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Is He Watching the Same Player I Am?

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?

  1. Doug - Jan 8, 2005 at 9:54 AM

    Len Pasquarelli has a gripe. He wasn’t the first to report Joe Gibbs’ return last year. Since then, he has not made any sense regarding the Redskins. I believe he said something to the effect that Joe Gibbs would leave town with his tail tucked between his legs. One should really just ignore him.

    As for Gardner, I think he is a party boy that the Redskins can do well without. We could have had Santana Moss when we drafted him, but that is water over the dam. If we can pick up a free agent like Plaxico Burris, or draft a Mike Williams, we should be in good shape. I think Taylor Jacobs and James Thrash will prove to be valuable receivers. Coles’ situation is up in the air. He’s a tough guy who doesn’t seem quite as capable of getting open deep as he used to be. If he can get his toe fixed, and we add 1 or 2 potential deep threats, we’ll be in good shape.

  2. Doug - Jan 8, 2005 at 1:54 PM

    Len Pasquarelli has a gripe. He wasn’t the first to report Joe Gibbs’ return last year. Since then, he has not made any sense regarding the Redskins. I believe he said something to the effect that Joe Gibbs would leave town with his tail tucked between his legs. One should really just ignore him.

    As for Gardner, I think he is a party boy that the Redskins can do well without. We could have had Santana Moss when we drafted him, but that is water over the dam. If we can pick up a free agent like Plaxico Burris, or draft a Mike Williams, we should be in good shape. I think Taylor Jacobs and James Thrash will prove to be valuable receivers. Coles’ situation is up in the air. He’s a tough guy who doesn’t seem quite as capable of getting open deep as he used to be. If he can get his toe fixed, and we add 1 or 2 potential deep threats, we’ll be in good shape.

  3. Dustin M. Czarny - Jan 9, 2005 at 2:36 PM

    I agree about Gardner. It is time to let 50/50 go. If we can get ANYTHING for him in the draft we should. Use him as trade up value to get Rolle if Smoot leaves or go ahead and trade him for a secound rounder or third. Let’s get some young ugys in who want to win and not stay up all night partying.

  4. Dustin M. Czarny - Jan 9, 2005 at 6:36 PM

    I agree about Gardner. It is time to let 50/50 go. If we can get ANYTHING for him in the draft we should. Use him as trade up value to get Rolle if Smoot leaves or go ahead and trade him for a secound rounder or third. Let’s get some young ugys in who want to win and not stay up all night partying.

  5. Muccman - Jan 9, 2005 at 8:22 PM

    Not only is Rod Gardner showing the Redskins that he’s just not worth it anymore, but I think that they are deep enough on the depth chart at WR so as to not worry aobut letting him go. Thrash is a solid option, Jacobs is young and fast and hasn’t had much of a chance to prove himself, and McCants has shown that he can come up with a big play if given the option. A free agent pickup such as Burress would be great though.

  6. Muccman - Jan 10, 2005 at 12:22 AM

    Not only is Rod Gardner showing the Redskins that he’s just not worth it anymore, but I think that they are deep enough on the depth chart at WR so as to not worry aobut letting him go. Thrash is a solid option, Jacobs is young and fast and hasn’t had much of a chance to prove himself, and McCants has shown that he can come up with a big play if given the option. A free agent pickup such as Burress would be great though.

  7. mbarnes202 - Jan 9, 2005 at 10:31 PM

    1. I agree Pasquerelli for some reason does not seem to like the ‘Skins. He does always seem to rip the ‘Skins, and, while perhaps half-deserved, he should be a bit more reserved.

    2. Gardner is at least a decent #2– compare him to other #2s in the NFC- say, Tai Streets, or Freddie Mitchell, or whoever is technically #2 for Chicago, (or #1 for that matter), or Jerry Rice, or a bunch of other #2s. His value is diminished by the fact he has only one more year on his contract, so a team’s not going to give much to a guy they’ll need to renegotiate with anyway in a year. But I could see us getting at least a #4 for him, maybe a #3. Maybe from Schottenheimer (they have two #1s).

    3. Sadly, I think McCants (whom I’ve always thought was a high-potential young WR) is gone. Bad practice habits, I guess, since he always seems to perform in games. But he’s another guy that maybe we can get something for. Any team acquiring him would have him at reasonable salaries, and we’d be stuck with the SB (already paid).

    4. So, with Gardner and McCants both gone, now we *do* need a new WR. But Burress? How would we afford him? Darrel Jackson got an $8MM SB last year, and Coles two years ago got $13MM. My guess is Burress will get something close to Jackson’s deal, maybe– maybe more? Anyway, with our investment in Coles, Portis, Brunnel (yech), Thomas, and Jansen (let alone what we’ll end up giving Samuels in his likely “re-structured” deal), how or why would we tie up so much in a FA WR? (A drafted WR, though, might be a different story.)

  8. mbarnes202 - Jan 10, 2005 at 2:31 AM

    1. I agree Pasquerelli for some reason does not seem to like the ‘Skins. He does always seem to rip the ‘Skins, and, while perhaps half-deserved, he should be a bit more reserved.

    2. Gardner is at least a decent #2– compare him to other #2s in the NFC- say, Tai Streets, or Freddie Mitchell, or whoever is technically #2 for Chicago, (or #1 for that matter), or Jerry Rice, or a bunch of other #2s. His value is diminished by the fact he has only one more year on his contract, so a team’s not going to give much to a guy they’ll need to renegotiate with anyway in a year. But I could see us getting at least a #4 for him, maybe a #3. Maybe from Schottenheimer (they have two #1s).

    3. Sadly, I think McCants (whom I’ve always thought was a high-potential young WR) is gone. Bad practice habits, I guess, since he always seems to perform in games. But he’s another guy that maybe we can get something for. Any team acquiring him would have him at reasonable salaries, and we’d be stuck with the SB (already paid).

    4. So, with Gardner and McCants both gone, now we *do* need a new WR. But Burress? How would we afford him? Darrel Jackson got an $8MM SB last year, and Coles two years ago got $13MM. My guess is Burress will get something close to Jackson’s deal, maybe– maybe more? Anyway, with our investment in Coles, Portis, Brunnel (yech), Thomas, and Jansen (let alone what we’ll end up giving Samuels in his likely “re-structured” deal), how or why would we tie up so much in a FA WR? (A drafted WR, though, might be a different story.)

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  10. Chris - Jan 11, 2005 at 4:30 AM

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