Random Thoughts

If the Redskins hadn't traded all their draft picks, they could have selected a corner in, say, the third round (there is depth at this position in the draft) and groom him. Instead, they have to try and find aging veterans.

. . . Why the Redskins are interested in Bobby Taylor. Clearly Taylor can still play, though at what level remains to be seen. But it makes me wonder this: would he come here to start or play as a nickelback? And what does that mean for Fred Smoot, whom they tried to peddle last year (despite their denials; too many people around the league told me otherwise). Would they do so again? Or is this just for added depth. I can't imagine Taylor willing to settle for a backup role this far from training camp.

If the Redskins hadn't traded all their draft picks, they could have selected a corner in, say, the third round (there is depth at this position in the draft) and groom him. Instead, they have to try and find aging veterans.

I also wonder what this means for Rashad Bauman. I like Bauman's toughness, but he's too short to be a starter. Darrell Green could do it because of his makeup speed, which Bauman lacks. And Green was taller than Bauman.

And, yes, Gregg Williams likes to play five defensive backs -- so does every coordinator. Hey, if you can get Walt Harris or Taylor, that's fine. It would help.

. . . Here's where my pitch for Sean Taylor comes in: with Taylor in the lineup, he could be used as an extra corner because of his speed in certain alignments. What a luxury that would present. There's no better way to disguise a coverage than to have a versatile safety such as Taylor.

. . . How big a chance the Redskins took on Clinton Portis. One unnamed executive told Pro Football Weekly that the reason Portis wanted a new deal from Denver is because he was broke. Another NFL source told us that Portis was not known for being a good teammate, and clearly didn't fit the Joe Gibbs prototype. At Miami, Portis supposedly was very rough on one of his backups, Willis McGahee.

``I feel sorry for whoever plays behind Portis in Washington,'' the source said.

But if he rushes for 1,800 yards, Portis will be worth the gamble. At least in the short-term.

. . . How much Cory Raymer has left as a player. If Raymer is close to what he was the last time he was here, then the Redskins would be fine at center. I didn't fully realize Raymer's value until he left. The Redskins haven't replaced him. I like Lennie Friedman, but his size (a little more than 280 pounds) is a concern.

. . . What Kenny Holmes has left, too. He's done nothing in New York the past few years as a supposed rush end. But Gregg Williams knows him well and maybe that will help. Most likely it wouldn't.

. . . Why the Redskins keep pursuing all these linebackers. Actually, I'm not. They're doing so because good depth at this position make for strong special teams. But, again, this is where the lack of draft success hurts them. Better drafting would already have left them with this depth. I hate to harp on it, but it's why the Redskins haven't been above .500. They're always patching together a roster with free agency instead of rounding it out. Let's hope that starts to change.

. . . If the players are as excited as the city about Joe Gibbs' return. Those we talked to say they are, but others, like LaVar Arrington, have a wait-and-see attitude. Can't say I blame them. But it'll be clear at the first minicamp next weekend how big a difference Gibbs makes. And that's when the players will get excited.

. . . How the contract mess will impact Arrington. He says he won't let it bother him on the field, but if it consumes him off the field, then it will hurt. And soon you have an angry guy, one who really, really wants to stay in town. As much as I wanted Champ Bailey to re-sign, it was always clear that Arrington was the one who longed to stay.

. . . How wedded the Redskins are to the idea of holding training camp at Ashburn. I know it will be there this year, but the following year remains uncertain. Gibbs had so many other things to worry about that he agreed to camp here to make his life easier. But if it doesn't work out, they'll head elsewhere next summer. And he remains a big fan of Carlisle, Pa.


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