You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
- Sometimes the best deals are the ones that you don't make. One in that category certainly would be any trade that removes Clinton Portis from the Redskins roster. It's good to know that Ladell Betts can tote the rock, but he isn't the home run threat that Portis is and you'd like your prime back to put the ball on the ground less often than he does. During the playoff run last year Portis was the heart, soul, and guts of an offense playing with one wide receiver and a gimpy, limp-armed quarterback. Washington goes nowhere without him. Even if you were inclined to trade him you couldn't get anywhere near full value for him coming off of two injuries. Look around the league, you'll find plenty of very productive RB tandems like Jones and Barber in Dallas, Jones and Benson in Chicago, Bush and McAllister in New Orleans, and Addia and Rhodes in Indy.
- I'm leaning towards thinking that the Redskins should shy away from another potential deal, one that would have them trading back from the sixth overall pick in the April draft. While there is merit in trying to parlay the pick into some multiple first-day selections, the Redskins need an impact player on defense. You can't always make up for reduced quality with increased quantity. Defensive end Gaines Adams or defensive tackle Alan Branch are likely to be there at #6 and the best course may well be to sit right there and take whichever one is still there.
- A few times since the season ended I've started to write long pieces on what went wrong with the Redskins in '06. It's really too simple, though, to ramble on about it for very long. The bottom line is that they weren't ready to play. Training camp was too easy; it started late, ended early, there were just a few two-a-days, some practices were held under the lights to keep them out of the heat of the day and there wasn't much contact. The "vanilla" schemes and plays during the preseason deprived the team of the opportunity to practice under live fire. Compounding the problem was the fact that the players thought that they were ready. They literally were shocked that the Vikings beat them in the season opener. They never developed any confidence and they never recovered.
- Every day that goes by without the Redskins announcing a new front office structure, one that would include a traditional general manager, it becomes less and less likely that it will happen. Hiring a GM is no guarantee of success but it's growing more and more obvious that the Skins' current setup isn't working. Joe Gibbs likes to point out the successful acquisitions like Marcus Washington via free agency and Chris Cooley in the draft. But there have been too many spectacular failures like the loss of a third-round pick for a one-season rental of T. J. Duckett and the massive cap hit that will result if and when Adam Archuleta's contract, the richest ever for a safety, is terminated this spring. Someone has to step between the impulses of Gibbs and his coaches and enforce what will be right for the long-term good of the franchise.
- The announcement that Mark Brunell had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, an injury that the team says happened in the second game of the season. This has many wondering out loud, very loud, why Gibbs started a quarterback with a bum arm for seven more games. Worse, the conspiracy theorists say, is the stage being set for yet another Brunell comeback. Pointing to Patrick Ramsey's one-quarter stint as the unquestioned starter in 2005 they say that Gibbs will make the excuse that Brunell was hurt and insert El Ocho back into the lineup at the first hint of Jason Campbell looking like he's in his first full year as a starter. While it's impossible to refute a theory about a future action, these folks are forgetting a couple of key differences in the '05 situation and the one now. The primary difference is Ramsey. He was not Gibbs' hand-picked quarterback of the future. Campbell is. When the Redskins put Ramsey on the market last spring the league reacted with a collective yawn. It became very apparent that the main misjudgment the Redskins made regarding Ramsey was not giving him a permanent seat on the bench but spending a first round draft pick on him in the first place. Campbell is Gibbs' guy and, while he is far from proven Gibbs will give him far more rope than he gave Ramsey.
Note: Following publication, we received information from the Redskins that Brunell's injury occurred during the second game against Dallas on November 5, not the second game of the season. This would mean that Brunell started just one more game, November 12 at Philadelphia, following the injury.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they moved to Washington for the 1937 season through 2001. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com
For complete, detailed Redskins salary cap information visit the CPND cap information center, compiled by resident capologist Robert Large.