As I’ve written multiple times before, I have always been incredibly skeptical of Bruce Allen’s hiring. I distrust any person who earns a job based on who their father was — and considering how crazy that family tree is, I tend to think the nepotism is even more indefensible. But after the absurdity that was the Donovan McNabb contract, I think this experiment needs to be pulled IMMEDIATELY.
The general narrative that emerged after the much maligned Vinny Cerrato was fired went something like this: “With the hiring of Bruce Allen, the Redskins will finally have a proven winner and someone that won’t be a rubber stamp for what the owner wants”. Well, the first point is questionable, the second laughable.
Here are Bruce Allen’s draft picks from his only other general manager job, Tampa Bay:
- Michael Clayton,2004 – Out of football
- Carnell Williams, 2005 – presently #2 on the depth chart
- Davin Joseph, 2006 – Average guard. Not bad, but hardly a game-changer.
- Gaines Adams, 2007 – Dead. I guess that’s not really Allen’s fault, but he was a bust nearly as soon as he stepped out onto the field.
- Aqib Talib, 2008 – Starter, showing some promise.
Two are out of football, one is a backup and the other two are uninspiring starters. Not really what I’d call a proven track record, would you? Just for fun, let’s have a look at Cerrato’s picks in the same time span.
- Sean Taylor, 2004 – Sadly dead — but was a burgeoning star before he was killed.
- Carlos Rogers, 2005 – Not deserving of being a 1st round pick, but he is a starter and marginally useful.
- Jason Campbell, 2005 – No longer with the team, but could be rejuvenating his career in Oakland. Has some value.
- NA, 2006 – No first-round draft pick
- LaRon Landry, 2007 – Budding star and one of the best hitters at his position.
- NA, 2008 – No first-round draft pick
Anything stand out to you (besides the fact that both somehow managed to draft players that died prematurely?) In the same time period, with one fewer draft pick, Cerrato was actually able to get more mileage out of his selections. Taylor was already a pro-bowler before his life was cut short, and Landry is well on his way. The only legitimate bust on this list is Campbell, and even he is of some value. Now this isn’t a defense of Cerrato, as I think he was unbelievably out-matched, but it does underscore the uselessness of Allen.
But what of that second crucial part of the equation? How he’d be ultimately in charge of football decisions and be a counterbalance to ownership? Well, not quite. Have a look over at his wikipedia page:
“He has the final say in football matters, but Shanahan and Allen will split general manager duties”.
Wait, what?!?! Shanahan?!?! Shanahan’s record was as spotty as anyone’s in a gm capacity — even wasting a third round pick on Maurice “breaking and entering” Clarett! How can a long suffering fan base be excited for this?
I personally tolerated all of this until the McNabb situation was finally revealed. Typically when a team trades for an aging star, the first thing that is done is to sign a contract extension. In that period before training camp, there is a lot of down time which is perfect to get these deals completed. By waiting until after camp, the deal hangs on the heads of players, often causing unneeded distractions. Seemingly oblivious to this, contract talks didn’t start up in earnest until after last week’s benching.
While much ink has been spent discussing the poor timing of the deal (right before their destruction on Monday night — which a certain someone correctly predicted), as well as Dan Snyder directly slapping Shanahan’s face for extending McNabb despite the coach’s reservations — not enough is being written on the ass-backwardness of this deal. Where was Allen during these past 6 months? Why wasn’t a deal worked out before it became an issue? Why didn’t he fight Snyder about the timing of the announcement? Or what if he did and was simply ignored? Regardless, this suggests either incompetence, ineffectiveness or both.
Generally I am in favor of giving new regimes time to implement their plan — but Allen is clearly not up for the job. Someone in his position doesn’t have to be perfect, but he at least has to be an effective talent evaluator or knows to surround himself with the correct people. While it’s early, Allen has done neither and nothing in his history suggests he will.
Snyder needs a Bill Parcells or Mike Holmgren — someone who’s credentials are above reproach and whom he’d be afraid to disagree with. I sincerely think that’s what Snyder thought he was getting when he hired Allen, as surely he must recognize his fandom is hurting his team. But until Allen is replaced, the Cerrato years will start to be remembered fondly.