Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Dec 2013

The All-Snyder Team

As usual, I have a lot of stuff going on over at Sports on Earth, including a Referee Year in Review you might like. But I don't want to junk up Extra Points with everything that pops into my pointy little head, and I thought you guys might be more interested in this: an All Pro team of the Snyderest Dan Snyder decisions that Snyder ever Snydered.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 18 Dec 2013

43 comments, Last at 22 Dec 2013, 2:30pm by Hurt Bones


by Jon f (not verified) :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 8:29am

A lot of those were Shanahan moves, not Dan Snyder.

by Never Surrender :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 9:54am

"A lot"? You mean, literally, one of those moves, right? (And even then I'm not fully convinced McNabb was Shanahan's choice.)

by Jimmy :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 10:04am

Ok out with it. How much is Dannyboy paying you to post this stuff? Are you on 24 hour alert to leap out and defend him? And no, no they weren't. Maybe one or two but not "a lot".

by Never Surrender :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 9:57am

Great read. A painful one for this Redskins fan, of course, but as always Tanier has a way of softening the blow with humor and a real understanding of what it means to suffer as a fan.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 10:20am

I suspect your suffering will continue until you all bond together and buy a large vat of tar and several hundred pounds of feathers, and then run Snyder the hell out of town. The fact he and Jerry Jones are in the same division simply proves the universe has a great sense of humor.

by wr (not verified) :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 11:35am

Jerry at least has the excuse that he's posessed by Al Davis.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 12:24pm

Now, now, be fair to Snyder regarding Casey Rabach. Snyder gave Casey a big contract, a year before releasing him, as a deliberate move, out of a sense of patriotism. Danny-boy was watching TNT late one night, and was astounded to learn that his center had once defended the United States from nuclear attack, by single handedly (except for the help by a topless Playboy centerfold girl) defeating a bunch of terrorists who commandeered an American battleship.

by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 12:40pm

Now that explains it. I wondered how Washington could make a good move by drafting Jordan Reed in the 3rd round. Snyder must have thought he was drafting Jordan Tate.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 11:42am

Well if terrorists had hijacked FedEx field during a game and took everyone hostage, having Casey around would have been handy. Imagine the terrorists' surprise when their plans are foiled by an ex-navy SEAL/Cook/NFL center.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 10:12pm

Sounds like a plot for a Jason Elam novel.

No, really: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/e/jason-elam/

(Yes, I deliberately linked from a site named Fantastic Fiction.)

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 2:25pm

Tanier didn't name the coach, probably because it can't be anybody except Mike Shanahan. Can he still be The Ultimate Leader when nobody's following him?

by tuluse :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 2:42pm

Surely it has to be Spurrier or Zorn.

by Never Surrender :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 3:05pm

Spurrier, definitely. That was the ultimate splash-turned-flaccid acquisition in some ways.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 11:39pm

I vote for Zorn. Spurrier at least had a lot of teams considering him and thinking that he could be what Chip Kelly is now. Zorn was just a dumbfounding hire. First Snyder hired him to be the OC before he had hired a head coach, and then when no one wanted to be the head coach on a team that had just hired an OC, Snyder promoted him to HC. It sounds bizarre now, and it was equally bizarre at the time.

by apk3000 :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 8:54am

Wasn't it because somehow Jim Fassel's name got leaked and Snyder panicked over something (either the reaction or the fact it got leaked) and pulled the rug under Jim and suddenly promoted Zorn?

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 2:44pm

Well, there's also the Ol' Ball Coach.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 2:48pm

Beat me to it.

But, yeah, there are at least three Snydered choices for coach.

by theslothook :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 4:48pm

If there was a sophies choice between Snyder, Jerry Jones, or the late Al Davis for your team's owner/gm/despot - which of the three would people choose?

Sad as it is, I'd probably go with Snyder. There is a chance, remote that it is, that snyder one day hires(even by accident) a gm who basically tells him to piss off. Jerry won't and Al would sooner burn the raiders organization to the ground.

by tuluse :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 5:19pm

You picked the only owner who hasn't had a sustained period of success.

