Redskins set to replace Eric Schaffer with former Panthers executive

It’s the same song, but a different verse. Under Ron Rivera, the Redskins are initiating the “clean slate” protocol.

Numerous staff changes have been filtering in for the Washington Redskins over the past few days. Jacob’s done a great job of keeping you guys updated on that. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened so far:

Steps are being taken to cement a staff around new head coach Ron Rivera, but the situation is still in flux, and that goes for Washington’s front office as well. Rivera has been mulling over keeping executives like Eric Schaffer and Kyle Smith, and now, we have reason to believe that the former is set to be replaced.

According to Jason La Canfora, Rivera’s Redskins will look to bring aboard former Panthers executive Rob Rogers, presumably to take Schaffer’s role. With the Panthers, Rogers’ title was “Executive Director of Player Finance and Football Research”. La Canfora referred to him as the Panthers former chief negotiator and head of analytics. All indications suggest that Rogers will not be the general manager.

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The Redskins reportedly lobbied to keep Eric Schaffer, but Schaffer and Rivera’s regime could not come to an agreement on finances, per Julie Donaldson of NBC Sports. Schaffer’s contract will thus not be renewed when it expires in May, as Donaldson reported further.

It’s intriguing that the Redskins are bringing on an executive with analytics on his resume, but the title might sell that for more than it’s worth. Rob Rogers was with the Panthers since 1995, and he was the Panthers’ primary contract man for the past decade. He was part of a front office and coaching staff that refused to embrace analytics until David Tepper forced the issue in his first offseason as owner. Now, less than one year later, Rogers is leaving to rejoin Rivera.

An emphasis on analytics is important because it allows a team to self-scout and maximize its strengths, in an effort to win in any way possible. Analytics involves seeking out new edges against the opposition, and playoff teams such as the 49ers, Ravens, and Chiefs are testaments to the success of analytics. The Eagles also won their first Super Bowl by leaning heavily on that department.

Some old-school football minds, however, have been hesitant to adopt analytics, presumably viewing it as an affront to football’s roots in toughness and raw power. It’s important to distinguish whether or not Rogers is new-age or old-school, because if he’s an old-school mind defecting from Tepper’s new analytical haven to join up with a philosophical ally, then the Redskins could ultimately inherit the issues that come with failing to embrace analytics, and find themselves falling behind again.

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It will take some time for these moves to become official, and even more time for the team’s new coaches and executives to settle into their new roles. But for this particular change, there’s both reason to be excited, and reason to be skeptical.

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