COACHING CAROUSEL: Joe Gibbs is not only a Hall of Famer
from his three Super Bowl victories with the Redskins from 1981-92, but he's
also the team president. He has two more years left on his contract, and at
66, he plans to fulfill those. Gibbs also said in early December that top
lieutenants Gregg Williams and Al Saunders would be back. After the season,
Gibbs indicated that he expected his staff to remain intact.
Despite some difficulties reconciling the freewheeling
style of new play-caller Saunders and the conservative nature of Gibbs, the
offense came on strong. All of the offensive coaches will be back unless
game-planner Don Breaux, 66, retires.
The defense's collapse won't affect Williams or mainstays
Greg Blache and Dale Lindsey. However, cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray is
reportedly a candidate for the coordinator's job at Texas, his alma mater,
while safeties coach Steve Jackson could be let go in the wake of Sean Taylor's down year and Adam Archuleta's horrendous debut season in Washington.
Special teams coach Danny Smith did a great job and isn't
FREE AGENT UPDATE: The only starters who are free agents
are guard Derrick Dockery, linebacker Warrick Holdman and strong safety Vernon Fox.
The Redskins want to re-sign Dockery, who had his best
year in 2006 and fits in well with the rest of a solid offensive line.
However, recent history suggests that when Washington doesn't get a holdover
signed before the end of the season, he's gone (linebacker Antonio Pierce and
cornerback Fred Smoot in 2004 are the prime examples).
Holdman has been just a guy during his two years as a
Redskin. His replacement on the weak side, last's year second-rounder, Rocky McIntosh is already on the roster so he'll be allowed to test the market at
Fox, 27, was a stopgap starter after Archuleta went
belly-up and 35-year-old replacement Troy Vincent got hurt. Fox is a very good
special teams player, but he shouldn't play regularly on defense. He's
grateful to the Redskins for giving him a chance to start and figures to
re-sign, barring an unforeseen better shot to play elsewhere.
FEELING A DRAFT: Washington traded its second-rounder to
Denver for the right to take McIntosh last year, its third-rounder to Denver
in the three-way trade that brought running back T.J. Duckett from Atlanta in
August, and its fourth-rounder for Lloyd.
The Redskins will draft for defense for the fourth
straight draft for the offensive-minded Gibbs. A pass-rushing end should
follow: Taylor (fifth overall in 2004); Rogers (ninth, 2005) and McIntosh
(35th in 2006).
Washington won't pick again until the fifth, sixth and
seventh rounds and with apparently no Julius Peppers type-end in the draft
would be smart to trade down in the first round and add another selection,
perhaps a second-rounder.
Defensive end: When you set a team record for fewest
sacks (19), you need a serious pass rusher.
Cornerback: Springs will be 32 in March and missed half
of last season with a sports hernia, a tender hamstring and a fractured
shoulder while the younger corners all struggled.
Middle linebacker: Marshall, Washington and McIntosh are
all best on the outside. The Redskins need a true run-stopper.
MEDICAL WATCH: QB Mark Brunell had surgery to repair the
labrum in his left shoulder Jan. 8. The injury occurred in his second-to-last
start (Nov. 5 against Dallas) and is expected to keep him sidelined four to
five months. The Redskins said that Washington (left elbow). McIntosh (right
knee) and Fox (pectoral muscle) all went under the knife last week. Samuels
(left knee), Wynn (right elbow) and Washington (left hip) still have