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A Lone Voice Supports Gibbs

Mar 17, 2005, 11:53 PM EST


You’d think that with 3 Lombardi’s that
Gibbs could figure this cap thing out.

For most of last week, the silence was deafening among those in the DC and national sports media willing to defend the Redskins’ decisions to trade Laveranues Coles (thus eating the subsequent net $6 million cap hit) and to not up their offers to Antonio Pierce and Fred Smoot. The critics, on the other hand, were out in droves, with Wilbon saying that Gibbs and company were cooking “a meal that’s unpalatable”, his Post collegue Mike Wise talking about “utter upheaval over one of the worst offseasons in recent franchise history”, Dan Daly saying that “the loss of Pierce, Smoot and Coles were power punches directly to Gibbs’ midsection”, and so on. The national press followed the template established, that the Redskins “organization” or lack thereof really blew it here.

After that died down, the wise voice of one George Solomon, who has been on the staff of Post’s sports department forever, came through in his column on Sunday:

The Washington Redskins losing cornerback Fred Smoot to the Minnesota Vikings last week, on the heels of taking a salary cap whack as a result of the Laveranues Coles-for-Santana Moss trade and the recent loss of up-and-coming linebacker Antonio Pierce to the New York Giants, has many fans asking, “Who’s in charge of this team?”

And the answer would be Joe Gibbs.

Solomon continued:

To those who question whether he can succeed at managing a franchise when his previous role here was mostly coaching, Gibbs must want to ask, ‘Do you think running a NASCAR operation the last decade was simply about replacing spark plugs and buying team jackets?’

Gibbs, 64, signed a five-year contract last year at more than $5 million a season to be team president and coach. While his 6-10 team was a major disappointment to him and the fans, one can assume he has learned enough about his players, coaching staff, his boss, the salary cap and front-office personnel to be the right person running the operation.

That, of course, is the key question–is Gibbs the right guy? Time will tell, but Solomon leaves with one thought:

Choose a side on this Gibbs stuff, if you must, knowing once the race begins you can’t cross the track.

Special Signing

The Redskins signed former Buffalo safety Pierson Prioleau to a contract. He’ll provide depth at the position behind Sean Taylor and Matt Bowen, but that won’t be his primary role. It’s no secret that Prioleau (just when I no longer have to write about “Laveranues” along comes another impossible to spell name) was brought on to upgrade Washington’s special teams. From the Washington Times:

Prioleau, 27, led the Buffalo Bills in special-teams tackles (30) last season and has experience with three former Bills assistants now on the Redskins’ staff: assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams, safeties coach Steve Jackson and special teams coach Danny Smith.

Although the coverage units on special teams don’t gather many headlines, coach Joe Gibbs made it a priority to upgrade that area. Last year Smith was forced to piece together units with inexperienced players.

The result was inconsistent play on the kicking units including numerous fouls that could only be characterized as “dumb”. Gibbs said that Prioleau was just the first of “three to five” veteran types who would be brought on to bolster the special teams.

This has to make some of the team’s returning players, those who don’t start but also are liabilites on special teams, a bit nervious. Note to Andre Lott, Rock Cartwright, and Darnerien McCants: Don’t go singing any long-term leases around DC; go month to month through August if you can.

Courtney Brown

Back in 2000, the Cleveland Browns had the top pick in the draft and were focused on two Penn State players to choose. One was linebacker Lavar Arrington, the other was defensive end Courtney Brown. The Redskins wanted no part of Brown, clearly preferring Arrington. Playing the draft game to its fullest, Cleveland tried to bait the Redskins into trading up into the number one slot to ensure that they would be able to snare the stud linebacker. The Skins didn’t blink, Cleveland took Brown first and Washington got its man.

While Arrington has yet to develop into a consistent monster performer, it’s clear that he’s been better than his old Nittany Lion teammate through his career. Brown has been bothered by injury and inconsistency to the point where Cleveland released him last week. The Skins brought him in for a visit and a physical on Thursday. While they’re was talk that the team wanted to get his signature on a contract before he left town, Brown departed still a free agent.

