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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kaufman: Messy departure coming in D.C.

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Published:   |   Updated: December 15, 2013 at 08:10 AM

TAMPA — By any name, the Washington Redskins are a mess.

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wrote a primer on franchise dysfunction through eight games, the Redskins have picked up the soiled script and added a few nasty chapters of their own.

This time, the owner is also involved in an array of off-field issues that have contributed to a 3-10 start, one season removed from an NFC East title.

This three-ring circus in the nation’s capital has plenty of blame to go around.

The central figures are owner Dan Snyder, coach Mike Shanahan and second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III. If you’re looking for general manager Bruce Allen to provide some clarity for this car wreck, move on.

Nothing to see here, people.

The concerns are a bit murky, but it is becoming evident that Snyder and Griffin have enjoyed a cozy relationship, to the growing consternation of Shanahan. That’s standard procedure for Snyder, who is on his seventh head coach in 14 years and has no clue how to build a league power.

Shanahan’s 24-37 record in Washington doesn’t lend him a lot of credibility, either, but the man lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy in back-to-back years with Denver.

Snyder specializes in lifting eyebrows.

In pro football, the coach-quarterback relationship is sacrosanct. At least it should be. Each side must be assured there’s mutual trust ... or the partnership can quickly dissolve.

We saw it happen at One Buc Place with Josh Freeman and coach Greg Schiano.

By cuddling up to Snyder, who might as well add the title director of football operations to his business card, Griffin undermined Shanahan’s authority.

Former Lightning general manager Rick Dudley had no wiggle room for malcontents who didn’t follow the protocol of the team’s organizational chart.

Dudley loved to tell the story of a hockey player who appeared in his office, complaining about a head coach who just happened to be Dudley’s choice behind the bench.

Within seconds, Dudley picked up the phone on his desk and called a rival executive. Then he turned back to the agitator cowering in front of him and issued a simple directive:

“Pack your bags ... you’re out of here,’’ Dudley snapped.

Dudley had been a player and a head coach in the NHL, so he didn’t need human resources training to deal with a potentially sensitive situation.

Griffin has now been benched in favor of Kirk Cousins, and Shanahan is almost certainly coaching his final three games on the Washington sideline.

“It’s not the right time or place to talk about my relationship with Dan Snyder,’’ Shanahan said after last week’s 45-10 loss to Kansas City at FedExField, where fewer than 1,500 fans stuck around for the two-minute warning.

There will be a new sheriff in town next season, but make no mistake ... Snyder remains the chief of police.

This is a storied franchise that used to boast Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks.

In Tampa, the Glazers are the anti-Snyders. They don’t offer up sound bites — and they don’t offer safe haven to whiners.

Pack your bags, Shanny. You deserve better.

ikaufman@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7833

Twitter: @IKaufmanTBO

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