Allen laughed heartily and answered: “No time soon.”
Allen spent 30 minutes in a rare session with the team’s beat writers Thursday and, as usual, didn’t reveal much. He wouldn’t discuss the team’s plans for McNabb or Haynesworth, wouldn’t talk about how the impending lockout might affect the team’s offseason plans. He instead offered gems such as: “I can’t tell you how happy I am with the attitude of the football team.”
Despite his title, Allen isn’t the person in charge of player personnel matters at Redskins Park. That authority belongs to coach Mike Shanahan, who also holds the title of executive vice president. Allen comes across more as an ambassador-at-large, a connection to the team’s glory days that began when his father, George Allen, was coach in the 1970s.
Allen watched from afar over the last two decades as the Redskins became known more for ridicule than for winning. He and Shanahan were supposed to reverse that trend and bring a new professionalism and respect to the franchise.
So far, not so good. The Redskins finished 6-10 and bore the brunt of nationwide embarrassment in disputes with Haynesworth and McNabb, their two highest-profile players. Allen and the front office looked especially behind the curve during 24 hours of confusion that followed the signing of a new contract by McNabb in November, leading again to the impression that the Redskins still don’t have their act together.
“We have new coaches. … When you put a new scheme in an offense and a defense, everyone’s got to learn to grow together,” Allen said. “It’s not corny to call it a family that’s got to learn to live with a new roommate, and that’s what we’re doing now. We’re making those steps toward the Redskins being a better team.”
The Redskins sent two draft picks to Philadelphia in April for McNabb, but the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback was a disappointment and was benched with three games to go in the regular season, setting off a flurry of tit-for-tat public exchanges involving McNabb, McNabb’s agent, Shanahan and Shanahan’s son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
“When we made the decision to trade for Donovan, based on what we knew and what we were looking at, it was the right decision,” Allen said. “How we perform in the future will determine (if it was). No one’s goal was to win six games.”
“We were hopeful that he was going to help the team win,” Allen said, “and we remain hopeful that he can help the team win.”
By Elaine Donnelly
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