At the end of the fiasco that was the 2006 season, Joe Gibbs said the Washington Redskins would look at everything in an effort to turn things around. Owner Daniel Snyder was quick to say at yesterday's press conference that a general manager was not part of "everything." He felt badly for the fans following the team's 5-11 season, but did not see team structure as the cause for the on-field results.
Both Snyder and Gibbs recounted that aggressive player acquisition has been a Redskins trademark since the 1980s. They might have pointed out that Bobby Beathard and Charlie Casserly, GMs both, were orchestrating those moves.
Beathard spent 15 years as a scout and player personnel guy before being named Redskins GM in 1978. His teams went to three Super Bowls before he joined the Redskins. Snyder, in fact, almost lured Beathard out of retirement in 2002, until talks mysteriously broke down.
Casserly is remembered for starting his sports management career as an unpaid intern with the Redskins in 1977. He worked his way up as scout and assistant general manager until replacing Bobby Beathard as GM in 1989. That's a career span from the Over The Hill Gang through the Beathard-Gibbs I era. Snyder fired Casserly, only to admit later that "he fired the wrong guy."
Washington Post columnist Len Shapiro pointed out in a 2006 story that Gibbs was lured out of retirement with the promise of total control of the team. That's the same promise Snyder made to Marty Schottenheimer. It's a promise he'll keep to football icon Gibbs.
So the decision to bring in a GM really rests with Gibbs. I'm torn by that. I hold Gibbs in high regard. If mistakes are made, I want Gibbs, not Snyder, to make them. Let me make this point. A coaching career track doesn't prepare one to be a GM any better than a GM career track perpares one to be head coach. So, why the resistence to a GM?
Because, it just won't work.
Photo: Bobby Beathard, GM, www.profootballweekly.com