SNIDER: Once more, WFT needs an overall rebuild


The problem with a "coach-centric" approach is if that one person isn't right, an entire organization fails. And, even New England coach Bill Belichick can't carry a franchise without the right quarterback.

The Washington Football Team has to re-examine its structure because coach Ron Rivera isn't growing the team on the field. Indeed, Rivera would have been a better choice for team president. No one questions his integrity, which the organization sorely needs.

But from a coaching aspect, Rivera is backpedaling. The honeymoon from the first season when players fought for their coach battling cancer is gone. The second time around has no energy to fight a first-place schedule. No urgency to win now. No real accountability. Just a lifeless approach to moving on from problems.

Sadly, it feels like Club Jay is back.

Owner Dan Snyder always flip flops when hiring coaches, going the opposite of the previous one. Marty Schottenheimer arrived with near-total power and Snyder resisted and one year later hired Steve Spurrier, who worried only about his offense. That failed regime led to Joe Gibbs getting complete control again, but after two playoffs and two losing seasons, Gibbs was ready to go. So, Snyder seized power and brought in a puppet in Jim Zorn, which was just chaos. Mike Shanahan followed as a tyrant to be followed by lackadaisical Jay Gruden.

So, Snyder swung back again and gave Rivera total control. Pretty much everyone in football operations from 2019 is gone and much of the non-football staff, too. This is Rivera's team from groundskeepers to gatehouse guards.

The problem is too many people thinking alike. That's a good thing if successful and a backbreaker if wrong. The past offseason of repeated personnel failures from not finding a franchise quarterback to an underwhelming first-round linebacker showed the "one voice" policies of Schottenheimer and Shanahan are once more losing with Rivera.

The greatness of the team's triple Super Bowl era was the balance of power between general managers Bobby Beathard and Charley Casserly with Gibbs. While Gibbs had total say on the field, the GMs held power over the roster. Casserly once brought a rookie free agent to Gibbs saying he would be good. Gibbs didn't want the player, but Beathard had the power to bring him to camp. It was Joe Jacoby.

This isn't to say Beathard-Gibbs weren't in sync, but owner Jack Kent Cooke needed to settle some disputes. The three-sided system proved the same successful balance as Congress-President-Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, "coach-centric" isn't working again, especially with Snyder ordered to find other things to do by the NFL after sexual harassment allegations hit the franchise. Rivera is free to do whatever and some choices aren't working. Free agency failed in Ryan Fitzpatrick, Curtis Samuel, William Jackson III and Adam Humphries signings. The draft has so far netted a decent right tackle in Sam Cosmi, but first-round linebacker Jamin Davis wasn't ready-made.

The internal brain trust isn't working and absolute power is absolutely not working. The 2-4 mark will soon slide into a 4-13 season and Rivera will have an 11-23 two-year stain. Even Zorn and Spurrier won 12 games in two seasons.

Snyder needs to flip again after this season is lost. Tear things up once more. Move Rivera to the front office and hire another coach. Let Rivera oversee franchise fires while letting a new coach focus on a passer and rebuild.

Cause frankly, as Schottenheimer always said, this isn't working.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.

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