Demystifying the dysfunction

There’s a heck of a lot going on right now at Redskins Park. With the seemingly inevitable departure of GM Scot McCloughan likely a matter of days or weeks away now, I thought I’d put some thoughts on the possible scenarios that led to this ugly-looking breakup.

Scenario 1 – “Performance issues”

You know what I mean. If it is this, all I can really say it’s unfortunate for everyone involved.

Why it might be this – The sheer mystery surrounding everything makes a little more sense if it’s a situation the team can’t directly address. The idea would be to get past the draft and move on quickly. It would go some way towards explaining why the team bungled the explanation of why he was no long taking part in essential GM activities like the combine and free agency. And they bungled it pretty badly.

The one thing I will say about this scenario, is the picture of total dysfunction painted by the media seems pretty unfair. If the Redskins made the decision McCloughan is no longer fit for purpose, then it was a reasonable call to put him on the shelf and begin to look for a replacement. That’s not to say the PR department did a particularly good job of spinning it in a good light, at all, but I don’t get why it’s being perceived as such a messy situation in this scenario.

Scenario 2 – Power Struggle A: Allen wants Cousins

In this scenario, the rumours that McCloughan was never fully sold on Cousins enough to pay him are true. It turns out that conversely, Allen disagreed, and saw the need for the franchise to keep hold of its best asset in two decades.

Why it might be this – All of a sudden Cousins little run-in with McCloughan at the end of the Green Bay game makes complete sense. McCloughan was the detractor all along, and perhaps Cousins would have already been locked up after the 2015 season. McCloughan also has a track record of getting success out of young, cheap quarterbacks – Kaepernick in San Francisco and Wilson in Seattle. He also coupled this with a strong running game and very heavy investment in the defense. It could be McCloughan was looking to replicate this success with Washington – by replacing Kirk with a rookie QB and loading up on defensive talent.

If this turns out to be true, as much as I’d loved the brief positivity McCloughan brought to the team, I’m ultimately in favour of it. A good QB is the hardest thing to find in all of pro sports, and while I certainly see the argument for needing a good GM more – if it comes down to Kirk v Scot, I back Kirk every time.

Scenario 3 – Power Struggle B: McCloughan wants Cousins

In a complete reversal of scenario two, and an explanation that would go very much against the run of play, it turns out that McCloughan wanted Cousins all along. Bruce Allen plays the role of villain here, meddling in his GM’s affairs and preventing the franchise resembling something that functions sensibly.

Why it might be this – Don’t forget, the rumour was Gruden and McCloughan had to convince Allen and Snyder to bench Robert Griffin in favour of Kirk Cousins back in early 2015. Did he really decide in the course of one season he was good enough to start, but not good enough to pay? Did he really think the smart move was to franchise tag Cousins in 2015 when the odds were heavily stacked his value would only go up? These seem like poor decisions for a smart guy with a good track record.

This is by far the bleakest outlook. It’s not even close. If the team loses the ultra-rare combination of a good starting quarterback AND general manager in one swift strike, then they truly are in a state of dysfunction and disarray the likes of which it has never experienced before. And for a franchise with a long history of being dysfunctional and poorly run, that says an awful lot.

The “Silver Bullet Solution” is still in play

Amidst all of this chaos, I still believe the bulk of the mess can be removed almost overnight with one simple announcement – Kirk Cousins has signed a long-term contract. Think about it, the popular theory at the moment is that won’t happen because of the ongoing turmoil. So is this something of a chicken and egg situation here? Will Kirk not sign because of the management situation or is the management situation happening because of Kirk? Whatever it is, Kirk committing to the team blows most of it away. And we can have ourselves a season.

Because if he doesn’t, and it’s not looking good right now, you can already write the season off.

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