Charlie Don't Surf

Friday, February 08, 2008

On Dan Snyder and the Redskins

To Matt Clark and Pete Walby, Feb. 8, 2008

I'm no Danny-defender. I think Dan Snyder has often been a harmful meddler, not on the order of Jerry Jones, but bad. However I think in fairness to him, he laid off the team while Gibbs was coach -- and by all accounts Gibbs and Snyder had a good working relationship.

Snyder mistreated Norv Turner -- Norv should never have been fired midseason. That one's on Danny. That looked ridiculous, coming on top of the postgame keelhauling that Snyder put Turner through earlier in the year -- never embarrass your coach like that, idiot. Norv deserved better; the previous year he had won the NFC East and won a playoff game. I will note that a whole chorus of Post columnists cheered the midseason firing when it happened. Then the team lost their last three games under Terry Robiskie.

Marty Schottenheimer -- should never have been hired. Bad decision. The waiving of Larry Centers, the way Marty treated Darrell Green, the utter boredom of his offense.. Regardless of their late-season defensive heroics that year, Schottenheimer was a horrible fit with the Redskins, a crapass, unimaginative coach in my view, and I was pleased he was fired. If it takes a meddling boy-owner to understand that and to reverse the mistake, hurray for meddling boy owners. My $.02.

Steve Spurrier -- was an interesting idea that did not work. He was completely out of his depth. The Redskins did not go 5-11 twice under Steve Spurrier because they had a meddling boy owner. They went 5-11 because Spurrier did not belong in the NFL. For the record, Spurrier was not fired, and the entire Redskins front office reportedly was stunned the day he quit. Like everybody, I was rooting for the Spurrier project to work -- he seemed like another creative pass-happy offensive genius -- but his teams got their asses kicked, he started guys like Danny Wuerffel at QB, and his rookie O/D coordinators Hue Jackson and George Edwards were inexperienced and clearly overwhelmed. Poor decision-making by a college coach lacking big-league seasoning.

Would Spurrier tell you that he left because of Snyder? Snyder certainly gave Spurrier every free agent he asked for. Some owners are tightwads, like Bill Bidwill, and their rosters wither on the vine -- say what you want about Danny, he ain't a tightwad with the team payroll.

Snyder then pursued Joe Gibbs single-mindedly, which a lot of Redskins fans were pleased to see, including me. It was not a foregone conclusion by any means that Gibbs would return to the team, but Snyder made it happen through force of will. Snyder then allowed Gibbs to hire every 70+ year-old assistant coach he wanted, certainly did not meddle there, and opened his wallet for Saunders and Gregg Williams at Gibbs' request, and made his plane available for every free-agent signing Gibbs asked for, often flying out with Joe to meet with players. I think history will look upon Snyder's performance with Gibbs kindly.

So, there's the record with coaches. Now, of course, after Gibbs left the place began to look chaotic, and people are piling on Snyder again. My surmisal about the episode with Williams is that he must have had a poor relationship with Snyder -- who knows why. If we lost the chance to have Gregg Williams because Snyder and Cerrato had awful judgment, or because Williams did not kiss Snyder's butt enough, then I will look upon them with the same disdain as you both...

The fact that Vinnie Cerrato rose to such heights with the team, and that the Redskins have nothing that resembles a proper GM, does not speak well for Snyder. I have never understood Snyder's fascination with Vinnie, I wish their front office looked more like a traditional NFL club -- though not all NFL teams have a traditional GM, and some have prospered without them. I will note that Cerrato came to the Skins from -- that's right --

...the 49ers.


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