Redskins Report

When defensive tackle Darrell Russell came to Washington in late October, he said the coaches told him their plans for him. Those plans, he said, never materialized. And his play never came close to justifying his return.

Russell knows it. Which is why he wasn't surprised to learn that Washington would not re-sign him.

``Not really,'' he said while loading personal belongings into his SUV at Redskins Park. ``It wasn't like I was getting a lot of playing time to make this [decision] a surprise. Maybe my style of play isn't what they were looking for.''

Russell was not well-suited to the Redskins' defensive scheme, which used an under tackle and a nose tackle. The emphasis was on occupying blockers so the linebackers could make plays. Russell was used to lining up over the guard and trying to make plays on his own.

Not that he did much of either in Washington, recording only four tackles in eight games. He also weakened hope for his return when he missed practice on Christmas Day, saying he got lost and his car broke down while returning from an aunt's house. That, coupled with a history of missing meetings while in Oakland and poor production here, led to the Redskins saying he wouldn't return.

``I didn't really match their defense,'' he said. ``Their defense is more linebacker-oriented. The guys up front were formulated to make sure they positioned themselves in the best position for the linebackers to make plays. I'm used to a defense where the pressure is on us and if we don't produce then the defense isn't successful. I'm used to having first dibs on the guy with the ball. Sometimes that makes it difficult for the guys behind you, when you penetrate as much as I penetrate.''

Despite that, Russell said he's glad he signed with Washington in late October.

``They gave me an opportunity to come back,'' he said. ``I don't have a bad word to say about this organization. In this game people are hired and fired every day. I have to take that in stride. It won't bring me down. I know I'm a great player. If I didn't match this defense I'm not bitter.''

. . . Needless to say some of the Redskins assistant coaches, and others in the organization, weren't pleased with coach Steve Spurrier telling them to keep their cell phones on so he could notify them of any staff changes. They feel it's a less-than-classy way to let coaches know their future. We agree.

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