Cutting Larry Johnson was bound to raise eyebrows in Washington sports media. Recently anointed WaPo columnist and former Redskin LaVar Arrington is one of the first into the fray as his column calls into question the decision making policy of Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen. Arrington questions whether the new regime had the proper foresight when they brought both Johnson and Willie Parker into camp:
Look, I'm trying to understand how all these so-called football geniuses weren't able to see that he didn't fit before now, that's all. I have a very difficult time believing that five carries over two games were enough to conclude that Mr Johnson didn't fit in the scheme
I think the obvious answer is the one that Jason Reid of WaPo posited in his column earlier today, Johnson couldn't play special teams and wasn't much of a receiver, so they brought in a player who could play special teams, and promoted Keilan Williams who can also catch the ball. This isn't something new and crazy with Mike Shanahan. He has been playing running back roulette for YEARS. There is a reason that during his tenure with Denver Shanahan was know as fantasy football kryptonite, as you never knew which of the 5 running backs on the roster was going to get the majority of carries from week to week. Shanahan has always juggled/cut running backs, and this is only making news because the running back in question is "Larry Johnson former 1,700 yard rusher" and not Joe Blow from the practice squad.
However, as much as I disagree with Arrington's assessment of the cut, it is his next piece of analysis which completely fries my brain. Evidently, cutting Johnson is proof that Mike Shahahan doesn't want to be in this job for the long term, and is merely keeping the seat warm for his son Kyle Shanahan:
This move makes me wonder if we really brought in the engineer of those Super Bowls in Denver or another ticket-seller like Steve Spurier or, you guessed it, Joe Gibbs his second time around? I'm just asking, does this guy still have it or is he just another on a long list of coaches who came back to make a couple dollars and position his son to be a head coach?
Actually, I think cutting a guy who isn't producing is a demonstration that you are actively involved in the team, and that you care about improving it on a daily basis. It demonstrates a level of micro-management that we haven't seen at Redskins Park in years. It also sends a clear message to a veteran Redskins team that if you don't produce, then you can find employment elsewhere. Its the move of someone who wants to win. Something the Redskins didn't do much of during LaVar's time with the Redskins.