Said Gibbs, quoted in the Post:

The best way for me to say it is we just had a good visit and [he] took a physical, and kind of went through a process there. We’ll just work through the rest of it. I don’t think there’s anything imminent.

This means that Brown came in hoping to get one of those offers the Redskins have made in the past few years, the ones where they bid against themselves and drive the price up so high that he couldn’t even think of leaving without signing. Apparently, that didn’t happen. Gibbs is not going to break the bank on a player who will be in a regular rotation at defenisve end at best. And if Brown won’t come on at his price, well, it will just leave a few more dollars to spend on those special-teams guys.

  1. Anonymous - Mar 18, 2005 at 2:49 PM

    Good to have you back, Rich. Great stuff. That said, while we all should believe in Gibbs, it doesn’t mean he can’t be criticized. Any way you look at it, and despite the repeated denials, the Coles cap hit played a bit part in us not being able to sign Pierce or Smoot. We might have been better off simply cutting Coles (if the league allowed Çoles to give the remainder of his bonus back). But that’s in the past now. What really bothers me is the rumored contract extension we’ve supposedly given Santana Moss — a contract that is supposedly bigger than what Jerry Porter got from the raiders and with a signing bonus in the eight figures. I mean, Santana could be a real nice player for us, but he doesn’t have the size or the toughness to ever be a true number one. So why are we going to pay him like one? And don’t give me any “the skins want to lock him up before he blows up and they can’t sign him” nonsense. No one is going to offer a 5’9 receiver who doesn’t go over the middle a Randy Moss type deal. And what does this do to disprove the feeling among Redskin players that the Redskins have no problem paying too much money to sign new players, but show tons of fiscal restraint when it comes to signing their own players? Samuels was the exception because they had no choice.

  2. Anonymous - Mar 18, 2005 at 2:49 PM

    Good to have you back, Rich. Great stuff. That said, while we all should believe in Gibbs, it doesn’t mean he can’t be criticized. Any way you look at it, and despite the repeated denials, the Coles cap hit played a bit part in us not being able to sign Pierce or Smoot. We might have been better off simply cutting Coles (if the league allowed Çoles to give the remainder of his bonus back). But that’s in the past now. What really bothers me is the rumored contract extension we’ve supposedly given Santana Moss — a contract that is supposedly bigger than what Jerry Porter got from the raiders and with a signing bonus in the eight figures. I mean, Santana could be a real nice player for us, but he doesn’t have the size or the toughness to ever be a true number one. So why are we going to pay him like one? And don’t give me any “the skins want to lock him up before he blows up and they can’t sign him” nonsense. No one is going to offer a 5’9 receiver who doesn’t go over the middle a Randy Moss type deal. And what does this do to disprove the feeling among Redskin players that the Redskins have no problem paying too much money to sign new players, but show tons of fiscal restraint when it comes to signing their own players? Samuels was the exception because they had no choice.

  3. Anonymous - Mar 18, 2005 at 6:49 PM

    Good to have you back, Rich. Great stuff. That said, while we all should believe in Gibbs, it doesn’t mean he can’t be criticized. Any way you look at it, and despite the repeated denials, the Coles cap hit played a bit part in us not being able to sign Pierce or Smoot. We might have been better off simply cutting Coles (if the league allowed Çoles to give the remainder of his bonus back). But that’s in the past now. What really bothers me is the rumored contract extension we’ve supposedly given Santana Moss — a contract that is supposedly bigger than what Jerry Porter got from the raiders and with a signing bonus in the eight figures. I mean, Santana could be a real nice player for us, but he doesn’t have the size or the toughness to ever be a true number one. So why are we going to pay him like one? And don’t give me any “the skins want to lock him up before he blows up and they can’t sign him” nonsense. No one is going to offer a 5’9 receiver who doesn’t go over the middle a Randy Moss type deal. And what does this do to disprove the feeling among Redskin players that the Redskins have no problem paying too much money to sign new players, but show tons of fiscal restraint when it comes to signing their own players? Samuels was the exception because they had no choice.

