Some silly comments from Redskins' officials this week, contending that, if they don't release wide receiver Rod Gardner before camp starts, they still don't want him at practice. The guy is under contract and, as such, the Redskins can't deprive him the right to earn a living. Excusing him from offseason workouts is one thing. Trying to keep him out of camp, where he has the contractual right to participate, is another.
I put the term "reporter" in quotes because Lenny P. always editorializes in his "reports", which are supposed to be news and not commentary. And, when it comes to the Skins, he just flat out hates them. Here are the facts on this matter:
First of all, Lenny, those "silly comments" first came from Joe Gibbs himself in a press conference at minicamp. During a press conference he flatly said that Gardner would not be participating in camp, end of story. Apparently, Lenny did not catch that statement, which was only reported in both of the DC major dailies as well as here, on Redskins.com and anywhere else that reports on—not editorializes about—the Redskins.
As for the "right to earn a living" and "right to participate" nonsense, from where does Lenny get that? Didn't he ever hear about the Bucs "deactivating" Keyshawn Johnson a couple of years ago? The archives don't go back that far, but I'm sure that it was a move that Lenny roundly applauded at the time because Jon Gruden was the one who did it. They kept Johnson on the roster, they paid him what money he was due, and they barred him from participating in practice; in fact, they barred him from the team's facilities altogether. How this is different from what the Redskins plan to do with Gardner is unclear. As long as he's on the roster he'll get paid whatever money he is due as though he was in camp. That kills the "right to earn a living" count in Lenny's indictment.
The Redskins will keep Gardner right up until the minute they need the cap space to sign Jason Campbell or Carlos Rogers. In fact, they probably have the cap room needed to sign one of them and still keep Gardner. That may be a few weeks as the signing of first-round picks is proceeding at a snail's pace. In that few weeks, a receiver for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations could sustain a season-ending injury and that team might be willing to give up a draft pick to acquire a replacement. The odds are against that, but there's no point in the Redskins releasing Gardner until they absolutely have to on the slim chance that it may happen. And, contrary to what Lenny P says, they have every right to do so.
Speaking of Redskins who are unlikely to be on the final 53-man roster this year, there is news that the Redskins have given Barrow permission to seek a trade. His saga has gone full circle in the last couple of months. After he missed all of last year with a knee injury and was slow to rehab during the offseason. It seemed virtually certain that he would be a June 1 cut, with the Redskins gaining $1.7 million in cap space in the process. He avoided The Turk, however, and was seen at minicamp working out and appearing to move quite well. It looked like he was back on the depth chart at middle linebacker, perhaps at the head of it. With this week's report, however, it's obvious that the Redskins were not quite as impressed by Barrow's progress as they seemed to be a month ago. This means that Lemar Marshall and Warrick Holdman will compete for the starting job at middle linebacker, the spot that is the heart of Gregg Williams' defense.
By his nature, the Redskins' Assistant Head Coach—Offense is not the shy and retiring type. He's one of those people whose presence is generally felt, even in a place full of other high-power personalities. At the recent minicamp, however, the offensive line coach was nowhere to be found or heard from. Last year, he was front and center. He couldn't wait to give his new offensive line a new nickname, The Dirtbags. Then came the regular season and the offense flopped with the line taking its share of the blame. The line was called a lot of variations of "Dirtbags", most of which are unacceptable to recount here. It seems that Bugel has learned his lesson—a line needs to accomplish something before it gets a nickname. The Hogs were well on their way to Super Bowl XVII when their moniker became public knowledge. Bugel is being quiet about this group, and that's the smart thing to do. Should they perform successfully we'll hear plenty from Boss Hog.