Saturday, December 13, 2008

As the Burgundy and Gold Turns...

So while Clinton Portis acts like a petulant 3-year-old, here's Buffalo's Marshawn Lynch wearing his big boy pants:
Lynch taking blame for Bills' struggles: Most teams drown in a sea of finger-pointing when their seasons spiral toward oblivion. But an unusual thing happened in the Bills' locker room Wednesday. With Buffalo still mathematically in the playoff race, running back Marshawn Lynch threw out a life preserver to his teammates and beleaguered head coach. "You're looking for the right person to blame it on, I'm right here," said Lynch, who had just 31 yards on 13 carries in the Bills' loss to Miami on Sunday. "I'm the feature back here, and I don't feel, as the feature back, I've played like it." Lynch said that when he watches film of himself, he sees opportunities he has missed to make better plays, noting in particular that if he were just a little more patient at times, he could have broken open for big runs. Of course, there's another theory floating around Buffalo these days -- that Lynch simply isn't getting the ball enough. It's one of the many complaints being directed toward Dick Jauron, but Lynch is defending his coach. "Thirteen is more carries than zero, so therefore, I had the opportunity," he said. "I just have to capitalize on it." -- Rachel Nichols from
The Skins have stayed relevant these past 15 years by being a soap opera, not a contending football team. The drama starts at the top, where the boy-owner insists on running the show, leading to all kinds of dysfunction over who's in control. Remember this?
"This is Marty Schottenheimer's organization from the standpoint of the final word," said Snyder, who introduced Schottenheimer at a news conference at Redskins Park. ". . . We needed a proven leader. We needed a proven winner."
The soap opera got a minor reprieve by jumping the shark with the return of Joe Gibbs.
But, like grains of sand through the hourglass, that euphoria was quickly pulled down into the mediocrity that is the modern-day Skins. Does this soap opera remind you of any other franchise?
In a recent interview with Daniel Snyder....

WSJ: Are there owners you admire?

Mr. Snyder: I admire Pat Bowlen [of the Denver Broncos]. He has a tremendous desire to win. And in the offseason, I get along great with Jerry Jones [of the Dallas Cowboys]. We have a lot of fun times together with our wives. We vacation together. But during the season, we are definitely enemies.
Here's the heart of the problem.
The owner of the Skins emulates the meddling, hands-on, fantasy football ownership style of the hated Cowboys. Ever since we poached the Cowboys' offensive coordinator, neck gaggle and all, we've gone downhill. Every soap opera needs its queen bee, the offensive diva that thinks everything should revolve around them. Dallas has theirs, and we've got ours.
So the Skins are emulating an organization that hasn't won a playoff game in
That is in the middle of its latest December swoon.
Whose old-school savior couldn't save (Parcells) them much like Gibbs couldn't save us.
Let's go to the videotape:
Cowboys record since 2000 -- 70-67
Redskins record since 2000 -- 65-77
Cowboys playoff wins since 2000 - 0
Redskins playoff wins since 2000 - 1
Cowboys division championships since 2000 - 1
Redskins division championships since 2000 - 0
Cowboys coaches since 2000: 3
Redskins coaches since 2000: 5
Jerry Jones so wants to prove he can assemble and manage a championship team. 13 years later, he still hasn't done it.
And here we have the model for Dan Snyder. It's not working in either place. When the ownership has a too-close relationship with players and day-to-day operations, it creates a dysfunctional organization. Terrell Owens and Pacman Jones get away with destructive behavior because they know the coaches are too weak to stand up to them when the owner, the guy who acquired them in the first place, has their backs. Same with Portis, who bragged about his close relationship with Snyder.
Nothing will change with the Skins until Daniel Snyder steps away from day-to-day operations and lets them be handled by strong, independent football people who are given the space and power to run a functional organization imbued with accountability and measured, informed decision-making. That means a front office that won't try to buy up its media coverage in order to be able to project a party line that everything is copacetic when it's the organization that needs to change. That won't duck call-in shows after the season takes a turn for the worst.
A functional organization doesn't need a Ministry of Truth spinning its ownership's 65-77 record.
The Cowboys have always been the Skins opposite numbers. Both teams often spoil excellent seasons the other is having. But now we are emulating our nemesis, with predictable results.
If the Cowboys represent the problem, what's the solution?
The Atlanta Falcons.

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