Redskins GM: 'You can blame me'

ByJohn Keim ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ASHBURN, Va. -- Redskins general manager Bruce Allen promised changes, vowing a full evaluation of the organization while also defending his five-year track record, during an at-times-testy 40-minute news conference Wednesday.

The Redskins have gone 28-52 in Allen's five-year tenure and are coming off a four-win season, his first as the main football man in the organization. In the previous four seasons, Mike Shanahan had the bulk of the power, although he did not make every big decision.

Allen assumed control of the football operations after Shanahan was fired in December 2013. The Redskins went 4-12 in coach Jay Gruden's first season, only a one-game improvement from 2013. That has led to an organization in deep introspection.

"We're going to start a full evaluation of everything," Allen said as he took questions from the media for the first time since Aug. 12. "Look into the way we acquire players, looking at the way we coach players, looking at the way the players prepare in the offseason and in-season and make sure we correct the problems."

"There are going to be changes to the way we do business."

There were no specifics as to which changes would be made, and it's a similar sentiment to the one Allen expressed after firing Shanahan. But the Redskins did not look better on the field in 2014 and enter the offseason with many needs, including trying to settle on a quarterback. They've finished last in the NFC East six of the past seven years and have posted double-digit-loss seasons in five of the past six.

"You can blame me," Allen said. "I'm responsible for what happens with this organization. It's my job, no matter who you are with the Washington Redskins, to make sure we have the right people in their jobs.

"We understand 4-12 is not acceptable to our great fans, and it's not acceptable to anyone in the building. I feel awfully responsible for it. We're going to make sure we hold everyone accountable for everything that happened."

Allen expressed confidence in the personnel department, saying he's seen how it works and how it has evaluated talent, and that the Redskins won in 2012 with this group "and I know this group will do it again."

One change that did occur Wednesday morning was the ouster of fifth-year defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. Allen said he'd look at anything that could help the organization, but it did not sound as if there would be an increased role for executive A.J. Smith. Allen also did not feel he was under too much responsibility serving as both president and general manager.

"It's not too much on your plate," Allen said. "I don't mean to be repetitive, but if we can find a winning formula that's going to help this team win, we'll do it, and that includes me. If it meant mowing the lawn out there every day Tuesday, I would mow the lawn every darn Tuesday. I want to win. This is my job, and my responsibility is to try and figure out how to do that."

Allen said the Redskins will have at least $20 million in cap space this offseason -- and can create more with several moves. They'll also have a draft pick in every round, including the No. 5 pick.

"Over the next month or so, we'll have this thing going in the right direction," Allen said.

Related Video