Blog: Tough Salave'a Back at Practice

Joe Salave'a is a major asset

Tandler's Redskins Blog Ver. 08.04.06--Joe Salave'a returned to Redskins Park today after missing the first two days. He's one of the best people, if not necessarily one of the most talented players, on the team. Plus a look at what might be up Al Saunders' sleeve this year and one columnist on the need for nurturing.

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

I may have said this way too often, but Joe Salave'a is one tough sucker.

He played last year in ungodly pain in his foot, pain caused by plantar fasciitis that would have had most of us calling in sick to our day jobs. After one game he was standing there in his bare feet patiently answering my questions, probably hearing all of them for the tenth time. He never complained, never begged off to go to the trainer's room.

Salave'a was a late arrival at camp following the death of his mother in Samoa. "I think I need these guys more than they need me, just to get over this." he said.

The Redskins are a better team due to his presence as a player and, perhaps more importantly, as a man.

Surprise!

The Redskins offense will be full of surprises for the opposition this year. I mean, if you're going to have your running back throw a bomb to a wide receiver in an open practice, well, imagine what Al Saunders is holding under wraps.

While the offense isn't that different from last year's in terms of its foundation and its terminology, the variety of plays and gadgets that will be employed will increase dramatically under Saunders. This is a change from the approach that Gibbs has used which was to run fewer plays but execute them to perfection and dare the opposing defense to stop them.

You do have to be somewhat concerned about the execution aspect when it comes to 700 pages of plays in the playbook, especially in the beginning. Regardless of how much you may be fooling the other defense, if your execution is sloppy the plays will break down.

When I asked him about this, Saunders told me that they wouldn't call any plays that they didn't feel that the players had a good enough handle on to properly execute. The bottom line is that these guys are pros and if the Kansas City Chiefs can learn to execute the offense well enough to be among the league leaders in offense year after year the Washington Redskins can as well.

This just in: Williams will coach whoever is there

Mike Wise had a good column about Andre Carter in Thursday's Post. The part worthy of discussion, though, came in the opening of the piece when Wise talked about Gregg Williams and showed that he (Wise) doesn't quite get it:

There was a telling moment Tuesday in Ashburn when Gregg Williams was asked whether he had worried Andre Carter might choose Denver over Washington during free agency. He could easily have said that not acquiring a pass-rusher of Carter's ilk might hurt the defense. But Williams couldn't let his prideful self go there.

"Had he made a choice to go somewhere else, good riddance," he said, sneering. "That's fine."

What a nurturing way to let players know where they stand, no?

If there's one thing that I've learned about this coaching staff is that they don't worry about players who aren't there. I remember talking to Greg Blache last year when his defensive line was going through a major rash of injuries. He said, "I can only coach the players who are here. If a player's here, I'll coach him. If he's not, I can't coach him." Williams expressed similar sentiments.

If the coaches aren't going to worry about players who aren't there, why in the world would they worry about players that they never signed in the first place.

It appears from the article that Carter's father, former NFL defensive lineman and Redskins coach Ruben Carter, gave him plenty of nurturing. If he came to the Redskins, or any other NFL team for that matter, in search of it he came to the wrong place.

Wise is starting to grow on me as a columnist, except when he has wimpy, Alan Alda type moments such as this one.

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