  4. Rich Tandler - Mar 18, 2005 at 3:57 PM

    While I think that some of those rumors about the Moss deal have gotten out of control, it does appear possible that the Skins have offered something significantly more than maket value for him. I’ve heard a signing bonus in the $7-8 million range.

  5. Rich Tandler - Mar 18, 2005 at 3:57 PM

    While I think that some of those rumors about the Moss deal have gotten out of control, it does appear possible that the Skins have offered something significantly more than maket value for him. I’ve heard a signing bonus in the $7-8 million range.

  6. Rich Tandler - Mar 18, 2005 at 7:57 PM

    While I think that some of those rumors about the Moss deal have gotten out of control, it does appear possible that the Skins have offered something significantly more than maket value for him. I’ve heard a signing bonus in the $7-8 million range.

  7. Anonymous - Mar 18, 2005 at 4:26 PM

    Why? Seriously, what is the reasoning behind this when we can’t even pay market value for the general of our defense last year? It’s indefensible.

  8. Anonymous - Mar 18, 2005 at 4:26 PM

    Why? Seriously, what is the reasoning behind this when we can’t even pay market value for the general of our defense last year? It’s indefensible.

  9. Anonymous - Mar 18, 2005 at 8:26 PM

    Why? Seriously, what is the reasoning behind this when we can’t even pay market value for the general of our defense last year? It’s indefensible.

  10. Rich Tandler - Mar 18, 2005 at 4:34 PM

    I’d suggest waiting for the actual deal to be announced before being outraged. It’s possible that the numbers being floated right now will find a more reasonable level before signatures go on the dotted line. If the deal does go off with the numbers that we’re hearing about now, I’ll join you in the “WTF?” chorus.

  11. Rich Tandler - Mar 18, 2005 at 4:34 PM

    I’d suggest waiting for the actual deal to be announced before being outraged. It’s possible that the numbers being floated right now will find a more reasonable level before signatures go on the dotted line. If the deal does go off with the numbers that we’re hearing about now, I’ll join you in the “WTF?” chorus.

  12. Rich Tandler - Mar 18, 2005 at 8:34 PM

    I’d suggest waiting for the actual deal to be announced before being outraged. It’s possible that the numbers being floated right now will find a more reasonable level before signatures go on the dotted line. If the deal does go off with the numbers that we’re hearing about now, I’ll join you in the “WTF?” chorus.

  13. Ed Parker - Mar 19, 2005 at 9:13 PM

    When looking at last year and this year’s free agency, think of a jigsaw puzzle. If you take 20 pieces from each of three different puzzles, it would be a miracle if they fit toghether, let alone made a comprehensible picture. While well motivated, Danny and Vinnie did exactly this. This is what Joe Gibbs inherited.

    First he had a QB who was a thrower and not able to manage a game. This led to another QB, filled with hope that the Gibbs magic would trump the obvious signs of rapid deterioration. The signs were right.

    Second he had WRs that, in three cases (Coles, Gardner, and McCants) were prima donnas. Third, he got an RB that was used to a very different system. And fourth, he inherited a fair offensive line whose balance shifted from three – two good to three to two mediocre/poor when Jansen went down.

    On the other hand, the rebuilt defense (9 new starters joining Smoot and Wynn) clicked BECAUSE the pieces fit. Yes, Williams had the most to do with it, but the philosophy was Joe Gibbs. It is the philosophy that is being used on the offense right now.

    First the Oline. The O goes nowhere that their blocking doesn’t take them. Get Jansen back and have a good center that is not prone to rookie mistakes, and the balance goes from 2 – 3 good to 4 – 1 good. Any line can cover for one weak member, and Dockery is only relatively weak. Without a swinging door on his right he might just concentrate entirely on his own responsibilities.

    I really like what Warner and Clemons did this past year, but a talent infusion (Brown and/or a high draft choice) could improve the front four, allowing more sophisticated coverages. Prielou is a reasonable 4th CB or 3rd safety in addition to being a special teams demon. Plus, he knows Williams defense coming in.

    When we look at the price limit placed on Pierce, Smoot and now Brown, it seems to be a recognition that lots of matching pieces fit into a coherent image.

