Jan 8, 2005, 12:42 AM EDT
I rarely rip players here and only occasionally do I take journalists to task. Here goes with both:
In an article on ESPN.com, Len Pasquarelli presents the not-so-shocking news that Rod Gardner is on the trading block.
He has been the subject of trade rumors for the past two seasons and it appears that, for Redskins wide receiver Rod Gardner, the rumblings might finally become a reality this offseason. Several sources have apprised ESPN.com that Gardner definitely will be offered up in trade talks after a 2004 campaign in which his numbers dipped for a second consecutive season.
So far, so good. Gardner’s performance has steadily declined over the past two years from a peak (1006 yards) that wasn’t all that high to begin with. He’s supposed to be reaching his prime in the third and fourth years of his NFL career, not sliding backwards.
Well, that’s my view anyway. According to Lenny:
Gardner is an excellent No. 2 receiver and, while the Washington coaches have no complaints about his work ethic or demeanor, it seems there has been a mutual understanding that it is time for him to move on. The Redskins feel they can get a middle-round choice for Gardner, who should have a pretty decent market, given the number of franchises seeking to upgrade at the position.
Excellent? Reggie Wayne is excellent. Donald Driver is excellent. Issac Bruce is excellent. I could go on through a few more excellents, some very goods, then to the OK’s and adequates. Then we’d come to Rod Gardner.
And if the coaches don’t have a complaint about his work ethic, fine. But there is something wrong with the consistency of effort given by a player who has a knack for making a spectacular play on one chance and then dropping the next easy one, one who has a great game and instead of that being his breakout game he absolutely disappears for weeks on end.
If the Redskins can get mid-rounder for him, great. Perhaps some team will look at the films and decide that Gardner’s struggles aren’t all his fault and take a flyer on him for a fifth-round pick. There may be some truth to that given the Redskins quarterback instability and Steve Spurrier’s failed offensive schemes. If I was an NFL personnel guy looking to deal for him, however, I’d have to wonder why a guy who can get it done some of the time can’t get it done all of the time.
As for Lenny, he would have been OK had he just let it go with the “excellent” evaluation of Gardner. However, as he is prone to do, he had to go on and show his distaste for and bias against the Redskins organization in discussing the hiring of former Jacksonville offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave as quarterbacks coach (at the time of the posting of Pasquarelli’s article, the deal had not yet been confirmed; it has since been announced).
The team paid lip service this week to getting more vertical in its passing game next season. But if the Redskins hire deposed Jacksonville offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave as quarterbacks coach, which is anticipated, one has to question the resolve to stretch the field. Musgrave is a West Coast offense proponent and the chief gripe about him from Jaguars players was that he was predictable in his play-calling and rarely challenged secondaries deep.
Excuse me, Len, but what exactly does Musgrave’s play calling have to do with his position with the Redskins? About a half dozen guys would have to be in the hospital on game day for Musgrave to ever call a single play for the team. He will prepare the quarterbacks each week exactly as Joe Gibbs instructs him to. Now, Len, you know that but you write tripe like that anyway. Why?
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