reasons as to why this season will be different from the previous decade-plus of failure under the current Daniel Snyder regime.
We can find glimmers of hope as to why Jason Campbell will become a Pro Bowler, how the two rookie duds of wide receivers from last year will suddenly combine with Santana Moss and Antawn Randle El to become a quartet of options like the NFL has rarely seen, and how the defense will put fear into opponents from kickoff to the final whistle.
And then the first game of the season will come, and it will go.
So too will the first four games, then the next four, and then the next four.
Winter will come, and by that time the Redskins will either be out of the playoff hunt, or sitting in the middle of a pack of mediocre teams. Eventually, they will find a way to lose, and we will start the cycle all over again.
Been there, done that, and did it again.
But I have finally had the epiphany that I hope many loyal Redskins fans have—an epiphany that the rest of the nation had maybe five games into the Daniel Snyder era.
If only I had known back then what I know now I wouldn't have eaten so much consoling food on Sunday evenings as I cried myself to sleep, and my blood pressure would be 30 points lower.
You cannot win in this league without basic fundamentals, and that starts at the top. Winning is a culture. It is why teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles are in the hunt every year.
(I realize that the Eagles haven't won the Super Bowl, but be realistic, Skins fans would kill for that kind of success as opposed to what they've had since 1991).
The reason those teams win is because they have owners who understand the importance of structure. They understand when to step in, and when to watch from a distance and let the team operate the way it was meant to.
Do you want to know why Google is successful and Dogpile.com isn't? They originally started doing the same thing, had the same computer geeks writing the same programs. But one developed a culture and structure of exceeding the norm while the other didn't.
The difference was billions of dollars and champagne on a yacht, as opposed to, well, mastering the Legend of Zelda, or whatever those other guys are doing.
When you teach your child to ride a bike, you set them up for success and then you let them go. You don't hold their hand constantly, or give them excessive pointers. Sure, there are bumps and bruises in the beginning, but if you set them up for success, they will succeed—or at least get close.
The lack of a general manager is not only a sign of stubbornness from Snyder (as everyone has suggested he hire one), but a clear sign of his personality.
He is a dominant ego maniac, who wants to build this team and win by his rules. He's the idiot you see struggling for five minutes to open a bottle with his car key, and pushes you away when you offer him a bottle opener.
That's why you'll never see the likes of a Bill Parcells or a Bill Polian in D.C. What self respecting general manager would want to deal with a snotty child with lots of cash?
The reason that the lack of a general manager hurts the team isn't just because of the moronic roster decisions that have been made. It's because all the players know that the guy in charge isn't Jim Zorn, and it's not Vinny Cerrato—it's the guy who signs the checks.
There is a basis for Clinton Portis mouthing off the way he did about Zorn last season. He knew, as did everyone else, that Snyder loved him more than he would ever love Zorn. Did Portis get in trouble? Of course not!
You can't expect a coach to be a leader if he isn't the leader.
There are some who will argue that Al Davis managed to win (before he went completely senile), and that Jerry Jones has had success (though none before Jimmy Johnson put together a dynasty)—but in both of those cases, Davis and Jones had some abstract knowledge of how to build a team.
At least they understood the value of offensive and defensive lines.
Snyder is still struggling to understand the simple concept that everyone who has ever watched football knows: The game is won, and lost, in the trenches.
Obviously there is a lack of fundamental knowledge of the game which is leading to the Redskins trading away draft picks year after year, or wasting them on position players instead of linemen.
Think about this: is there any other team in the league that would draft a tight end in the first three rounds when they already have a fan-favorite pro bowl tight end, with a long term contract, on the roster?
I could go on and on about the poor decisions and the reasons why the Redskins won't achieve any sort of success outside of maybe a 9-7 season, at best. But to be short and concise, the simple and accurate answer is Daniel Snyder.
He hinders this team...he hurts this team...he is the biggest reason for its failed seasons. Until he understands his shortcomings, this team will never experience the kind of success that the diehard fans of Washington want, and deserve.
So do what you have to do to cope with utter stupidity and mediocrity. Continue to read and analyze the players and the coaches and the strategies. I've done that for years, but I won't be doing that anymore.
Here's to the 2009-10 season.
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