With the draft in the rearview mirror, the Washington Redskins will soon formally reorganize their front office, which was shaken up when former general manager Scot McCloughan was fired in March. As responsibilities are shuffled, though, the Redskins may not give anyone McCloughan’s former title.
Last week, John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance told Jason Cole of Bleacher Report that the Redskins have submitted a plan to reorganize their front office without naming a general manager.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance is an organization that promotes diversity among NFL coaches and executives. They monitor compliance with the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for any head coach or general manager opening, which is why they would receive notice of the Redskins’ plans.
That’s consistent with what team president Bruce Allen has been saying for months. At the NFL owners’ meetings, he said that the team was paying special attention to internal candidates, several of whom he feels are on-the-rise talent evaluators who could shoulder more responsibility.
“It could be inside, it could be outside,” Allen said. “I do think we have some guys on our staff that, in a few years are going to be a general manager, a director of player personnel, and I want to make sure they have an opportunity as well.”
The Redskins could reorganize the front office without naming a GM and with Allen continuing to wield tremendous power. They could always promote one of those internal candidates down the line, when Allen thinks they’re ready, and provide the title bump then.
According to Cole, Wooten didn’t know what the specifics of the proposed reorganization, only that it did not involve hiring a new GM.
Senior personnel executive Doug Williams and director of pro personnel Alex Santos are two people who could take on more responsibility. Either would satisfy the Rooney Rule were the Fritz Pollard Alliance to suggest the Redskins comply with it even if they are not hiring a new GM. Obviously, there are also minority candidates available outside the organization.
Aside from the McCloughan drama, the Redskins’ offseason has gone smoothly, particularly when it came to the team’s draft which has been widely praised. On draft night, director of college scouting Scott Campbell had a leading role and Allen was the chief overseer, having final say on trades, in particular.
Campbell did the team’s typical pre-draft press conference, which McCloughan used to do, and coach Jay Gruden spoke with reporters after each night of the draft concluded. Gruden was pleased with the draft room operations.
“You know, you’ve got a lot of guys [with] same grades, and some guys, positions want this guy, we want that guy, but it was a smooth process led by Bruce [Allen] and Scott Campbell,” Gruden said at the draft’s conclusion. “They did a great job, and obviously all the area scouts were tremendous.”
Having Gruden could also help the Redskins reorganize the front office without a GM. Even McCloughan, who had nothing but nice things to say about the team in a Tuesday radio interview, said that Gruden is remarkably involved in scouting and player evaluation for a head coach.
“The thing that’s cool about this organization — I’ve been to three other ones —the head coach, in Jay, is a good evaluator. He can see it and identify it,” McCloughan said on 106.7 The Fan. “I leaned on Jay, he leaned on me.”
McCloughan said that was a contrast with other head coaches he’s worked with. Packers coach Mike Holmgren, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and 49ers coaches Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary all “didn’t want any part of it.”
“Jay really really studies,” McCloughan said. “He watches a lot of tape and he can identify, which helped me out quite a bit.”
Campbell said something similar before the draft.
“I think Jay takes a lot of pride and has a lot of fun in doing the evaluations, so that’s great for us when you get a head coach that likes scouting, understands scouting and likes being a part of it,” Campbell said.
Gruden’s father was a longtime scout for the 49ers (where he crossed paths out on the trail with Campbell many times). Jat Gruden also had to be heavily involved in scouting as a head coach in the Arena Football League.
Gruden said that the coaching staff did about the same amount of work on the draft this year as they usually do. Most of the work would have been done before McCloughan was fired.
The fact of the matter is that, even under McCloughan, Allen was the key decision maker. Redskins GM was already a misleading title so, with Allen in charge and a coach who takes an active role in personnel, the team doesn’t see hiring a new one as a necessary step for its front office.