    As for Pierce, I liked him a lot because of his intelligence. It remains to be seen if he will translate well to a different defense. Remember, he was so outstanding in the last training camp the team thought it needed a stopgap like Mike Barrow. I will watch Smoot’s translation to the cold weather black-and-blue division closely. I think he may find both the climate and the job demands more unfriendly than DC.

    As for Coles, he follows Bailey as an overpriced malcontent. Unlike Champ, his toe may have more to do with the cap hit than any other single thing.

    Joe inherited a jigsaw that no one could solve. Let him get his pieces, then judge whether the game has passed him by. I for one like what I have seen of this offseason.

  14. Ed Parker - Mar 19, 2005 at 9:13 PM

    When looking at last year and this year’s free agency, think of a jigsaw puzzle. If you take 20 pieces from each of three different puzzles, it would be a miracle if they fit toghether, let alone made a comprehensible picture. While well motivated, Danny and Vinnie did exactly this. This is what Joe Gibbs inherited.

    First he had a QB who was a thrower and not able to manage a game. This led to another QB, filled with hope that the Gibbs magic would trump the obvious signs of rapid deterioration. The signs were right.

    Second he had WRs that, in three cases (Coles, Gardner, and McCants) were prima donnas. Third, he got an RB that was used to a very different system. And fourth, he inherited a fair offensive line whose balance shifted from three – two good to three to two mediocre/poor when Jansen went down.

    On the other hand, the rebuilt defense (9 new starters joining Smoot and Wynn) clicked BECAUSE the pieces fit. Yes, Williams had the most to do with it, but the philosophy was Joe Gibbs. It is the philosophy that is being used on the offense right now.

    First the Oline. The O goes nowhere that their blocking doesn’t take them. Get Jansen back and have a good center that is not prone to rookie mistakes, and the balance goes from 2 – 3 good to 4 – 1 good. Any line can cover for one weak member, and Dockery is only relatively weak. Without a swinging door on his right he might just concentrate entirely on his own responsibilities.

    I really like what Warner and Clemons did this past year, but a talent infusion (Brown and/or a high draft choice) could improve the front four, allowing more sophisticated coverages. Prielou is a reasonable 4th CB or 3rd safety in addition to being a special teams demon. Plus, he knows Williams defense coming in.

    When we look at the price limit placed on Pierce, Smoot and now Brown, it seems to be a recognition that lots of matching pieces fit into a coherent image.

    As for Pierce, I liked him a lot because of his intelligence. It remains to be seen if he will translate well to a different defense. Remember, he was so outstanding in the last training camp the team thought it needed a stopgap like Mike Barrow. I will watch Smoot’s translation to the cold weather black-and-blue division closely. I think he may find both the climate and the job demands more unfriendly than DC.

    As for Coles, he follows Bailey as an overpriced malcontent. Unlike Champ, his toe may have more to do with the cap hit than any other single thing.

    Joe inherited a jigsaw that no one could solve. Let him get his pieces, then judge whether the game has passed him by. I for one like what I have seen of this offseason.

  15. Ed Parker - Mar 20, 2005 at 1:13 AM

    When looking at last year and this year’s free agency, think of a jigsaw puzzle. If you take 20 pieces from each of three different puzzles, it would be a miracle if they fit toghether, let alone made a comprehensible picture. While well motivated, Danny and Vinnie did exactly this. This is what Joe Gibbs inherited.

    First he had a QB who was a thrower and not able to manage a game. This led to another QB, filled with hope that the Gibbs magic would trump the obvious signs of rapid deterioration. The signs were right.

    Second he had WRs that, in three cases (Coles, Gardner, and McCants) were prima donnas. Third, he got an RB that was used to a very different system. And fourth, he inherited a fair offensive line whose balance shifted from three – two good to three to two mediocre/poor when Jansen went down.

    On the other hand, the rebuilt defense (9 new starters joining Smoot and Wynn) clicked BECAUSE the pieces fit. Yes, Williams had the most to do with it, but the philosophy was Joe Gibbs. It is the philosophy that is being used on the offense right now.