If you get the owners from the point where they bought their teams, I would take Davis first, Jones begrudgingly second, and never Snyder.

by Dennis :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 6:52pm

Davis was an excellent GM for a pretty long time. Unfortunately, he didn't know when it was time to quit.

by theslothook :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 9:17pm

Davis had snyder's penchant for trading away draft picks, but he also had a penchant for using an outdated methodology for success- namely, speed speed and more speed. He also clashed repeatedly with his coaches and gms to the point where the only people who would take the job were people who were never going to be hired in the first place - Hugh jackson, lane kiffen, tom cable, etc etc.

I almost went with Jerry, but jerry is the gm and thus has more power over the team than Snyder does(at least nominally). Jerry is choosing the players in the draft while Snyder is at least deferring to the gm on those decisions.

Ultimately, it comes down to which feels the most tenable. I think if snyder lucked into a good gm/coach, he'd defer so long as the team was winning. Jerry has a more direct involvement and Al was just crazy.

by tuluse :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 10:14pm

The Raiders made the playoffs 17 times in 40 years of Davis ownership. That's a 42.5% clip. They also won 3 Superbowls.

The Redskins have made the playoffs 3 times in 14 year, a 21.4% rate.

I think I'll stick with Al Davis. I mean this is Snyder while he's still in prime decision making years. Just wait until he's 80 and senile and lets see how his team does.

by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 10:34pm

Just so. Snyder is 49. When Al was 49, the Raiders had already been to two Super Bowls, winning one. There were still 3 more Super Bowl appearances and 2 Lombardi trophies in his future. I'm not clairvoyant, but I'm guessing Snyder's future is not that bright.

by Sporran :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 10:23pm

I'd take Davis. He can do the least harm at the moment.

by usernaim250 :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 1:56pm

1) Al Davis: a brilliant football man who merely had a bad spell when he got old. Even so, he has the most recent Super Bowl entrant.

2) Jerry Jones: smarter than Snyder and a better football man besides. More self-aware, more likely to trust good advice, less concerned with appearances. And closer to death.

3) Dan Snyder: as a die-hard Washington fan, I cannot think of one quality to recommend him beyond the knowledge that he won't pull a Glazers on the team and slash the payroll merely to increase profit. He's going to own the team for forty more years, so it's pretty grim.

by N8- (not verified) :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 7:32pm

Why do people even support this sad excuse of a team? Pick ANY other team until Snyderboy disappears. What dysfunctional franchise ever won a Superbowl? It just doesn't happen. It's much to difficult.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 11:41pm

I don't remember McNabb signing a contract extension with Washington. Did that actually happen?

by tuluse :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 1:27am

The Snyder era of Washington. So insane you start to question how things could have actually happened.

I do think it was one of those fake contracts, where 50% of the money was a non-guaranteed year when McNabb would have been 39, but still.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 11:46pm

Also, I expect better from Tanier on the Portis for Bailey trade. Bailey was a pending UFA who wanted out. The Skins had no leverage with him and didn't want to use the franchise tag because they knew he was unhappy. So even though he was a HOF player in his prime, his trade value was nothing because all the Skins could trade was his (rapidly expiring) negotiating rights. The real trade was Portis for a 2nd. Bailey was a throw-in, odd as it sounds.

by cjfarls- (not verified) :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 5:46pm

Umm.... DENVER received the 2nd rounder (which became Tatum Bell the luggage thief), not WAS. It was Bailey + a 2nd for Portis.

And in that way you could say Portis had no value either... I believe he had a year left on his contract, but had completely out-played it and was threatening a hold out, etc. unless he got a new deal. Plus his antics already had him in Shanahan's doghouse enough that it was widely speculated that if Portis held out, he'd might simply be cut.

