Nickel Package: Norv to Cowboys?

Nickel Package: Norv to Cowboys?

The Nickel Package 01.31.07--Many Redskins will be awfully happy if Norv Turner, as expected, is hired as coach of the Cowboys. Should they be?

1. Norv Turner to Dallas? Heaven help the Cowboys, who would go from one of the all-time greats to .... Norv Turner. But would it be a disaster? Discount what he did in Oakland because it has become an almost unwinnable situation. I was one of Norv's biggest detractors in Washington; he played favorites among the players and the media and I was not a favorite. His favorites were those who worked for the largest paper because they held the most clout. The rest? Some reporters who covered him for all seven years are convinced he would not know their names today -- and didn't know them then. My feeling is that he's a highly insecure person -- Mondays after losses were spent making excuses in private to a chosen reporter. It became a running joke among many in the building, including the GM. But his last few years in Washington were better than what we've seen under Joe Gibbs (Dan Snyder had yet to put his stamp on the franchise). But Turner never has been and never will be a strong leader. He thinks he can make something of any player -- it's why Michael Westbrook was chosen over Joey Galloway and Heath Shuler over Trent Dilfer. Given the talent, Turner will win. But there's a ceiling as to how far he can take a team, as if Redskins fans need to be reminded.

2. Contract renegotiations. Plenty of players will redo their deals provided the money is worth it to them. Mark Brunell does not want to go anywhere else; he knows his days as a fulltime starter are over. Jon Jansen wants to stay in town, too. We've talked to some players who say they want to see smarter decisions before they hand the organization more cash to spend wildly. Last year's offseason -- players knew Brandon Lloyd's rep in San Francisco and that Andre Carter wasn't going to make a big impact -- shook some players confidence in the front office. Still, I'll be surprised if most guys don't help out because what they want first and foremost is money; it's a business after all.

3. Art Monk. It's time. That's all we have to say. I did not grow up in Washington watching Monk perform every day, but I always knew he was a great player. And I can't believe he's not in the Hall of Fame. You don't average nearly 14 yards a catch by being simply a possession receiver. And if everyone knew the Redskins would go to him in clutch situations, yet he still caught the ball for a first down, doesn't that say something about him. Now that Peter King is in his corner, let's hope Monk gets in. A few years ago I chatted with Gary Clark about the Hall of Fame and he was adamant that he did not want to get in before Monk. We'll find out Saturday if Monk gets in.

4. Super Bowl. There's no doubt the Bears can win this game; they have a power rushing attack and a solid defense (missing too many guys to be great at this point). That's a large part of the formula that can be used to beat the Colts. But it's hard to go against Peyton Manning in this game. You have to wonder if just getting to this game has relieved a major burden, perhaps allowing him to play more loosely. But one thing he likes to do is get tight end Dallas Clark involved early in games. However, the Bears have the linebackers who can run with him and that should help. That's one thing I like about the Bears' D is how well the linebackers run. That was noticeable when the Redskins played them last year; there was a major difference between their unit and the Redskins. Still is. That said, I like the Colts.

5. Draft. More and more it looks like the best position to help will be the defensive line. That's where some of the most intriguing prospects are and it's where the Redskins need help. Two stand out who fit their needs: Clemson end Gaines Adams and Michigan tackle Alan Branch. Adams would give them the pass rusher they sorely need, but he needs to improve against the run. However, he's athletic enough to play as a linebacker in a 3-4 so he would add versatility. Branch would be able to play over the nose and be effective stopping the run. He's excellent at occupying blockers. The need for Adams is greater, but they still need more help at tackle as well. What they can't do is draft a corner that high. One name who has fallen: Michigan's Leon Hall. He was burned by Ohio State and USC and does not seem to play the ball well downfield.

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