Rick Snider has covered the Redskins for 23 years and is the Washington Examiner columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
"No experiments," said Joe Gibbs.
The final three weeks aren't some early-bird preseason games for 2007 to Gibbs. He doesn't want to bench injured players. He doesn't want to play reserves. He wants to win three more games.
OK, I can buy that to some degree. But here's my trump question -- what the heck is Jason Campbell about other than getting ready for 2007?
Campbell has shown some potential, but if we're being honest the Redskins chances of winning any particular game are probably better with veteran Mark Brunell. Indeed, Washington probably would have beaten Philadelphia on Sunday with Brunell.
This isn't a criticism of playing Campbell. In fact, it's the best thing. But starting Campbell is really about the future so Gibbs is talking out of both sides of his mouth when saying no experiments. Oh well, this is Washington -- land of double talk.
Jon Jansen is playing despite a broken thumb and very sore calf. He played last season with two broken thumbs so that's not a problem, but the calf has diminished his play in recent weeks. Is Gibbs saying the Redskins are better off with Jansen playing on one leg than a healthy backup? The injury probably can't get any worse so Jansen will play, but sometimes a coach needs to step in because all players think they can play hurt.
Then there's Casey Rabach. The center broke his hand against Philadelphia. Rabach wants to play and Campbell benefits from a seasoned vet. However, Rabach's play has been spotty this season and a bad hand won't help.
The NFL isn't like college with 100 players and a backup nearly as good as a starter in many instances. There isn't a second team to simply plug in over the final weeks. However, there would be nothing wrong in giving rookies Rocky McIntosh and Reed Doughty some playing time to learn whether they're factors for next year. What's the down side -- going 4-12? Actually, that would have an upside of moving higher in the draft.
Traveling to New Orleans on Sunday looks like a loss. Playing in St. Louis the following week is a tossup. The season-ender against the New York Giants that might need the game for playoff hopes has loss written all over it. The Redskins are looking at a 1-2 finish at best for a 5-11 year.
Really, what's the harm in experimenting a little?
Snider: "No Experiments" a Good Idea?
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