Canidate, Fiore Offer Different Images

The enduring images of both players makes me both sad and thrilled. Sad because Dave Fiore, who was released by the Redskins Tuesday, could have helped the Redskins. If he was healthy. Thrilled because Trung Canidate, also released, was a complete waste.

In both cases it's mental snapshots that sum up their time here. For Canidate, it came down to two plays, one in practice and one in a game.

The first is well-known, the hit by Matt Bowen during training camp. While everyone rightly loved the play by the defensive guy, it was the non-play by the offensive guy that concerned me. Certainly, Canidate could not have known Bowen would lay a lick on him like that.

But he knew Bowen would at least make contact. Yet Canidate never showed instincts as a runner on this play. He never lowered his shoulder, never braced for contact. Instead he ran straight up leaving himself vulnerable to a big hit. And this is how he ran most of the season.

In the other play -- I don't remember which game it was -- Canidate did the unforgiveable. He ran a sweep to the left side and gained probably six or seven yards. A nice gain. Except . . . he ran out of bounds with the closest defender still five yards away. That's no exaggeration. And that's not the kind of runner you win with.

At times Canidate was OK. But every time he gained seven yards it appeared he could have gained more. And he rarely broke tackles. True, he had speed -- but he rarely outran anyone and he wasn't nearly as quick as he was fast and the former is more important than the latter. That speed is why Dan Snyder -- yes, this was his call -- wanted to trade for him. Maybe it was worth the gamble and he only cost a fourth-round pick. But he was never going to be the answer to anything.

As for Fiore there were doubts about his health when he got here. Everyone said the same thing: great guy, hard worker, good guy in the locker room. But . . . he's not healthy and will have problems. Yet they penciled him in as the starter and he had problems. At least they were prepared to have someone replace him, having drafted Derrick Dockery.

I felt bad for Fiore because he desperately wanted to play. He became very frustrated with his situation, yet he always handled it with class. For several weeks the media had to ask him after nearly every practice what his status was. We'd wait for him by the front doors, ask him the same questions and wish him luck. Then we'd repeat the scene the next day.

But every time he answered those questions, knowing we had a job to do. It's hard not to root for a guy like that. And it's even harder to watch his release because of it. The Redskins had no choice and this was no surprise. Joe Bugel had said several times he wondered if Fiore could play. Among the coaches biggest concerns were the amount of nagging injuries along the line. You can't bring back a guy with a history of knee problems.

That's just reality. It's also just too bad.

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