Santos and the Skins
by Chris Russell
Jun 01, 2014 -- 10:47pm

Alex Santos replaced Morocco Brown officially on Saturday as Director of Pro Personnel for the Washington Redskins.

This is a decision that will get absolutely no fanfare. No buzz. Nobody will bat an eye lash. Why? Because it's not sexy. It's not the name game. It won't be on Deadspin. Hell I don't even know if ProFootballTalk would even care. It's a decision that is everything a football organization should be more concerned with. It's a winning move. Finally.

Santos gives the Redskins some quietly good public relations. Something they need. He gave them the chance to promote from within. Take care of their own. Don't let good hardworking people go out the door, like they did with Brown.

This decision should come as no surprise. This was a strong possibility from the moment Brown decided to leave for the Cleveland Browns.

So who is Alex Santos? The answer to that is complicated.

Santos has been a scout on the pro side for the last six years, and has been with the Redskins in their personnel department since 2006.

He's a former player with North Carolina State, where he was a teammate of the man he replaces Morocco Brown.

The two were joined at the hip in some ways and are pretty tight. Certainly, the Redskins knew of that relationship and figured that Santos was deserving and if they didn't recognize that, somebody else (Browns) would.

“I appreciate the opportunity this organization has given me,” Santos said. “I am honored that I am able to continue to grow within the NFL ranks with the Redskins organization,” Santos said via statement.

It is believed to be the first time that Santos was ever quoted in his tenure with the Redskins, certainly during my five years covering the team.

Most fans never even knew his name until Saturday. Santos was the logical choice to replace Brown, and with each passing day, I wondered what was taking so long.

I'll admit, the Redskins do a lot of things that make me scratch my head. They take their time with some issues that are pretty obvious and then they seem to rush the thought process on a lot of others.

I've known Santos for four years. We spoke for a while on Thursday night about all sorts of things. Life, the Redskins, food. Some of the things we talked about would make you laugh or shake your head. Anything from what people eat on pizza to my current, confusing personal situation.

He never mentioned anything about the job, even though I knew he was the favorite. He had to be feeling like he was the lead dog. He told me on Saturday when I ran into him and wished him congratulations that he found out on Friday night.

Santos is somebody that hasn't had to deal with the media. Naturally, it is an uncomfortable situation and I wouldn't expect him to change.

He is a work first, talk later type of guy. Santos has toiled in relative anonymity for years with Redskins fans, but not within Redskins Park.

I've had many conversations with people of influence who trust Santos. He's liked but more importantly respected by the coaches. Some of which are new, some of which have known and worked with Santos for four years.  

His ability to lead the pro scouting staff was and is very important. AJ Smith and Doug Williams have their roles, but they are not working the same hours and doing the grunt work that Santos and his staff will be doing.

Santos will be in charge of the pro  department, but he still reports to Scott Campbell, who has been part of the Redskins fabric for a long time and who oversees the entire scouting staff as a whole.

Campbell is on the road from late August until late November, overseeing the college scouting and leaving the professional side to those at Redskins Park. If that stays the same, Santos will correspond with Campbell in much the same way Brown did.

From my perspective, the Redskins would be wise to figure out some sort of way to have Campbell be at Redskins Park more during the college football season and therefore the bulk of the NFL season.

Santos will have plenty of help, but there might be a few bumps in the road. Even if there are no issues, it would allow Campbell to balance his roles better and probably pay more benefit short and long-term than the current method allows.

With Mike Shanahan gone and Morocco Brown removed, the Redskins have replaced that duo with essentially Jay Gruden and Doug Williams. Not sure how anybody can look at that as anything other than a step backwards. It might be a step forward but that will have to be proven over time.  

Make no mistake, this is a set-up that Bruce Allen was comfortable with. He's in charge. His reputation is on the line, and that's it. Certainly not Santos, at least within the public eye.

For the Skins and Santos, it's sink or swim time as an organization.  He's had some input on how a (3-13) roster has been re-shaped to a point where most fans and NFL pundits (including myself) expect them to contend strongly for a division title.

If he wants to be considered for a general manager position one day, the best way to do that is by winning now and next year and the year after that.

If that happens, great. If it doesn't happen, one person (Allen) will truly absorb the blame.

I'm just happy that the Redskins did the right thing finally. They didn't by Morocco. They needed to do this. They needed to reward their own. People see this and think 'that's what I can be' or they want to work harder and better, so that benefits the Redskins and the personnel department.

Think about how you are at your job. I know that's how I operate. When you feel there is upward mobility, you shoot higher. You work harder, more diligently, more passionately.

Let's put it this way, after Thursday's interesting yet bad public relations decision, it was good timing that the Redskins ended the week on a positive by taking care of somebody that earned their moment in the sun..

Chris Russell- -

Return to: Chris Russell Blog