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Blueprint for Success: How the Dolphins’ 2019 opponents were built
Our weekly series that examines how the Miami Dolphins’ 2019 opponents built their roster, and what lessons Miami can glean as they build theirs.
This is the fifth of a series that examines how Miami’s 2019 opponents built their rosters, and what lessons the Dolphins can glean as they build theirs.
Team: Washington Redskins.
Coach: Bill Callahan (interim).
Team president: Bruce Allen (10th season).
Team owner: Dan Snyder.
Franchise value: $3.4 billion.
2018 record: 7-9 (third in the NFC East).
Last playoff appearance: 2015 (lost in the Wild Card Round).
Last Super Bowl championship: 1991.
Total 2019 payroll: $179 million (24th).
Total 2019 AAV: $152.3 million (29th).
Salary cap space: $13.9 million (17th).
Dead money: $10.9 million (10th most).
Percentage of homegrown players: 57.
Overview: In a vacuum, the Redskins seem to do a lot of things right. They hoard draft picks, with eight current starters coming from the 28 selections made in the past three years. They have the most valuable asset in football: a first-round quarterback on a rookie contract (Dwayne Haskins). They develop and try to extend the best of their own (like Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Morgan Moses and Jordan Reed). And unlike in times past, the free agent contracts they do hand out are largely responsible (Josh Norman’s record-breaker notwithstanding). They have the ninth-youngest team in the league and will probably have some $80 million in cap space next year. So why are they a complete dumpster fire who could legitimately threaten the Dolphins for the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft? The short answer: team owner Dan Snyder. There’s no organizational structure in place that will allow the Redskins to succeed, despite whatever team president Bruce Allen says. The Redskins arrive in Miami this weekend with an interim coach, having fired Jay Gruden after an 0-5 start. Granted, things would likely look much different if $20 million quarterback Alex Smith wasn’t out for the year — and perhaps his career — with a broken leg. And Williams holding out — not over money, but a dispute with the team’s medical staff — doesn’t help either. But that doesn’t begin to explain what has gone wrong in the nation’s capital. A major issue, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, is “the disconnect that exists in the building between personnel and coaching.” Gruden reportedly did not want Washington to draft Haskins. Snyder and Allen did anyway. Linebacker Zach Brown was apparently another example of the front office forcing a player onto the coaching staff. (At $3 million, the since-cut Brown is the biggest dead money figure on Washington’s salary cap). Until Snyder changes his way — or sells the team — it’s hard to see how any of that changes.
The lesson: Hope Stephen Ross stays in his lane. So far, he has let Chris Grier do his thing, even if he disagreed with decisions (like drafting Minkah Fitzpatrick and not Lamar Jackson) at the time. Will Ross have the patience to see the rebuild through? Or will he get antsy after this season? Again, much of Washington’s plan has been sound. The execution has not.
He said it: “We’ve really done a really good job in the first half of the first five games. We just haven’t put it all together. I think our second half performance can improve. That’s an area of focus that we’re always working on to get better. I think overall, we just haven’t put a full game together. That’s the goal and that’s the challenge for us. I think we’re a talented football team. There’s no question we’re a talented football team. Like I said, we have to find ways to put it together and be more consistent in every area.” — Redskins interim coach Bill Callahan.