Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen said the team wanted Alex Smith because he’s a winner…but what is his record?
In his first public comments since the departure of Kirk Cousins and the addition of Alex Smith as the new quarterback of the Washington Redskins, team president Bruce Allen made it clear what stands out most about the signal-caller: His record.
In a chat with J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, Allen said “the first thing you like about Alex is his record. There are three quarterbacks who have won 50 games in the last five years.”
Well, Allen is right. Smith, along with Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, are the only quarterbacks in the last five years to win 50 games or more. Impressive, sure. But, in the ultimate team sport, Allen’s main qualification in getting Smith was his win/loss record? Really?
Finlay pressed Allen and the team president continued. Allen said everyone should be judged on their record from the quarterback to the equipment guy to the team president. Okay, now that you mentioned it, Bruce, let’s talk about that record.
Allen came to Washington at the conclusion of the 2009 season. Owner Daniel Snyder finally fired the grossly incompetent Vinny Cerrato and brought in Allen to replace him. He was originally hired as the team’s vice president. As the son of legendary former Washington coach, George Allen, Bruce had everything Snyder wanted — and needed — in a right-hand man.
He was respected in league circles and had the political stroke, due to his brother, George, being a former Governor and Senator in the state of Virginia. Snyder needed Allen to help him get a new stadium somewhere in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia).
In his first few years, Allen remained largely in the background. Although it was determined later he was instrumental in making the disastrous trades for Donovan McNabb and Robert Griffin III. Allen’s lowest moment came at the conclusion of the 2014 season when he famously said the Redskins were winning off the field. That quickly led to him hiring Scot McCloughan as the team’s new general manager.
Well, we know how that one went down.
Oh, about that record. Since coming to Washington in December 2009, Allen’s record as chief decision-maker is 35-61. Washington’s two most successful years were when McCloughan was the team’s de facto GM in 2015 and 2016. If you include those two years, Allen’s record climbs to 52-75-1.
Everyone in sports is judged on their record at the end of the day. However, it’s not how you find players. So, if a backup offensive lineman with New England is a part of three Super Bowl championship teams, does that make him a winner and worth pursuing in free agency? That’s Allen’s logic.
Allen should’ve said the team was excited about Smith because of everything he’s accomplished in the league. How Andy Reid raved about him. And how much head coach Jay Gruden believed that Smith would take Washington’s offense to another level. Not his record. Would Smith have won 50 games with the Cleveland Browns over the last five years? Of course not. Brady probably wouldn’t have either.
In most cities, Allen would’ve been fired years ago. Sadly, he’s done some good things in D.C. He changed the perception that Washington was a place where veterans come to get paid and quit. He’s improved relations with former players. He, along with former coach Mike Shanahan helped get the indoor practice bubble built. And his work on the eventual new stadium deal is critical. The Redskins are certainly in a much better situation now than they were when he took over back in 2009. There are numerous good things he’s done. Consistent winning is just not one of them.
But, he still has a winning percentage of .406. At some point, Snyder should hold him to his word and judge him on his record, too.