News & Politics

Redskins Study Calls for “New Way Forward”

Following the disastrous 2006 season, a pair of Redskins veterans, Sam Baker and Steve Hamilton, were chosen to study how the team went from a premier winning franchise into a quagmire of losses. What follows is a portion of their report.

The situation at Redskins Park is grave and deteriorating. There is no path that can guarantee success, but the prospects can be improved.

The challenges at FedEx Field are complex. Fan anger is increasing in scope and lethality. It is fed by a poor turnover ratio, failures to penetrate the red zone, and crucial breakdowns at critical times.

The Redskins have legitimately authorized leadership yet are not providing essential services. Pessimism is pervasive.

If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences could be severe. A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse of the Redskins for many seasons to come. Giant/Cowboy/Eagle victories could spread. The Ravens could win a propaganda victory and expand their base of operations.

During the past nine months we have considered a range of approaches for moving forward. All have flaws. Our recommended course has shortcomings, but we firmly believe it includes the best tactics to positively influence the outcome in a majority of Redskins games, which Daniel Snyder does not seem to be able to influence on his own.

Chief among our recommendations is that Snyder immediately launch an offensive to bring all parties with an interest in the Redskins to the negotiating table. Given the ability of Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen to influence events, the Redskins should try to engage them constructively. We urge that Brian MitchellJohn Riggins, and Michael Wilbon also be brought in.

We also conclude that the Redskins cannot move without a solution to the larger Native American question, which continues to hover over the team. All tribes must be brought into the negotiations as long as they accept the Redskins’ right to exist.

Miracles cannot be expected, but people have the right to expect action and progress.

The Snyder administration needs to show its fans that it deserves continued support. Personnel decisions should not be carried out in isolation. The bifurcation of offense between coaches Joe Gibbs and Al Saunders must be resolved.

Draft choices of recent years such as that of Carlos Rogers and free-agent signings such as that of Adam Archuleta should be sent to a special panel of former Redskins for evaluation before action is taken.

The situation in Land over is dire. Mark Brunell has been removed from power. There is great suffering, and the daily lives of many Redskins fans show little or no improvement.

The question remains whether Jason Campbell is the long-term solution to the crisis. Yet discussion of finding a new quarterback fuels intrigue and could serve only to divide the team further into autonomous regions. Make no mistake—we support the troops in the field. Santana MossRandall El, and Brandon Lloyd are good receivers. Clinton PortisChris Cooley, and Ladell Betts are excellent offensive weapons, and the offensive line has proven it can play.

On the international front, the Redskins need a consistent and established European kicker. Too many games are being lost by not making critical field goals.

Staying the course is not an option. Nor does it seem that more troops will help. But better deployment, fewer mistakes, taking advantage of turnovers, and sticking to a consistent game plan that utilizes the talent on the field are needed.

We agree with the goal of winning that Snyder has set, but he has changed field generals too many times, and reaching into the past to reclaim old glory seems not to have been effective.

There is a new way forward. Perhaps his name is Brady Quinn. Perhaps it is a vigorous new head coach. More likely, Snyder finally must realize that he knows little about football—he is trying to lead troops into battle without ever having been in battle himself. A combat-tested general manager, with absolute authority, must be brought in to make decisions.

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