The comings and goings at Redskins Park just keep, er, coming. The new guys in Washington threw us a curve ball with the release of wide receiver Marko Mitchell. DT Anthony Montgomery, RBs Anthony Alridge and P.J. Hill also lost out.
Gary Fitzgerald at Redskins.com put the best spin on the move in his post today.
"The Redskins loaded up with veteran players at defensive tackle, wide receiver and running back this offseason and roster space was needed after the Redskins signed undrafted rookie free agents following the NFL Draft."
They don't pay Gary enough to write quality like that. You'd almost miss the part about the Skins loading up on veteran players and releasing younger players like Mitchell and Alridge. Are we really sure Snyder and Cerrato aren't having an influence on this team's make-up. I'm just saying there's a familiar feel about the move.
No one is surprised with Montgomery's departure. He was lightly used last season, giving way to Albert Haynesworth and Kedric Golston. Montgomery beat out Golston for the starting spot in 2008. The Redskins deployed Haynesworth as a bigger, better known, more expensive Anthony Montgomery last season. No one--not Haynesworth, not Montgomery, not Greg Blache, certainly not fans--was happy with how that deal turned out.
But Mitchell has potential. We need wideouts. We just signed Joey Galloway. We still need wideouts.
I don't yet share the faith of so many fans in Mike Shanahan. I do have high hopes, though. Shanahan is the second best coach hire ofthe Snyder era. Gibbs is first. Shanny is a half-step ahead of Marty Schottenheimer. We like that Snyder at last hired a true general manager who followed a true GM career path.
For the love of the Redskins, I desperately want that arrangement to work. So I'm giving Shanahan and Bruce Allen the benefit of the doubt and won't question why Mitchell is gone and Galloway is here.
I base a lot of analysis of Washington's management moves on real life work conditions. Football is sports entertainment for most of us. Running a team is based on the real life dynamics of organizational management. The teams that master that are perennial contenders. You know who they are: New England, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia. You know who they are not: Detroit, Oakland and (sigh)Washington.
The dynamic here is change at the top. A new executive team comes in. The old execs are flushed away. The holdover employees have to prove themselves to the new guys. That's always hardest on the star performers who assume they have the same place in the hierarchy as in the old regime. (Looking at you, Albert Haynesworth.)
They don't. The new guys are thinking "if you are so good, why did prior management got fired?"
It's the old guards stars who face hardest tests: for buy-in of the new program, for lingering resentment, for adaptability to change. How tested? Pressure, my friend. Nothing they do will be right, even when it is. They can't play well enough to start. What will they do then? Pout? Corrode the locker room? Or bear down? Do they have the fire in the belly to win their spot back? Will they produce under pressure?
If you haven't seen this in your work life yet, you will. It will be a rough camp for Haynesworth, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss and maybe London Fletcher.