ASHBURN, Va. -- Bruce Allen said it after Mike Shanahan was fired. And nothing will change now that Jay Gruden has been hired.
Allen is in charge. There will be a shared approach to decision-making, but ultimately one person must have final say. In the past four years it was Shanahan. This time it won’t be Gruden.
“It will be my responsibility,” Allen said.
As a first-time head coach, Gruden should not be granted ultimate power. He’ll have enough to worry about as a head coach -- and play-caller -- to dabble that much in personnel, too. Morocco Brown will be the director of pro personnel; Scott Campbell the director of player personnel. Former San Diego general manager A.J. Smith, currently a senior executive, could have a greater role in the future (he did not earn high praise for how he worked with the coaches in San Diego; Marty Schottenheimer said in "A Football Life" that he learned of roster moves at times through the media).
But Allen said Gruden’s time in Cincinnati should prepare him for the current setup.
“The coaches were really involved with the personnel office,” Allen said. “We’ll make our selections based on the Redskins choices. The scouting department will give us the players and the list, and we’ll work through with the coaches and analyze it. Every player will be chosen as a group.”
But Allen has to prove he can build a winner as the primary decision-maker. He said he does not feel any more pressure than he previously did, though it's also true that general managers don't often stick around long enough to make a third hire if the first two don't work.
“We have to get it right,” he said. “We need to get the franchise back on track in a winning direction. That is a responsibility, but I’ve felt that responsibility every day.”