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Football is never really about Washington.
Coach Jay Gruden was fired Monday morning after five full seasons of mediocrity and a 0-5 start. He was reportedly summoned to the team headquarters at 5am for maximum "dawn firing" effect after a week of speculation, which surely seemed like a WikiLeaks-style effort to humiliate him on his way out the door.
Team President Bruce Allen held a rare and uninformative press conference Monday after the Gruden shooting. Allen has repeatedly emphasized how difficult all organizations work, from coaches to scouts to senior vice president of the team Doug Williams. (Allen even suggested that the press might look at Williams' "map of time.") He said that team culture is "really damn good" and stressed that everyone in Washington cares about winning, including himself.
"Parts here for the winning team," Allen told reporters . "We need to put them in the right place and believe in each other and continue to fight for our purpose."
In truth, there are no plots here: Interim head coach Bill Callahan takes on an unsuccessful team with inflated wages and limited talent. Belief in one another and purposeful thinking in Washington is always lacking. Still, Allen should try to reassure fans that the organization cares about winning because Allen (who meets Jafar with Aladdin but without charisma) is working on a franchise for owner Daniel Snyder, winning the field always seems like is secondary to victory in the last internal power struggle.
The Red Skins are an eternal machine of institutionalized dysfunction, a self-sufficient source of front-office machinations and intrigue in the back corners that also, almost accidentally, creates football. as an entertaining product every fall.
The cycle has been in motion since 1999, when Snyder acquired the team and launched an entire generation of unmanaged controls, give or make some brief eras of clarity. But with the Gruden firing and the surrounding shenanigans, the Skins finally went down.
Over the weekend, Gruden's job is in critical condition, rebellious and quasi-incriminating videos that seem to demonstrate that a non-working coach is caroling. social media. The timing was suspicious, and although the video cannot be linked to the organization, Washington has a long history of strategic leakage to discourage out-of-court employees. (See: Sad, Controversial End of Scott McClogan's General Manager.)
Before the video with Smokin Jay made the rounds, Gruden reportedly backtracked on a bad-man recruit for Duane Haskins. The NFL's action against the Giants, but not too bad, is that a coach or organization should seek to orphan it six months after preparing for it.
Although Allen repeatedly said Monday that the organization is "in awe" of Haskins and believes he has a "bright future", he left the original decision of Callahan's apostates, and the entire organization has been surprisingly ambivalent about Haskins since he was drafted. . (Allen also said that "everyone signed up" for Haskins' choice, which is different from what he actually approves of the decision.
Nick Wass / Associated Press
– manufacturers, fighting for apostates – is what the Skins front office did during the bugs It was the organization that transformed Donovan McNabb's trade in 2010 into a moral play of morality, turned Robert Griffin III's career into a Greek tragedy, and spent three years and tens of millions of dollars on the Kirk Cousins mediation price.  As Haskins, none of the blows mattered, except the pawns in the battle for organizational control.
Allen and Mike Shanahan fought McNabb and then Griffin in the grinding war of exhaustion, which Allen eventually won. Then Snyder fell in love with the brilliant, restless McClogan; Allen won this power struggle as well. By December of last year, Allen had even conquered potential competitors in the business department of the team.
Little actions by Gruden for civil disobedience – Colt McCoy's start on Sunday was either a protest or a cry for help – were now sorted out. The team may stink, but Allen is the undefeated Dolphin of 1972 in the shenanigans.
For most sagas Game of Thrones Washington remained competitive on the field. McClogan's drafts helped. Staff from the Gruden Crackers, including Callahan, Sean McVeigh and Matt Laffler, also assisted. Snyder's willingness to spend big money helped: NFL teams can't buy championships, but money can keep a team around .500.
But all smart decision-makers have either moved or been cleared, leaving Snyder and Allen to rule a smoldering empire with issues that go far beyond this season:
- Alex Smith Quartak, who still wanders after , as one of the worst injuries in NFL history last year, will cost the team a $ 21 million cap next year. Contractual warranties make it more expensive to cut than to hold. Nobody tried Smith with some guaranteed test after he passed, but his contract was a massive miscalculation of Allen when he desperately solved Kirk Cousins' annual fiscal dilemma.
- Left handles the issue of Trent Williams, the best salary player, refuses to play for the team because of a dispute with medical personnel. Allen said he did not plan to trade Williams in any other way on Monday; Disgruntled players, as rivals from the front offices, are seen in Washington as the enemy of the enemy.
- Cornerback Josh Norman, who was last used by Julian Edelman for a heat on Sunday, is eating $ 14 million this year and is scheduled to be raised. another $ 15 million next year. Norman was signed on what seemed like Allen's commitment in 2016, just as Landon Collins was signed six years and $ 84 million this offseason, despite team capital issues and more pressing needs in other positions.
- Washington has a total cap of $ 161 million, already designated for 2020, for OverTheCap, Inc., for the most part, for players who are unlikely to be able to play a single moment (Smith, Williams) or veterans, who have no place in the rebuilding team (Norman, Vernon Davis, Jordan Reid, etc.)
Washington could reduce or trade many expensive veterans and rebuild around Haskins, but A) no one in the organization demonstrated the inclination / vision / patience to start rapid adjustment; B) cutting veterans would leave a team with an expansion caliber of expansion; and C) you will not be able to rebuild around Haskins unless it is clear who in the organization would like to rebuild Haskins.
In addition, the fragile optics surrounding the Gruden firing are likely to deter any prospect of a head coach who is not & # 39; t wasn't scared by many other team issues.
The Dolphins' loss next week and, ultimately, securing the first overall pick will solve nothing. Griffin's experience reminds us that Washington is the most plausible organization in the NFL that can't miss the prospect.
Mark Tenali / Associated Press
Washington is horrible in a way that won't allow it to become different, but horrible. It is unlikely to attract anyone who can bring fresh ideas or energy to the organization, and if a true innovator arrives, it will certainly provoke a power struggle. Any better prospect or protection of the future within the organization will then be captured in the struggle for power that can destroy it. In the meantime, Snyder will drink wine, watch Imax movies on his yacht and wonder why so few people buy products with the team name on it.
Skins are not just the worst organization in the NFL, if not in American sports. They are an organization whose decision only makes sense if you think that winning doesn't matter to them. Allen may emphasize hard work and a positive culture, but Skins is less like a football team than a reality show about spoiled millionaires who are paying attention. To achieve nothing in this. The thing is about napping, hair tightening and interpersonal conflict.
By this standard, Skins do great. And when December goes, they will definitely find a way to improve.
Mike Tanyer covers the NFL for Blair's report. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeTanier .