Saturday, March 29, 2008

Use Some Logic Snyder

I am from Bethesda, MD and have been a long-time fan of the Washington Redskins, who have a historic past in Washington, D. C., dating back to 1937. I can’t understand the reasoning behind cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, who only came into existence in 1996. Raven fans didn’t just suddenly decide they liked football. However, most of them likely gave up on the dismal Redskins franchise and its inexperienced owner Dan Snyder. When Snyder came to the throne as owner of the Redskins in 1997, he brought his business attitude and idiotic ideal of instant gratification. Dan Snyder has hired and fired five coaches in 11 years as owner of the Redskins and overall has a losing record. In that time frame, the Redskins have made it to the playoffs three times and have only advanced past the first round once, just to lose the second round game. Compare this to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have had two coaches in the last 16 years. The most recent retiree, Bill Cowher, was with the team from 1992-2007 and their record speaks for itself. The Steelers have made it to the playoffs 11 times, making it to the Super Bowl twice and winning it once. Snyder has signed some of the biggest names including, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith and Laveranues Coles to haughty, one-year contracts, only to have them not work out. He has used the same strategy with coaches. He has hired Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs and most recently, Jim Zorn to some of the highest-paid coaching salaries in the National Football League (NFL). Snyder’s inexperience as an owner and his dim-witted strategy have shown as he embarks on another year of free-agent spending and coaching that will most likely produce small results.
Snyder has invested so much time and money into the organization that he does not want to accept his failure as team owner. At this point Snyder will go to any means necessary to buy a championship. This includes obtaining the best coaching staff and players money can buy, even if the contract is only for one year.
Obviously Snyder’s goal is to win the Super Bowl, but he is building his team incorrectly. His lack of experience and poor front-office management skills are showing to be a greater weakness than he might have thought. First, Snyder needs to keep his nose out of the coaches day-to-day operations and coaching style. Second, he needs to hire a coach and stick with him for at least five years. How can you expect a coach to implement his coaching style and plays if his only with the organization for a year. Give me a break. I can’t think of one coach who has taken a team to the Super Bowl in his first year, let alone won the whole thing. Third, Snyder needs to sign these high-paying players to longer contracts. It takes time to learn a playbook that most likely contains over 300 plays. The Redskins current offensive coordinator, Al Saunders, has a playbook that contains over 1,000 plays. It’s not something you learn by the seat of your pants. It takes time learn that many plays, many which come with audibles. Snyder is comparable to Eddie Sutton, former Head Coach of Oklahoma State. In 2002, Coach Sutton went out and recruited a few junior college players to play their Junior and Senior years at Oklahoma State. They had two successful years, making it to the Final Four in 2004, but never winning the championship. From that point on, they have not returned to the NCAA tournament. Whereas, Oliver Purnell, Head Coach of Clemson, has quickly built a successful, sustainable team, that used to be the doormat of the ACC, but will most likely return to the NCAA tournament for years to come. If Snyder had used the “Purnell” philosophy he too might experience a little more success. If you look at the successful teams in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, they have the same coaching staff and players year after year. I’m not an owner or personnel expert, but I think Snyder is the one that needs to be fired.

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