Just was complete and total highway robbery, which as a Denver fan I love.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 6:10pm

A 2nd rounder for Portis wouldn't make it highway robbery, since Portis had many productive seasons for Washington. It's the throwing in Champ Bailey that was the crazy part. Would Denver have said no to the trade without him? Was there no other team that would have traded for Bailey (even with an expiring contract) separately? These aren't rhetorical questions. I'm wondering if anybody knows.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 9:47pm

cjfarls, either you are drunk or I didn't explain myself clearly. DEN sent Portis to WAS in exchange for a 2nd rounder and the negotiating rights to Bailey. I'm arguing that the central part of the deal was Portis for a 2nd and that Bailey's rights were a throw-in to make it look like WAS was getting some value from him. Maybe Portis was in Shanny's doghouse, but he was still under contract, unlike Bailey.

JoeyHarringtonsPiano, I have no idea if DEN would have said no to Portis for a 2nd without Bailey (seems like a fair trade, but Portis's perceived value at the time was higher). I honestly believe that the only other options for WAS were using the franchise tag on Bailey and trying to trade him (the Skins didn't do this because he made it clear he didn't want to be tagged and, improbably enough, they were trying to do the right thing), or just let him walk for nothing. Could they have traded him to another team without the tag? Probably not. NFL trades for expiring contracts are very rare which is why no one remembers that's what happened with Bailey.

by usernaim250 :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 2:14pm

No, actually the trade was worse than Tanier lets on.
a) Washington could have just waited a year and signed Portis to a free agent deal that likely would have been less costly than what they did pay him. They essentially gave up Bailey for one year on a rookie deal AND a pick in order to secure Portis for one year at top dollar. [They did this trade AND pay with Brunell and Brandon Lloyd too.]
b)Bailey hadn't played for Gibbs/Williams and might have changed his tune.
c) they already had Ladell Betts, who turned out to be perfectly serviceable and in the Gibbs offense, arguably nearly as good as Portis, but he didn't get off the bench until a few years later when Portis got hurt on a tackle after an interception in a preseason game. So all that money and a pick to mildly upgrade RB on an undertalented team with no pass rushers at all, godawful receivers, and below replacement linebackers, plus several total mediocrities on both lines and in the secondary.
d) Portis did not perform all that well in Washington. 5.2ypc was worth the money they paid him. But he was 4.1ypc in DC, just like Betts.

by usernaim250 :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 2:19pm

And don't forget that those high seconds and high thirds the Redskins gave away like candy were the most cap-efficient picks in the whole draft under the old CBA.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Sun, 12/22/2013 - 1:52pm

It wasn't a good trade. But Betts wasn't as good as Portis (not as durable), and trading an UFA and a 2nd for a good starting RB is better than trading a HOFer and a 2nd for a good RB. Most teams don't get to trade UFAs for anything at all.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 12/18/2013 - 11:50pm

PPS, I can't believe that Tanier, an Eagles fan, has anything positive to say about James Thrash's tenure in Philly. This was a rare case where the Skins utilized a player correctly (special teamer and 3rd WR) and Eagles didn't (starting WR).

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 12:10pm

It's fair to point out that calling James Thrash's Eagles career "good" is questionable. But it also doesn't make sense to suggest that Thrash was utilized "correctly" when they gave up a 5th round pick to acquire him....to fill a role that could easily be filled by a late-round draft pick or a relatively cheap free agent.

by usernaim250 :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 2:19pm

They didn't mean to use Thrash so much but they whiffed on WR draft picks.

by AB in DC (not verified) :: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 11:49pm

So here's the real question. Are these the Snyder-est players, or the Cerrato-est? Notice how few players were signed under Bruce Allen.

by theslothook :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:56am

having no cap and few draft picks will do that

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 12/20/2013 - 3:21pm

Though mentioned in passing. Tanier really should have given Jeff George a spot as back up QB on the All Snyder team. George was signed to back up Brad Johnson, and after all what team in the salary cap era wouldn't want to spend 4yrs $18.25 million for their back up QB. Especially when the said player has all the qualities you look for in a backup, never grouses or complains, never undermines the starter.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Sun, 12/22/2013 - 1:55pm

How do you choose between George and Rob Johnson?

by Hurt Bones :: Sun, 12/22/2013 - 2:30pm

George easily. 4yrs 18.25 mill to be a backup. Johnson 2yrs 4 million. They were both at the end of the line, but at least Johnson understood what being a backup is about. Having George on the bench as a backup is like volunteering to have cancer.