By Deron Snyder
Our initial impulse was to smirk, and it had nothing to do with Doug Williams himself.
We didn’t belittle Williams’ promotion to Washington’s senior vice president of player personnel based on his resume. The derision wasn’t aimed at members of the Skins’ re-shuffled front office. The ridicule and mocking were guaranteed, whether an internal or external candidate was propped atop the hierarchy.
Without a change at the tiptop — i.e., owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen — moves such as Williams’ elevation Tuesday (and former GM Scot McCloughan’s hiring two years ago) are bound to be scoffed at.
Allen and Smith fooled us momentarily with McCloughan, leading us to believe they saw the error of their era. The new hire was a bonafide football guy. He would bring the organization respect and credibility, terms that are punchlines more than characteristics associated with the Skins.
It worked, to a point. Washington had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in a quarter-century with McCloughan as the architect. But then the scaffolding collapsed and he was buried in a pile of rumors, leaks and conjecture.
That experience doesn’t bode well for the next “top executive.” His title could be general manager, senior veep of player personnel or senior veep of football operations. It wouldn’t matter because everyone knows who’s the grand poohbah.
“(Final say) will be the same,” Allen told reporters at Tuesday’s news conference. “It’s going to be a Redskins decision. No different than how we did free agency, no different than how we did the draft. Coach (Jay) Gruden has influence. Doug will have influence and between them, they ought to be able to work it out. And, yes, I will be involved.”
Translation: Allen still runs things.
The bill of goods that snookered McCloughan isn’t necessary for Williams. His relationship with Allen dates to 2004 when they worked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Williams has spent the last four seasons in Ashburn. He’s well aware of the culture, an environment that repels highly-qualified candidates who possess better options.
But that’s not to suggest Williams lacks merit. In fact, familiarity with the place, along with his background as a Super Bowl-winning QB, a college coach and a front office staffer could make him the perfect choice. It sounds like he won’t mind getting none of the acclaim and all of the blame.
“We had a general manager — it didn’t work out that well,” Williams said. “… If we do a good job, no matter what happens, we all get credit for what this football team does.”
He wasn’t smirking, which is fine.
There’s enough of that going around without hm.