A Brief History of a Franchise in Despair

Credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta


By: Brianne Dempsey


Recently I was asked to write an article, or possibly a series due to the wealth of material, on the frustrations and mismanagement of the Redskins over the past few decades at the hands of Daniel Snyder. As any loyal Skins fan knows, the glory days are long behind us. Under Daniel Snyder’s 15 year tenure, the Redskins have only made the playoffs four times with a .500 record. Nothing to write home about.

Snyder has the reputation of being a very hands-on owner, involving himself in much of the day-to-day operations. While I respect his enthusiasm for our organization, especially him being such a fan himself, it hasn’t worked. But of course, we all know that too well. Snyder has shown himself to like flashy deals and big name players (who happen to be well past their prime when he signs them). While many deals have left us scratching our heads, there have been two that I feel have altered our franchise in ways we didn’t think were possible.

The signing of Albert Haynesworth is still one of the largest NFL contracts in history – $100 million. While Haynesworth was a dominant player in Tennessee, his dominance was not always in positive ways. I’ll never forget the kick to Dallas’ Gurode’s head that landed him a five game suspension. I didn’t really agree with the signing – he wasn’t the type of player I wanted in the locker room. We needed discipline and leadership – neither of which Haynesworth could provide. Though he had been able to control the line of scrimmage as a Titan, he turned out to be a lazy, unmotivated locker room cancer who was just here to collect a paycheck. But this mishap was during the Vinny Cerrato era. A lot of these ridiculous signings were.

Redskins fans were given a glimmer of hope when it seemed Snyder wised up and canned Cerrato. Maybe he was finally realizing fantasy football should be left to the online forums, not a real NFL franchise. He seemed to be giving control to Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan and letting Shanahan build the team he needed and letting Bruce handle the finances.

The honeymoon didn’t last long. Remember how I said there were two deals I feel have set us back? Here’s where that second one came in.

In 2012, the rookie quarterback class was something unlike we had ever seen. There was a ton of top talent to be had. The Redskins, who have been desperate for a franchise quarterback for decades, (because let’s be honest, none of our Super Bowl champion quarterbacks were franchise guys), decided that top ten talent was not enough. So they sold the farm and gave up three first round draft picks to get the second overall pick. This got us Robert Griffin III. At the time, while it seemed a little much, fans mostly embraced the deal. RG3 was the Heisman winning all start out of Baylor whose athletic ability almost seemed unnatural.

But we know how that turned out. Hindsight being 20/20 if the Skins had kept their draft picks, who knows if we would have still took Cousins in the 4th round that year. Personally, I think that is where the divide between Shanahan and Snyder really began to split wide open. Taking a back up quarterback was smart – but taking a guy that high showed me Shanahan’s lack of confidence in RG3 from the beginning.
The following years have been nothing short of a circus, hiring, firings, trades and cringe worthy media interviews. That is, until this year.

I wrote an article a few months ago contemplating who would be the savior of the Redskins. Scot McCloughan is really starting to look like that guy. He seems to have been able to back Snyder off, he gave Gruden the support he needed to bench RG3 in favor of Kirk Cousins, and he’s signed some young, free agent talent who overall have been here to keep their mouths shut and play.

We’ve seen this before, and unfortunately, it’s all a matter of how long will it last? The Skins have a shot at the playoffs this year. Will that keep Snyder at bay for another season? Or if the wheels come off will he slide right back on in?

Maybe – just maybe – if Snyder continues to let his staff do what he pays them for, success may finally come our away. And just maybe I’ll forgive him for my $14 hot chocolate the last time I went to a home game.



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