A Feast on the East: The Washington Redskins

Since Daniel Synder's purchase of the Washington Redskins three years ago, he has yet to field a team that has won against the hated Cowboys from Dallas. Forever to be known as the Snyder Curse it has caused the diminuitive Internet guru and Chief Redskin to hire his fourth head coach in less than three years.

Steve Spurrier brings his Fun-N-Gun offense to the pros along with an ego just a few millimeters smaller than Snyder himself. The self professed offensive genius will revamp an offense that was last seen run by the Warren Moon led Houston Oilers.

The similarities of the Run-N-Shoot and the Fun-N-Gun are scary. The read react offense requires the quarterback and receiver to see the very same defensive keys and then adjust on the fly. When it works it's a tough offense to defend.

Spurrier likes to run this offense with a tight end. Something the Oilers did not utilize and the basic reason the Run-N-Shoot has gone the way of Butch hair cream and the fedora. But in short yardage a team needs to move bodies and Spurrier's offense boasts enough beef up front to do so. If…

If Spurrier is not so enamored with his play calling that he foregoes the running game featuring Stephen Davis and tries to throw the ball to the junior varsity receivers he has on the Washington Gators team.

Rod Gardner and Jaquez Green will be the starters in this offense at wide receiver. Neither player strikes fear in the hearts of defensive backs around the league.

Gardner's highlights on the official Redskins page list his Clemson days. This isn't what one would expect from the high octane offense that Spurrier's 5 million a year should bring.

Green doesn't fair well either by having 157 career catches in 5 years of NFL play. His journeyman-type work caused him to be replaced by the Buccaneers with Joe Jurevicius. His deep speed is impressive but his catching ability isn't intimidating.

Marry all this with the Redskins quarterback situation and you will question what Spurrier is trying to accomplish. This concoction that caused the coaching staff to give the defensive pass coverages to the offense before plays in a mini-camp so the offense would complete an occasional pass and is run by Shane Mathews.

Mathews, late of the Chicago Bears showed the world his less than stellar skills as he took over for an injured Jim Miller in last years play-offs and promptly gave up any hope of a comeback for the Bears. A career back-up, Mathews played for Spurrier back when the helmets were leather and the flying wedge was legal in 38 states.

But the ho-hum on field leadership doesn't stop at Mathews. Spurrier, in his attempt at trying to resurrect the careers of past Gator greats that failed in the NFL has traded for Danny Wuerffel.

Since winning the Heisman Trophy, Wuerffle has gained the attention of the fans by being released by New Orleans after three dismal years. He played for the Rhein Fire and was the third string inactive back-up for Green Bay. His nickname Danny Awful sums up his lackluster career in the NFL.

But there is hope inside the Beltway and that comes in the form of defense. It starts with Snyder actually having a lick of sense and hiring Marvin Lewis, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens. He masterminded the most potent defense to ever play the pro game in the 2000 Ravens Super Bowl Champs. You might remember the offense that year didn't score a touchdown for 5 straight games and the Ravens won most of those contests.

But a coach is only as good as his players and Lewis has a ton of talent on this team. The linebacking corps may be the best in the business. Jessie Armstead who up until this season was a mainstay for the New York Giants has moved to the weakside for the Redskins.

Jeremiah Trotter was signed away from the Eagles to play the middle. He brings fierce blitzing ability and is competent at the run.

Lavar Arrington will finally have the freedom to be the player he was drafted to be. He will be given the opportunity to run to the ball and he brings a load at the point-of-attack. He will eventually be a year ‘round Pro Bowl player and will cost the Redskins a pretty penny when he comes up for a new contract.

Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot are in the top 5 of cornerback tandems in the league. They play press coverage as well as anyone and make the defense that much more intimidating.

Sam Shade is not a household name at safety and will never be. And the defensive line anchored by Dan Wilkinson is the weak point on this side of the ball.

Making his farewell tour is Bruce Smith, the 18 year veteran that was on the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl teams. He will be required to play more than his 39 year-old body should be asked to do. But he plays hard and tough and can still on a rare occasion turn back the hands of time.

Marco Coleman was let go and replaced by Renaldo Wynn of Jacksonville. Coleman signed with the Jaguars, which amounted to a trade. Jacksonville got the better of that deal.

Santana Dotson was brought in from Green Bay to shore up the middle of the defensive line. And there are rumors, however remote, that Sam Adams is of interest to the Redskins. If they miss the boat on Adams they have the worst defensive line in the East and that will wear down the rest of the defense as time passes.

The only player of note in the Redskins draft was Patrick Ramsey from Tulane. Daniel Snyder offered Marty Shottenheimer the option to retain his job in the 2002 season if Marty would give up his GM duties. Marty demurred and Snyder brought in Spurrier, who has about as much interest in drafting players as Elton John does in a lifetime subscription to Playboy.

Snyder ran the draft, ala Jerry Jones and reached for the quarterback. Only a strong showing in the Senior Bowl elevated Ramsey but still he was projected no higher than a third round pick. Snyder wheeled and dealed and moved to the last slot in the first round to take a player Spurrier didn't want.

The defense will keep this team close but the offense will struggle. Most teams, save for the Detroit Lions, will not be accommodating enough to give out the defensive coverages and thus the Fun-N-Gun will sputter like Grandpa's Packard. It will take too many games before the Redskins offense is in sync and by then the defense, which should be one of the best in the league will be worn out. Three and out tends to do that to the defenders, and there will be plenty of those in D.C.

Vegas posts the odds on about anything worth betting on and by mid October there will be a line on when Spurrier will be fired. If he fails to solve the Snyder Curse it could be after Thanksgiving.

With a guaranteed contract he could be the one giving thanks.

The Redskins will win 6 games this year and be in contention with the Giants for last place in the East.

Signed/Resigned: Eddie Mason LB, Kato Serwanga CB, Derrius Thompson WR. Santana Dotson DT GreenBay, Tim Englehardt DT DNP, Jaquez Green WR Tampa Bay, Rod Jones G Rams, David Loverne G (trade) Jets, Shane Mathews QB Chicago, Larry Moore OG Indianapolis, Carl Powell DE Chicago, Sean Powell DT NFLE, Jeremiah Trotter LB Eagles, Kip Vickers G Baltimore, Renaldo Wynn DE Jacksonville.

Lost: Shaun Barber LB to Philadelphia, Marco Bahalia TE to Tampa Bay, KiJana Carter RB to Green Bay, Robert Jones LB to Green Bay, Keith Lyle S to Atlanta, Marco Coleman DE to Jacksonville, Stephen Alexander TE to San Diego.

Drafted: Patrick Ramsey QB Tulane, LaDell Betts RB Iowa, Rashad Bauman CB Oregon, Cliff Russell WR Utah, Andre Lott DB Tennessee, Robert Royal TE Louisiana State, Reggie Coleman OT Tennessee, Jeff Grau ST UCLA, Greg Scott DE Hampton, Rock Cartwright FB Kansas State.

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