WASHINGTON — A curious development has taken place at Redskins Park. This offseason, Scot McCloughan’s third with the team, the general manager has apparently been muzzled by team president Bruce Allen.
It’s now been 10 months since McCloughan has addressed reporters in public and chaos, whether real or merely perceived, has been restored in Ashburn. The question is — why?
“They’re kind of scrambling still,” Mike Jones of The Post told The Sports Junkies Friday. “You would think coming off of two straight winning seasons, just narrowly missed the playoffs, that maybe there’d be some stability, but there’s a lot of stuff just still kind of flying around that hasn’t gone according to plan.”
“I mean, yeah, they planned on replacing their defensive coordinator; they didn’t plan on losing Sean McVay,” he said. “Replacing the defensive coordinator didn’t go the way that they thought it was gonna go. They haven’t made progress with Cousins.
“Because that domino hasn’t fallen, their other free agents are still kind of in limbo. Their still just, it’s very much an uncertain feeling at Redskins Park right now just because of so many balls still bouncing around and people trying to get on the same page.”
Jones was then asked to provide clarity on whether Allen and McCloughan are on the same page.
“There’s politics and all kinds of crazy stuff everywhere, but definitely [at] Redskins Park,” Jones said. “I think there’s a little bit of jealousy on Bruce’s part for the credit, from what I’ve been told by a number of people, a little jealousy on the part of the credit that Scot gets for them turning things around. You know, Bruce will look and be like ‘Well Trent Murphy had a great year, that was my draft pick. Morgan Moses had a great year, that was my draft pick.'”
“You’re kidding,” Junkies host Eric Bickel said. “It gets that petty? He says that to people?”
“Yeah,” Jones confirmed.
“I mean those guys are okay, Mike,” another host, Jason Bishop, said. “They’re not All-Pros.”
“No. No, they’re not All-Pros,” Jones agreed. “But I think that they look at it, you know, Ryan Kerrigan was a draft pick — Mike Shanahan was here, but you know, I’m sure Bruce will say that was one of his picks as well. So they’re winning not just with Scot McCloughan players, and the guys that Scot has brought in, kind of the bargain bin guys — like Will Blackmon, Mason Foster — some of those guys, yeah, have been very good.”
“Some other guys, their two starting defensive linemen that they signed the last two years are not even on this team anymore, Stephen Paea and Kendall Reyes,” he said. “The starting strong safeties that they signed, Jeron Johnson and David Bruton, not on the team anymore. Didn’t make it a full season in those roles. I think that Bruce wants to make sure that Scot brings it. This is a big year for Scot, a big offseason, just like it’s a big offseason for Jay, and I think Bruce wants everybody to remember who’s in control and they’ve got to deliver this year.”
“I’m really starting to wonder where [McCloughan] fits in the pecking order right now,” Bickel said. “How much power he really has.
“Yeah, well it was said at that press conference that he had complete control of the roster,” Jones said, referencing the Jan. 2015 presser announcing McCloughan’s hiring. “But there still are — I mean, I know there were discussions when they were cutting down from the 75 to the final 53, there were guys that maybe Scot wasn’t as beholden to that Bruce felt strongly about.”
“I think Robert [Griffin III] was one of them!” Bickel shouted.
“Yeah. Scot McCloughan had a huge role in backing up Jay Gruden and having them go from Robert to Kirk,” Jones said. “There were some people who wanted to keep Cullen Jenkins and maybe move on from other people, and they didn’t win, and so Cullen Jenkins was cut. Then there was an injury to Kedric Golston, so they brought Cullen Jenkins back. But different little things like that where, yeah, he has a lot of say.”
“I mean, he’s the top talent evaluator, but everything runs through Bruce, and ultimately everything runs through Dan,” he said. “But Bruce is the one that — you know, he’s still the team president. He didn’t just say, ‘Okay. I’m just gonna pick uniforms and slap backs with the alumni guys.’ He still is very much involved in everything, from negotiations to decisions on who to keep, who they don’t, and coaching.
“You know, everybody thought, okay, this isn’t really Scot’s coach that he’s working with here. Well, it doesn’t matter because he doesn’t have hiring and firing power. It’s more so like: Scot and Bruce; Scot reports to Bruce; Jay reports to Bruce; Bruce reports to Dan. It’s not like Jay reports to Scot, who reports to Bruce, who reports to Dan. That’s kind of the hierarchy there.”
“What a terrible flagpole that is,” Bishop remarked.
Let’s try to gain some perspective here. The Redskins are coming off their first consecutive winning seasons since the end of their Super Bowl dynasty, thanks, in some part, to McCloughan, which followed a more-than-two-decade-long period of historic mediocrity. Yeah, maybe due for a shakeup.
Jones also provided an update on contract negotiations with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
“They really haven’t made a lot of progress right now,” he said. “Everybody kind of wonders, ‘Why haven’t they re-signed all their guys?’ Well, they just don’t do that at this time of year. Normally the way the Redskins do it is, and a lot of teams — I mean look around the league, nobody’s really re-signing a whole lot of guys — they will talk to the agents at the combine at the end of this month and that’s where they will really get an idea of the market value. That’s when they’re having face-to-face meetings with agents and stuff like that and it’s coming down to the wire.”
“This year, there’s gonna be even more of a sense of urgency, because the combine is a week later and the first day, March 1, is the deadline for the franchise tag, and the day they get back from the combine, that Monday, the 6th, the next day is the start of free agency,” he said.
“So a lot of stuff is probably gonna get done there that week with re-signing guys, maybe with Cousins, a decision there. They’ve talked at the Senior Bowl, they’ve had some conversations here and there, but there hasn’t been a lot of progress made between those two sides. I mean, anything could change at any moment, but it’s probably a stronger probability that he plays under the franchise than a long-term deal if it were right now.”