It’s reasonable to wonder whether anything actually changed when Washington restructured its front office, since the top two decision-makers — owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen — stayed in place.
But new senior vice president of personnel Doug Williams and those who know him insist that’s not the case.
In a lengthy profile by Liz Clarke of the Washington Post, Williams staked his claim to his independence in the job, describing his own input in the new structure which put him on equal footing with coach Jay Gruden.
“I’ve never been a ‘yes guy,’ ” Williams said. “Now, can I be someone who can talk things over and work it out? Yes. I know Jay well and Bruce well. And I know there are going to be times when we may not agree. That’s a good thing; that’s what scouting is all about.”
Ostensibly, Williams is over the top of the personnel process, with contracts and cap management in the hands of Eric Schaffer. But Snyder and Allen have put structures into place before which didn’t last, with the recent firing of General Manager Scot McCloughan after two years just the latest example.
Williams didn’t want to get into great detail when it came to defending his authority, and said his goal was to build consensus within the building. He created his own job description during the post-McCloughan shakeup, and those who know him well insist it’s legitimate.
Lawyer Cyrus Mehri, who represents the hiring equality advocate Fritz Pollard Alliance, forcefully disputes the notion that hiring the former Super Bowl MVP was a symbolic move, defending Williams’ credentials.
“Anyone with one iota of thought that this is window dressing needs to put that out of their mind because that would be, number one, inaccurate, and two, unfair to Doug Williams,” Mehri said.
But until Snyder and Allen leave a structure alone — and it works — people will continue to wonder whether the franchise will ever regain the kind of stability it enjoyed when Williams was playing.