- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 31, 2013


When Bruce Allen stepped behind the microphone Monday afternoon at Redskins Park, the franchise the newly empowered general manager described and the one that actually exists couldn’t have been more different.

Amid the petty theatrics and windy statements that followed Mike Shanahan’s ouster came the opportunity for wholesale change to the woebegone Redskins.

Instead, they continued the short-sighted thinking that has transformed the franchise into a national punchline.

Come on down, Bruce Allen.

“The power will be with me,” he said.

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Don’t look for a front-office overhaul here. Without a touch of irony, Allen insisted structural changes aren’t needed. In fact, the man now holding the final say over personnel decisions doesn’t believe anything is inherently wrong in an organization that has recorded double-digit losses in seven of the last 11 seasons.

Listen to Allen’s slick words and you’d think this season’s 3-13 disaster was an isolated occurrence, an unpleasant anomaly for an otherwise model franchise.

“I think coming into this environment, knowing that there is a nucleus,” he said, “I think it will be a very attractive position to coaches.”

And don’t forget: “The attractiveness of coming to one of the flagship franchises in the NFL is exciting to coaches.”

Really? Such is the delusion that thrives at 21300 Redskins Park Drive. The statements would induce belly laughs after the organization-wide histrionics of the last four months if they weren’t uttered with such seriousness.

They’ve had two winning seasons in the last eight years, haven’t made back-to-back playoff appearances since 1991-92 and lost the final eight games of this season for the team’s longest such streak since 1960. In the perpetually confused world of the Redskins under owner Dan Snyder, such impotence equates to “attractive” and “exciting.”

Through the double-talk and issue-skirting in Allen’s meandering press conference, he offered a simple equation.

Subtract Shanahan … and onward to prosperity.

Results can’t get much worse than this season, but credulity is strained to believe exiling Shanahan, even after four largely ineffective seasons, is the magic elixir for problems that existed long before $35 million lured the coach to Washington. That’s the easy way out, of course, to point the finger at one man and cling to the fantasy that the team can subtract its way to success.

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