    First the Oline. The O goes nowhere that their blocking doesn’t take them. Get Jansen back and have a good center that is not prone to rookie mistakes, and the balance goes from 2 – 3 good to 4 – 1 good. Any line can cover for one weak member, and Dockery is only relatively weak. Without a swinging door on his right he might just concentrate entirely on his own responsibilities.

    I really like what Warner and Clemons did this past year, but a talent infusion (Brown and/or a high draft choice) could improve the front four, allowing more sophisticated coverages. Prielou is a reasonable 4th CB or 3rd safety in addition to being a special teams demon. Plus, he knows Williams defense coming in.

    When we look at the price limit placed on Pierce, Smoot and now Brown, it seems to be a recognition that lots of matching pieces fit into a coherent image.

    As for Pierce, I liked him a lot because of his intelligence. It remains to be seen if he will translate well to a different defense. Remember, he was so outstanding in the last training camp the team thought it needed a stopgap like Mike Barrow. I will watch Smoot’s translation to the cold weather black-and-blue division closely. I think he may find both the climate and the job demands more unfriendly than DC.

    As for Coles, he follows Bailey as an overpriced malcontent. Unlike Champ, his toe may have more to do with the cap hit than any other single thing.

    Joe inherited a jigsaw that no one could solve. Let him get his pieces, then judge whether the game has passed him by. I for one like what I have seen of this offseason.

  16. Marquez12 - Mar 19, 2005 at 10:40 PM

    I Agree With All The Moves

    Coles…In two years with the Redskins what was his longest touchdown? He never broke one. You would think that once he would have broken a big one. So I agree with make the trade happen to get Moss. Moss, although he is not a durable proven player, is undeniabley more explosive than Coles. Portis needs a deep through to actualize.

    Pierce…It was too bad but we have a lot of money in linebackers. Pierce had ONE good year.

    Smoot….Too bad he didn’t stay for less money, but they paid for Spring s last year. Sean Taylor and One Corner get the money.

    So, in summary, a downfield threat on offense is the most important off-season move. We had to get rid of Coles. A macontent who is NOT a big play receiver.

    Stop the hackneyed blogs for a General Manager.

  17. Marquez12 - Mar 19, 2005 at 10:40 PM

    I Agree With All The Moves

    Coles…In two years with the Redskins what was his longest touchdown? He never broke one. You would think that once he would have broken a big one. So I agree with make the trade happen to get Moss. Moss, although he is not a durable proven player, is undeniabley more explosive than Coles. Portis needs a deep through to actualize.

    Pierce…It was too bad but we have a lot of money in linebackers. Pierce had ONE good year.

    Smoot….Too bad he didn’t stay for less money, but they paid for Spring s last year. Sean Taylor and One Corner get the money.

    So, in summary, a downfield threat on offense is the most important off-season move. We had to get rid of Coles. A macontent who is NOT a big play receiver.

    Stop the hackneyed blogs for a General Manager.

  18. Marquez12 - Mar 20, 2005 at 2:40 AM

    I Agree With All The Moves

    Coles…In two years with the Redskins what was his longest touchdown? He never broke one. You would think that once he would have broken a big one. So I agree with make the trade happen to get Moss. Moss, although he is not a durable proven player, is undeniabley more explosive than Coles. Portis needs a deep through to actualize.

    Pierce…It was too bad but we have a lot of money in linebackers. Pierce had ONE good year.

    Smoot….Too bad he didn’t stay for less money, but they paid for Spring s last year. Sean Taylor and One Corner get the money.

    So, in summary, a downfield threat on offense is the most important off-season move. We had to get rid of Coles. A macontent who is NOT a big play receiver.

    Stop the hackneyed blogs for a General Manager.

  19. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2005 at 11:44 PM

    I have to say, the more I’ve thought about it, the departure of Smoot reminds me an awful lot of the departure of Martin Mayhew back in the day. Mayhew was a decent cornerback, but Tampa Bay bid him up to a price much higher than the Redskins thought he was worth. He ended up playing a few forgettable seasons in Florida. Fred Smoot will be doomed to the same destiny–nobody will remember who he is particularly after the Redskins defense increases its dominance in ’05 (finally time for team to gel, Arrington back, etc.).

