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This fix should be in: Go out and find a GM
Question of the Day
The Gibbs and Snyder press conference revealed what perhaps is the working philosophy of the organization at this point — a franchise mantra, if you will, worth printing on T-shirts and bumper stickers to put more money in the owner’s pocket.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Say it loud and say it proud.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Snyder’s answer was a version of another cliche for excellence: “Don’t mess with success.”
Maybe it just came out wrong.
Maybe Snyder meant to say, “If I ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Those words could come back to haunt Snyder. They could, in the end, define him.
The phrase’s origination didn’t exactly come from a bastion of excellence. It is credited to Bert Lance, Jimmy Carter’s director of the Office of Management and Budget. Lance was forced to resign because of a corruption scandal dating back to his days as the chairman of the board of Calhoun National Bank in Georgia.
Later, country-western singer Jerry Reed wrote a song called, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Now the phrase is Dan Snyder’s to own.
Really, consider the implications of what he said. Snyder believes the way the front office runs works despite the evidence to the contrary. He couldn’t have this same attitude about his other business ventures. Then again, he’s probably not putting together the menu for Johnny Rockets or out there buying rides for Six Flags.
But Snyder does put the menu together for the Washington Redskins. He does buy the rides for this franchise. And his record — his football record — might be better served if he follows the plan set out by author Robert Kriegel in his book “If it Ain’t Broke … Break It!: And Other Unconventional Wisdom for a Changing Business World.” According to promotional materials, the book shows “how and why the thinking of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is unproductive in today’s fast-paced business world.”
The critics charge that he is an ego-driven, meddling owner. The supporters point to his willingness to spend money for the team and to his desire to win. But there is a consensus, for the most part, about one thing: The front office is broken, and the fix lies in hiring a general manager.
The irony is that, given Snyder’s resources and his generosity with the payroll, the Redskins could attract some of the best, if not the best, talent evaluators in the NFL — if he were willing to admit the system he developed is broken.
Maybe he has learned from his four years with Gibbs.
In a rarity, the Redskins still own most of their picks in the upcoming draft. Perhaps the success of young, homegrown players like LaRon Landry, Reed Doughty, Rocky McIntosh and free agent rookie Stephon Heyer has convinced Snyder that free agency should serve only as a complementary element in building a team, not as the foundation for it.
What Snyder does this offseason will go a long way toward determining whether he quietly came to the conclusion that his system was broken and began being fixed this past season. But even if there is a change in team-building philosophy, the same decision makers who have made this franchise dysfunctional still are making the personnel decisions.
It won’t fix what is broken inside the Washington Redskins organization.
By John McAfee
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