Nearly a month after firing his head coach and much of the team's staff, Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen spoke to Comcast SportsNet to discuss the final weeks of a tumultuous 3-13 season.
We’ve heard much of it before, but Allen did shed new light on the decision to dismiss Mike Shanahan, Robert Griffin III’s health, an air of complacency in Ashburn at the start of the 2013 campaign, the damaging leaks from inside Redskins Park down the stretch and Shanahan’s reaction to being fired.
“Well, I think we started with a quarterback that was injured and obviously he was unable to practice during all the OTAs and the offseason, so that set him back a little bit,” Allen told CSN’s Chick Hernandez during a sit down interview at Redskins Park.
“I think in this league, sometimes, it’s harder to maintain success than it is to go from a bad season to a good season,” Allen continued. “Maybe lost a little bit of our hunger. But I think, right now, the direction of the team … we’re ready to get better.”
Allen also reiterated that the Redskins had no one to blame but themselves for the “ugly” media leaks that engulfed the team as the losses mounted late in the season.
“No,” Allen said, asked if he had experienced anything like it during all his years as an NFL executive. “And it would have been ugly if it had been in a different, as well, just to read about it. That wasn’t how we wanted to represent; it’s not who we are. But obviously, we did not handle adversity very well last year. And, in fact, we created some of our own adversity. It hurt. The right word was ‘distasteful’.”
Allen also hinted that future personnel decisions will entail more than just on-field performance. He and his management team will attempt weed out players who contributed to the dysfunction.
“I understand if you fumble the ball or you don’t tackle someone,” Allen said. “ But we’re all in this together. And the way we want to play football, is every player in this locker room and every [person] in the coaches’ locker room fighting together for every play, for each other. And I’ve talked [about] before what we’re looking for is good teammates. And a good teammate is someone who is going to support his fellow player and is going to be as happy for their success as they are for their own.”
As far as the decision to fire Shanahan, Allen has previously said it was clear in the final weeks of the season that a change probably was going to be necessary. In his conversation with Hernandez, Allen said he didn't make the move sooner because he wanted to give Shanahan a chance to change his mind with wins over the Cowboys and the Giants.
“We wanted Mike to have an opportunity to rectify the ship and sail it in the right direction and get a win against the division teams,” Allen said. “It didn’t happen. And that left us really with no choice. …He understood it. It was the right thing for this football team at that point.”