  20. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2005 at 11:44 PM

    I have to say, the more I’ve thought about it, the departure of Smoot reminds me an awful lot of the departure of Martin Mayhew back in the day. Mayhew was a decent cornerback, but Tampa Bay bid him up to a price much higher than the Redskins thought he was worth. He ended up playing a few forgettable seasons in Florida. Fred Smoot will be doomed to the same destiny–nobody will remember who he is particularly after the Redskins defense increases its dominance in ’05 (finally time for team to gel, Arrington back, etc.).

  21. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 3:44 AM

    I have to say, the more I’ve thought about it, the departure of Smoot reminds me an awful lot of the departure of Martin Mayhew back in the day. Mayhew was a decent cornerback, but Tampa Bay bid him up to a price much higher than the Redskins thought he was worth. He ended up playing a few forgettable seasons in Florida. Fred Smoot will be doomed to the same destiny–nobody will remember who he is particularly after the Redskins defense increases its dominance in ’05 (finally time for team to gel, Arrington back, etc.).

  22. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 11:03 AM

    The same will be said of Gardner and Coles. If the Redskins do well, and Gardner and Coles don’t (I think a very good possibility), it will be reminiscent of Charlie Brown from the 80′s. He was never that good after he left the Redskins.

  23. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 11:03 AM

    The same will be said of Gardner and Coles. If the Redskins do well, and Gardner and Coles don’t (I think a very good possibility), it will be reminiscent of Charlie Brown from the 80′s. He was never that good after he left the Redskins.

  24. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 3:03 PM

    The same will be said of Gardner and Coles. If the Redskins do well, and Gardner and Coles don’t (I think a very good possibility), it will be reminiscent of Charlie Brown from the 80′s. He was never that good after he left the Redskins.

  25. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 12:46 PM

    Martin Mayhew couldn’t carry Smoot’s jock? Number two corner or not, Smoot gave up one — only one — touchdown all year last season. Mayhew almost gave up one a game.

  26. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 12:46 PM

    Martin Mayhew couldn’t carry Smoot’s jock? Number two corner or not, Smoot gave up one — only one — touchdown all year last season. Mayhew almost gave up one a game.

  27. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 4:46 PM

    Martin Mayhew couldn’t carry Smoot’s jock? Number two corner or not, Smoot gave up one — only one — touchdown all year last season. Mayhew almost gave up one a game.

  28. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 5:18 PM

    Whatever. Everybody was crying sick about losing Champ last year. Guess what? The Redskins did just fine without him, and don’t even try to tell me Smoot is better or even as good as Champ. Don’t you think the Defensive coaches just might know a thing or two? They must have concluded that Smoot, as good as he is, was not so completely critical to the success of the defense. GW’s defensive schemes rely more on pressuring the quarterback than shutting down the receivers with top corners anyway. You watch. Our secondary will do fine and no one will be crying for old Freddy, even though we all like him and would have preferred that he stayed.

  29. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 5:18 PM

    Whatever. Everybody was crying sick about losing Champ last year. Guess what? The Redskins did just fine without him, and don’t even try to tell me Smoot is better or even as good as Champ. Don’t you think the Defensive coaches just might know a thing or two? They must have concluded that Smoot, as good as he is, was not so completely critical to the success of the defense. GW’s defensive schemes rely more on pressuring the quarterback than shutting down the receivers with top corners anyway. You watch. Our secondary will do fine and no one will be crying for old Freddy, even though we all like him and would have preferred that he stayed.

  30. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2005 at 9:18 PM

    Whatever. Everybody was crying sick about losing Champ last year. Guess what? The Redskins did just fine without him, and don’t even try to tell me Smoot is better or even as good as Champ. Don’t you think the Defensive coaches just might know a thing or two? They must have concluded that Smoot, as good as he is, was not so completely critical to the success of the defense. GW’s defensive schemes rely more on pressuring the quarterback than shutting down the receivers with top corners anyway. You watch. Our secondary will do fine and no one will be crying for old Freddy, even though we all like him and would have preferred that he stayed.

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