Redskins: What does it truly take to change a culture?
By Marc Lande
A brief, unscientific history of Dan Snyder’s leadership
Snyder took over the team with Norv Turner on the hot seat. After the inevitable first firing of Snyder, Snyder ruled the day, helping to bring in big names like Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Albert Haynesworth, and drafting LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels. Somewhere in these early days, Snyder even brought in Vinny Cerato.
Jumping to Gibbs 2.0. Gibbs knew that things needed to change. He brought in salary cap experts and the now infamous 200-page Al Saunders playbook. Are they still running plays from that?
Gibbs actually got the team and organization rolling with two playoff appearances in four years. Gibbs set a precedent for all future Redskins coaches to get a franchise quarterback (Jason Campbell had five seasons, the most of any quarterback since Mark Rypien). I call this “the Gibbs doctrine,” and it has been followed since the Redskins let Mark Brunell go.
Gibbs left because he was completely heartbroken by Sean Taylor’s tragic death. I was in the stands in Seattle when we missed a 30-something field goal that would have given us a 17-13 lead. You don’t think that Gibbs could have figured out, given an offseason, how to beat Seattle in Seattle? Didn’t he win a Super Bowl game in part because he game-planned how to beat his toughest opponent at the time, the New York Giants, the whole 1987 offseason?
Didn’t Gibbs win three Super Bowls with three quarterbacks? Could he have gotten a fourth? Anyhow, Gibbs knew to honor the legacy of one of his star players and stepped down. He wanted to be connected to Sean Taylor, his tragedy and his legacy, more so than winning a fourth. Period.
After losing Taylor and Gibbs, the organization was in shambles. Soon thereafter, Snyder was told to sit back and have football players handle everything. That could have been about when Allen came on board in 2010 (and the aforementioned quote).
Undisputable reports state that, for years, Snyder has been much less involved with the football decision-making. Snyder has let the football side run it. Thus, Gruden got six years instead of one. Oh, Marty!
Thinking otherwise, one is buying into the aspersions of dysfunction at Redskins Park. Point being, soon after Vinny Cerrato left, or was rather tarred and feathered out of town, maybe the new savior at the time, Bruce Allen, brought with him the term “culture change”. Have to ask Allen? Or someone at Redskins Park? The truth is, Allen is the first official I can find using that term.
Maybe a couple of decades later, Allen and the Redskins organization saw a team that lacked, well, character. Did they get working on this? You would think! It might have been new news in 2010, not 2020. What has happened for 10 years?
Shannahan came in and started this “culture change” by drafting Robert Griffin III, who came from a military family, and Kirk Cousins, a devout Christian, and drafting a whole rebuild. It failed. After the Shannahan fiasco? Next up, Jay Gruden. But at that point, had the Redskins even at least identified how to change the culture? What is culture change?