WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With Jay Gruden hired to wash away all the wrongs of Mike Shanahan, what remains unclear was de facto general manager Bruce Allen’s definitive role during the latter’s regime.
It was once believed under Shanahan, that along with Allen’s day-to-day duties of protecting the team’s financial enterprises, he was also to serve as buffer between the head coach and team owner Dan Snyder — an insulator of sorts, to create clear boundaries for an owner long-interpreted as being meddlesome.
Allen — posed with some difficult questions in an interview with the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan — allowed fans to peer into the murky, taped-up windows of Redskins Park.
His answers could explain whether the problems which, over time, systematically broke down Shanahan’s power structure (eventually causing it to crumble), could resurface in the Gruden Era in Washington.
From Allen’s impromptu call-in to the Junkies on Friday:
“After working with Dan for four years now, can you say ‘no’ to Dan Snyder?” EB asked.
“Well I don’t know if you say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ or ‘maybe,'” Allen answered. “Dan will ask questions. And he’ll ask, you know, what you want to do. He’s been completely supportive of everything Mike has wanted to do, and he’s been supportive of ideas that I have had. And his focus is, ‘what do you guys want to do?’ and ‘how can I help’ and then ‘go do it.'”
“So you don’t feel pressure to have to, like subtle pressures, where even in the past where Dan has reportedly said ‘hey look, I want this guy. You guys don’t want him? Well I hope he doesn’t become an All-Pro over there, because that’ll be on you guys.’ Like those kind of subtle pressure, you don’t see that happening?”
“No, well I hope that other guy doesn’t become an All-Pro somewhere else, but, no, the players that we choose will be a decision of the coaches and the personnel people. The coaches and players we choose will be based on our decisions. And that’s what Dan wants us to do. He doesn’t want to get involved. Since I’ve been here, he’s never watched one foot of tape or looked at any of the scouting reports. Now he’ll see the big vision and the big board once it’s set up, but that’s what he wants us to do.”
“Do you watch the games with him? Are you in the box with Dan?” EB asked.
“No. I’m in the coaching booth,” Allen replied.
“Alright, when do you and Dan discuss, say the games?” EB asked.
“After the game,” Allen said. “Well, first I’ll go see my wife and she’ll tell me what she didn’t like about the game, or what she loved about the game, and then I’ll go over to his suite after that point.”
It’s worth pointing out that the team has been more amenable to media requests in recent weeks, seemingly lifting the veil which usually shrouds the organization. There are two possible conclusions to draw from this:
One, either the staff’s newfound availability is a short-lived attempt at pinning the remaining blame leftover from the last four years on Mike Shanahan.
Or two, the organization has ushered in a new era of transparency with Jay Gruden, and at long last, would like to establish a clear hierarchy from whence it shall direct all future successes and failures.
Things really could be different this time.
Or they won’t be, and we’ll all just follow protocol of kicking ourselves as we race to fall on our own faces in four years, as has become custom.
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