The Redskins Have Changed

Those who think that the Redskins will make a serious play for Terrell Owens haven't been paying attention to the way things have been run the past two years.

Listen up: Redskins have changed

Somebody isn't paying attention. When it comes to the Redskins these days, it's time to realize they've altered their approach. Yes, they still like to spend money. No, they won't just throw it at every big name that becomes available.

Unless, of course, that person can coach. But that's another matter.

That's why I never thought Terrell Owens would be headed to Washington. But it's still widely assumed the Redskins will chase every name out there because of what they had done in the past.

With Joe Gibbs, however, it's a different ballgame. Not that he doesn't like free agency; he loves it.

But he also values what players bring in addition to talent.

And Owens brings headaches.

So, too, does Sean Taylor; that much is evident. But Taylor is not considered a bad teammate or disruptive in the locker room. He's just immature, but he's a quiet guy and does not speak ill of teammates. Gibbs can live with some problems if a player is productive on Sundays. For reference, see: Riggins, John; Manley, Dexter. The notion that he has only ''saints'' on his team is ridiculous.

But he also values how a player is as a teammate. He wants talent, but he doesn't want disruptive forces. Owens has criticized teammates in San Francisco and Philadelphia. What makes anyone think the same thing won't happen wherever he goes next? Gibbs knows this. He often talks about how people will tell him about a particular player, ''But you can change him.'' To which he says,

''This guy has been this way for 20 years, what makes you think I can change him?''

The other thing is, Washington can't afford someone like that financially. Not without lots of manuevering and replacing departed veterans with unproven kids. The Redskins need depth and this would prevent them from achieving that goal.

But sign Owens? I never thought they would. You just need to pay attention to the signs.


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