Washington Redskins: Breaking down reshuffled front office

Oct 12, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder on the sidelines prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 12, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder on the sidelines prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Redskins finally replaced Scot McCloughan as general manager, without actually hiring a general manager.

After months of rumors, the Washington Redskins finally made some moves to their front office on Tuesday. Instead of outright replacing the former general manager, Scot McCloughan, team president Bruce Allen and owner Daniel Snyder promoted different individuals to new positions. The consensus: the more things change the more they stay the same.

Now, how about those moves?

The biggest news was former Redskins quarterback Doug Williams being promoted from Senior Personnel Executive to Senior Vice President of Player Personnel. While not actually having the general manager title, Williams will assume many of the responsibilities of a GM.

Williams isn’t known for being a strong personnel guy and wisely, the Redskins — and Williams — touted his leadership, charisma and ability to bring people together as a major reason for his new gig.

Williams himself said he wasn’t trying to gain the GM title and cited his relationship with head coach Jay Gruden as crucial for his promotion, per Stephen Czarda of Redskins.com.

"Together, we’re going to have a good marriage between Jay and myself and the personnel department and that’s what it’s all about. Our job is not to coach ‘em, our job is to pick ‘em. And we’re going to try to do the best job – we will do the best job – to give Jay and his coaching staff the players he needs to take all of us back to the Super Bowl."

It’s important to note Williams’ relationship with Allen goes back to their days in Tampa Bay when Allen also hired Williams for a role in the team’s personnel department.

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Continuing with the promotion theme, Washington also promoted vice president of football administration Eric Schaffer to VP of Football Operations. In addition to being Washington’s salary-cap guru, he also serves as the team’s legal counsel and is considered one of the brightest executives in the NFL.

Schaffer is someone Snyder trusts implicitly and has worked for years learning more about the football side of the business and seeing Schaffer get more responsibility isn’t a surprise, according to Allen via Nora Princiotti of The Washington Times.  

“We keep giving him more,” Allen said. “He’s been doing this. He’s been the great note-taker and reminding everyone what their grades were for the last several years. We’re just recognizing that.”

There are some who believe Schaffer is a potential future GM and perhaps the Redskins are adding more to his plate with plans of giving him the title at a later time. Regardless of Washington’s plans for Schaffer, he is, arguably, the most important person in the Redskins’ front office.

Finally, the biggest surprise came when Williams announced Kyle Smith, a former area scout, was promoted to the Director of College Scouting. Smith, the son of former San Diego Chargers GM A.J. Smith, who has been with the Redskins since 2010, received his promotion because he impressed Williams in 2016, per Czarda and Redskins.com:

"One of the guys that really took the lead, he was a scout on the road but he stood out like a sore thumb, and that was Kyle Smith. When I submitted my plan to Bruce, Kyle Smith was the guy that I thought could lead this organization from Director of College Scouting, so I tapped him as the director of college scouting."

That’s certainly a vote of confidence for Smith. Another disclaimer here, Bruce Allen and A.J. Smith are close friends who go way back.

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So while it was a busy day at Redskins Park on Tuesday, how much really changed? The most important lesson was Allen is still in charge. While it’s premature to say Williams just got a title and nothing more, that’s certainly how things generally work in this front office.

Washington hired McCloughan after a disastrous 2014 season in order to appease a disgusted fan base. In the minds of those in charge, that didn’t work and they decided to operate within a structure where everyone was comfortable working with one another. Promote from within and hand the big title to a guy who won your franchise a Super Bowl as a quarterback during his playing days. That’s certainly the Bruce Allen way.

Will it work? It’s certainly not a bad thing that most of the parties involved have good relationships. Gruden, who will be involved heavily in personnel, has outstanding relationships with Allen and Williams. And Williams could be the right guy for this team’s front office if he’s truly able to galvanize the unit to make cohesive decisions.

Promoting Schaffer is certainly deserved. He’s been with the organization for many years and always makes things happen with the salary cap. And perhaps Smith can bring some young blood to the college scouting side.

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Speaking of important decisions, what people really want to know is can this group get quarterback Kirk Cousins signed to a new long-term deal? Williams, Schaffer and company have until July 15 to make it happen. No pressure, guys.