Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Answers from the ATL

The parallels are eerie.
  • The Washington Redskins and the Atlanta Falcons have identical 65-77 records in the 21st century (Ever wonder how far down the sports totem pole we've fallen ? -- Atlanta has never in their team history had back-to-back winning seasons).
  • Both teams had owners accused of being too involved in the day-to-day operations of the franchise, with Arthur Blank palling around with players down on the sidelines and Dan Snyder's well-documented foray into team management.
  • Both faced GM and coaching searches last year, the Falcons after their disastarous 2007 season that featured a dysfunctional organization with a quitter for a coach (Petrino) and sniping players who took public shots at the direction of the team.
  • Here the parallels end.
  • The Skins hire the owner/Vinny as GM and Zorn as coach.
  • The Falcons hire GM Thomas Dimitroff from the personnel department of the Patriots and Mike Smith, Jacksonville defensive coordinator as coach. Blank distances himself from the day-to-day operations of the team.
  • Coming off a 9-7 season Skins flounder after a fast start, winding up 8-7 with one game left.
  • Coming off a 4-12 season, the Falcons rise to 10-5 with one game left.
  • Dimitroff is touted as NFL executive of the year.
  • Vinny/Danny are not.
  • Mike Smith is discussed as a possible coach of the year.
  • Zorn is not.
What did the Falcons do?
  1. The owner becomes detached from day-to-day operations. Hard to take dad seriously if mom is always open for complaints. An owner getting too chummy with players encourages the coach to do the same to curry their favor. Jim Mora was canned by the Falcons for doing too much of this, the same Jim Mora who the Seahawks will likely give the keys to the kingdom to after Mike Holmgren leaves instead of in-house QB coach Jim Zorn.
  2. Hire an unglamorous, football saavy GM, giving him the power and independence. He hires a similar coach.
  3. Make football moves that benefit the team, regardless of sentiment or star power: The mercurial bad apple DeAngelo Hall -- gone. All-star tight end Alge Crumpler -- gone. Warrick Dunn, great character guy but done --gone. All ties cut with Vick. The result was a team with less talent but more character. Portis? Campbell?
  4. Build through the draft. Of course it helps to draft perhaps the best rookie QB ever in Matt Ryan. But all the rookies for the Falcons have contributed. The Skins draft was crap, full of guys who either shouldn't've been drafted, or have claimed they have had trouble adjusting to living on their own.
Gotta tear it down before you really build a contender. Hire Cowher and Colbert. And Danny should back the hell off.
A reminder of Cowher's resume:
15 years.
11 winning seasons.
10 trips to the playoffs.


Lil Bro said...

"shouldn't've"? What are you? An English teacher?

Grammer aside, you make great points. I am waking up to the sad realization that the Redskins may be mired in mediocrity for a long time to come.

I had hoped the team was a few aquisitions away from glory. But it's going to take time. Lots of time.

My solution -- make Greg "furrowed brow" Blache the head coach. Keep Zorn as O.C. and QB coach.

DC Optimist said...

I don't trust a guy with a tie in his coaching record.

Minor Thread said...

An NFL game can end in a tie?

Minor Thread said...

egwLil Bro: "grammar"
I'm not anti-Zorn per se, but we can either give Zorn 2-3 years to see if he's the right guy (chosen by the wrong people) or completely rebuild, beginning with a solid GM. If we find out in 2010 that Zorn has been promoted beyond his level of competency, it's ANOTHER 3 YEARS WASTED.

DC Optimist:
We appreciate the chatter! And the optimism.
I'll take a coach with a tie with averaging 10 and 6 over FIFTEEN SEASONS.
(I'm all about the CAPS today...) Happy Redskins New Year! Same as the old year...