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Need to Know: Buckle your seat belts, Redskins fans

Need to Know: Buckle your seat belts, Redskins fans

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 29, the day the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.

Buckle your seat belts

It looks like we are about to enter crazy time, folks.

The firing of Mike Shanahan appears to be inevitable. It is likely to happen by the time the sun sets on Redskins Park on Monday.

Redskins fans should beware. We are about to enter a winter edition of the lying season, the annual ritual that comes around draft time every year. Don’t believe everything you hear. In fact don’t believe any of it.

It has already started. ESPN reported yesterday that Penn State coach Bill O’Brien is the “overwhelming favorite” to land the Houston Texans job. Many Redskins fans were lamenting that one of the most attractive candidates in the market was no longer in the market.

But O’Brien has not signed a deal. In fact, Texans owner Bob McNair has let it be known that “the process continues” and that the organization will interview more candidates in the coming week.

That doesn’t mean that O’Brien isn’t still the favorite to get the job. But it does mean that the Redskins will at least have a chance to talk to him if there is mutual interest between the coach and the team.

But where did word that O’Brien has the Texans job in hand come from? Somebody with motivation to leak the information. Here’s what Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said about it:
But here’s the question to ask.  Why would someone leak word of a potential deal between the Texans and O’Brien prematurely?

The goal of the leaker could be to help push a deal to conclusion.  The goal of the leaker could be to blow a deal up.  The goal of the leaker also could be, quite simply, to curry favor with the persons to whom the information was leaked.

The goal of the leaker also could be to nudge another candidate (e.g., Lovie Smith) to do a deal first.
In the PFT post (which all Redskins fans should read as we enter this crazy time), Florio recalls last year when multiple outlets reported that there was a “95 percent” chance that Andy Reid would get the Arizona Cardinals’ vacant coaching job. Reid ended up on the sideline in red this year all right but it was Kansas City Chiefs red.

So, brace yourselves. The reports, rumors, and speculation are about to go into hyperdrive. Stick with us here and at CSNwashington.com as Tarik El-Bashir, the rest of team, and I break it down and sort it out for you day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

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In case you missed it

Sunday 12.22

Monday 12.23

Tuesday 12.24

Wednesday 12.25

Thursday 12.26

Friday 12.27

Saturday 12.28

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.