Saturday, January 4, 2014

Kirk Cousins promotes Robert Griffin III to GM

A week old and, I thought, fairly innocuous quote from Kirk Cousins suddenly got some more play on Twitter this afternoon, at the national level:

This has quite easily played into the narrative of the Redskins as a circus. However, while that narrative is obviously justified, not everything can or should be taken as evidence of it.

As I wrote shortly before the end of the season, although I think it is a little more complicated than this and there is certainly blame to go around, I broadly agree with Silva's perspective on the whole Snyder-Shanahan soap opera:

That said, it can become too easy to interpret everything said by or about this team in the most negative possible light. There a few important points worth remembering when considering the meaning of what Cousins said:

- All NFL franchises have some degree of ownership involvement in major decisions like coaching hires. Dan Snyder's involvement in football operations has been excessive and destructive over his tenure, but that doesn't mean the ideal amount of owner involvement is zero. This is a business with an owner, and the owner cannot divorce himself entirely from decisions that set the course of his franchise for years to come.

- There is, in fact, some room for input from Robert Griffin III. Again, forget this is a football team and think of any other business undergoing a major restructuring. The preferences of your most important employee - how he is most comfortable working and how he thinks he is most likely to succeed - shouldn't drive the decision but absolutely should be taken into account at some level.

And most importantly:

- Since when is the backup quarterback considered an authoritative source on the details of a coaching search?

To wit:

Given this franchise's recent history it is very possible Griffin's star status is giving him too much influence, or that Dan Snyder's personal whims are preventing solid football decisions from being made. I am legitimately concerned that one or both of those things may be the case. However we do not know whether this team restructuring, featuring an empowered (as he tells us, anyway) Bruce Allen, is addressing those historical problems. And Kirk Cousins' offhand comment tells us nothing about it either way.

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