Redskins team President Bruce Allen spoke to the media on Tuesday in a non-one-on-one setting, taking all comers and all questions.
It was 1,483 days in the making.
The last time he did so, was December 31, 2014 at Redskins Park. That event is now known in Redskins lore as the “Winning Off The Field” presser. It went over like a fart in a waiting room.
This time, Allen and the Redskins chose a bit of a sneak attack, letting the handful of reporters from the DC market at the lightly attended Senior Bowl practices, know just the night before that he would be taking questions.
So on a random Tuesday, the half-dozen or so lucky and diligent Redskins beat cops gobbled up the rare access to him by jumping all over each other for the next question.
They did a helluva job hitting all the right notes.
Bruce meanwhile, was like the cake guy on Sesame street falling down a flight of stairs.
Among the whoppers Allen unloaded (either intentionally, or through his own mistaken belief that he’s the smartest guy in the room) was that current d-coordinator Greg Manusky was actually IN on some of the team’s failed attempts to hire better coaches this month.
Wait… what? That would necessarily include a reported desperate meeting with Todd Bowles to presumably take over his own job! Bowles is supposedly a keen defensive mind, but I don’t get the urgency of hiring a guy who was just dumped by the Jets after going 14-34 the last 3 seasons. Anyway….
If true. Allen wouldn’t confirm, but instead clumsily ran out of the room on his own half-thought, by saying “I’m going to leave that part of the profession to itself.”
The biggest takeaway to me, was that we got a clearer picture of what Allen considers success in the NFL.
“Yeah, we were two games out of the playoffs. No matter how you want to look at the season, we were two games out of it. The year before we were one game out of it and the year before (that) we were one game out of it. We have to find the right ingredients to get over that hump. I think with the talent that we’re seeing here today and what’s going to be available in free agency — and getting our players back healthy — (that) bodes well for us.”
Wow. Let’s print the shirts: “5 Games From The SuperBowl!”
And on the back, we can put “And 6 Games From A Championship!”
There’s very few executives in the NFL who can stand there amid a backdrop of such rampant mediocrity, and say that with a straight face. “We’re close” he insisted.
“You’re high….” say fans who actually watch this poorly constructed roster play on Sundays.
Bruce wouldn’t go into detail about why Brian Lafemina’s highly touted marketing team was hired and fired before even having to renew their company issued dental plan. But he did promise fans that the new marketing people are really “engaged with the fan base” and that they will enjoy what they have to offer.
Those offers will almost certainly not include “good football.” Last year’s offers included a new “cheetos stands.” No, really.
No doubt the Redskins are a special kind of f***ed with the horrible injury to Alex Smith. He may never play again, and if so will blow a huge hole in the team’s salary cap on his way to forced retirement.
But a rational fan’s sympathy doesn’t run very deep, because they know this team wasn’t much to begin with even when Alex Smith was healthy. Redskins fans know smoke and mirrors, because that’s all we’ve had for 20 years under Snyder. A more cynical fan would say the Smith injury is a kind of karmic grace note which ends a long parade of sub-par football ideas.
Like a newly diagnosed cancer patient, who was facing a long battle with a terminal illness, suddenly dying of a heart attack in his sleep.
But let’s not pretend there wasn’t ANY good news to come from Bruce’s appearance: at least “MoatEx Field” is officially dead. So there’s that. Allen also said the new stadium was going to be a “lifetime commitment” and that it would last for 50 years.
Pfft. Sure. The current stadium is just 22 years old, and looks like a car on blocks in somebody’s front lawn, with plastic tarps covering un-sellable seats, chain link fences guarding the exposed upper deck girders, and plywood barriers blocking off entire sections.
And while they can’t say for sure newly acquired LB Rueben Foster will play all 16 games this coming season, Allen did craft a politician’s masterpiece in saying “I don’t know why we would expect a suspension” from the league office. Well done. I see what you did there.
Bruce Allen is the current “Hand of the King” to Dan Snyder. And like in Game of Thrones “When the King shits, the hand wipes.” He’s highly skilled at telling the King how great he is, while doing whatever dirty work Snyder himself would rather not bother with.
For this, he reportedly makes $7 million dollars a year.
There were a few questions I wished he was asked, although I understand them to be too aggressive to be considered journalistically fair. But… that said.. here goes.
“Bruce, the last 4 QB’s you have brought in to be starters have all been disasters of one sort or another – McNabb, Beck, RG3 and now Alex. The one good QB you did have, instead chose to run away from this organization as fast as he could. Do you think maybe you should stay out of the room when the team is thinking about drafting the next one?”
“Bruce, when you were sitting in a half-empty stadium in Week 17, watching Eagle fans overwhelm what was left of your fanbase to cheer on a 24-0 drubbing of your team, did you take a moment to think about your father, beloved coach George Allen, and what he would say to you about where you have driven this franchise if he were sitting in the owner’s box next to you?”
“Bruce, you are universally hated by the fanbase, and your record over the last 9 seasons is 59-84-1 which is worse than even Vinny Cerrato’s was, have you ever thought about stepping down for the good of the franchise you claim to love so much?”
I pondered for a moment just what it would take for Bruce Allen to someday turn the corner on his reputation in this city. I tried to add up the winning seasons. I tried to envision the most wonderful new football palace.
I didn’t get there.
Bruce is utterly un-redeemable at this point. And yet, he remains with newly consolidated organizational power, and an endless supply of delusion.
Bruce today, Bruce tomorrow…. Bruce forever.