The Redskins, an abysmal 30th on offense in 2004, were a
solid 11th 2005. However, Saunders just concluded five years running the NFL's
most productive offense in Kansas City. And where the Redskins' offense came
undone in the 2005 playoffs, managing just 120 yards in its wild card victory
at Tampa Bay, the fewest ever by an NFL playoff winner, and gained just 145
through three quarters in the next week's loss at Seattle, the Chiefs racked up
408 yards and 31 points in their only postseason game in Saunders's scheme.
Although Saunders' playbook rivals the Manhattan telephone
directory in thickness, it hasn't been a tough transition to his system for the
Redskins since Saunders and Gibbs are both disciples of former Cardinals and
Chargers coach Don Coryell.
While Santana Moss blossomed into a Pro Bowl receiver in his
Washington debut last season, the production from the rest of the Redskins wide
receivers was seriously lacking. David Patten, James Thrash, Taylor Jacobs and
Jimmy Farris combined for just 48 catches, 529 yards and no touchdowns.
No wonder Saunders couldn't wait for free agency to start on
Mar. 11. Within two days, Washington had traded for San Francisco's Brandon Lloyd and signed fellow wideout Antwaan Randle El of Pittsburgh, who combined
for 83 catches, 1,291 yards and six touchdowns last season. Lloyd, whom Gibbs
calls "a classic outside receiver" has the edge heading into training
camp over Randle El, whom the coach praises for his versatility as a receiver
and kick returner. Longtime NFL starters Patten and Thrash are now spare parts
while Jacobs and Farris shouldn't survive camp.
On defense, Adam Archuleta should be an upgrade on the
smaller and less athletic Ryan Clark at strong safety, but the big move was
signing defensive end Andre Carter. The question is whether Carter is the
player who recorded 12-1/2 sacks for the 49ers in 2002 or the one who had just
13 in the three seasons since? Some of that dropoff can be explained by Carter
missing nine games in 2004 following the removal of a cyst from his sciatic
nerve and by his unhappy move to outside linebacker after the 49ers switched to
a 3-4 defense last year. Still, Carter comes to Washington with something to