Enthusiasm: Curbed


Today, hope arrives in Ashburn. Yet again. Welcome Scot McCloughan.

This time, in the form of a former general manager with a severe drinking problem.

Oh, sorry. That was mean, right?

Let me try it again. He’s a personnel dynamo (according to NFL “experts”) and his drinking problem is serious, but not severe. I mean, even he admits he still drinks a beer every now and then.

He says he didn’t drink during his first 13 months with the Seahawks and even served as a designated driver for other scouts. But he was lonely. He lived alone in an apartment in downtown Bellevue, and, scarred by his divorce, he didn’t date. “I’d think to myself, ‘OK, Scot, why not have a beer? It never affected your life before; you went from being an area scout to being general manager. Don’t touch the vodka, don’t touch the hard stuff. But if you want to have a beer, have a beer.’ So that’s where I got to. I stopped going to AA.”

That’s what he says he will tell NFL teams if they come calling now. He knows he sounds as if he’s splitting hairs about the distinction between beer and hard liquor, and he’s aware of the fact that conventional wisdom says recovery is an all-or-nothing proposition — even if some evidence suggests most heavy drinkers, which McCloughan says he’s not, are functional. “If I was an alcoholic and had a beer, I’d have two, then four, then six, then … you know, you can’t stop,” he insists. “I can. I can have a beer and I’m fine. I don’t need any more.”

It’s a distinction that, in the end, didn’t work for the Seahawks. McCloughan resigned shortly before this year’s draft. Neither side will discuss the specifics publicly, but Schneider says: “Everybody had to be held to the same standard, and because he’s one of my closest friends I couldn’t let him get away with things that others couldn’t get away with.”

Yes, he has a nice pedigree of association. The Niners and Seahawks (his last two teams) have an easily list-able bounty of players that McCloughan can claim he “had a hand” in drafting. Of course any serious NFL fan knows that multiple voices always enter into any draft decision. So it’s a bit silly to give him credit for every good player, not even knowing if he might have been luke-warm on some of them, only to be over-ruled by a coach or owner.

But hey, it’s a start for the Redskins under Bruce Allen’s now 6th year with the team. And I am happy.

And that’s honestly where I prefer to leave the analysis on this move. I don’t have any real appetite for further cheerleading or “breakdown-ing” of what should be a “Duly Noted” type of story.

I truly did not want to spend the better part of 3 days this week talking about, and leading my afternoon show with Scot McCloughan talk, but … sigh.. there we were. Our show leader Al Galdi insisted that it was “all people really cared about” in Redskinland, and he may be right.

I just had no appetite for it.

I just don’t like having to be part of the Redskins’ hype machine. To be clear: there was no mandate or even suggestion from above that we talk about this guy all week. None. Even though we are on a station owned by the team. I just felt the proper treatment would have been to say: “Okay, pal. Welcome. We won’t start to even grade you until after at least 1 draft and 1 free agency period. Because what you did in other organizations, with other coaches, and other quarterbacks… well… doesn’t really matter.”

Not to me at least. I’m in a “show me something first” mode with this team. I’m tired of chasing sticks off the porch like an easily fooled dog.

Yes, the Redskins need significantly better talent all around. Yes, they should hire the best and brightest person they can find. Yes, this is WAY better than just letting Bruce “Director of Pants and Picnics” Allen keep thinking he’s got an eye for football talent, when his true talents are schmoozing, business, and contract negotiations.

But let’s also be real: just about every team in the league has a “real GM” (I’m looking at you… Jerrah!) And many of them carry impressive resumes of places they once crunched college game film, that produced a nice handful or two of Pro Bowlers.

I remember when the Browns hired Mike Holmgren to be “Team President.” Oohhhh! Great move, the pundits cooed! I remember when the Chiefs snagging Belichick right-hand-man Scott Pioli was considered a coup. I remember when Bill Parcells was brought in to run the Miami Dolphins.

None of those men delivered any personnel magic in those places.

McCloughan will not only have to spend the better part of 2015 un-doing all of the wrong decisions made before him, but he’s going to have to start winning some battles with Bruce and Dan.

Deciding the fate of #10 might be the first big one. Good luck on that, Scot.

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Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.


  1. why you call out Jerrah like that?
    Seems to me the cowboys are looking pretty good right now and with that O line and Dezz and Tony locked up they look to be good for quite some time.

  2. I personally think this is a great hire by the Redskins. I’m a Packer fan, so that’s not looking at it through burgundy and gold colored glasses. It reminds me of the Cubs hiring Theo Epstein, he came into a mess, took a couple years, and now the team is looking legit. I think Scot will do the same thing in D.C.. As you said, a lot of people have a voice in the draft room, but you have to look at the common denominator, and for Seattle and S.F., he was it.

    As far as the drinking thing, he may say he’s not an alcoholic, but his red face is betraying him. If I’m a Redskin fan I don’t care how much he drinks as long as he gets the job done. I drink more than I should (like I said, Packer fan) but I’m pretty damn good at my job and in a cutthroat business like the NFL that’s all that matters.

    Now to go off subject. With you being the tech “diva” you come across as, I find it absolutely appalling that when I want to comment on one of your blog posts I have to scroll back up to the top of the story to do so……

    Take care and keep up the good work.


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