Redskins’ ties to Scot McCloughan are fraying, and the GM deserves better

GM Scot McCloughan watches a 2015 game. The Redskins’ GM has been absent from the NFL Scouting Combine this week. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Whether coincidental or clumsily intentional, it’s fitting that Scot McCloughan and the Washington Redskins are apart this week when they should be united at the NFL’s premier offseason event. The distance between the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and wherever McCloughan is — Home with family? Locked in Daniel Snyder’s panic room? — symbolizes the disconnect between two parties that still ought to be enjoying a blissful, budding relationship.

Instead, there’s chaos. McCloughan, the general manager who loves draft preparation as much as playoff games, is absent. It could be just as he and the team characterized it: time off to tend to family matters still lingering after the death of his 100-year-old grandmother, Marie McCloughan, on Feb. 6. But this break also comes during a tense period for the franchise and its chief talent evaluator. It’s true that the McCloughan family is grieving. It’s also true that, at work, McCloughan is dealing with a vicious bout of office politics that threatens to unravel the progress that Washington has made the past two years.

The problem isn’t that McCloughan is away right now. It’s that his relationship with the team has become so awkward that every action seems like drama leading to a doomed conclusion. For that, don’t blame the scrutinizing media. Blame Bruce Allen for leading a front office that has been determined to discredit McCloughan and minimize his popularity over the past two months.

Allen, the team president who hasn’t fully dismissed himself from his previous GM duties, has silenced McCloughan. He has spurred the narrative that McCloughan had a subpar second draft and free agency and needs to do better, even though it’s too early to make a definitive declaration about last year’s draft and even though McCloughan, overall, has done good work in only two years. Allen has tried to shift responsibility for Kirk Cousins’s contract debacle to McCloughan. He is also said to blame McCloughan for leaking several negative stories, even though Redskins Park is one of the leakiest buildings in sports because the team does so many foolish things.

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