Nickel Package: Skins' Moves Don't Work

The Nickel Package--Can the Redskins fix their #31 defense using the same flawed personnel that helped turn this season into a major disappointment?

1. Joe Gibbs' final press conference for the season. One word can be associated with Gibbs at this point: delusional. He opens his press conference pandering, again, to the fans. It gets old. Redskins fans are good, as you know, but after a season like this fans want answers not more praise thrown their way. Fans want to know what's going to happen and who's it going to happen to. And Gibbs continues to praise receiver Brandon Lloyd. Let's get one thing straight: if he was researched AT ALL, Gibbs would have discovered a troubled kid. He was disliked in San Francisco and Redskins players heard from many in SF about the problems that would come. One Redskin called him a thug. Lloyd is not someone who can be saved, as Gibbs seems to think. This is who Lloyd is. One coach said Lloyd could use professional help. Gibbs also continues to insist the moves they make work. They don't. There's a reason why they've had double-digit losses in two of his three seasons.

2. The Washington Post story. For those around the Redskins, not much was learned. We already knew Lloyd was trouble; we already knew nobody respected Vinny Cerrato. Heck, few, if any, outside the organization respect Cerrato. Why would they? The Redskins were upset about the part in the story that said one reason they traded for T.J. Duckett was they felt Rock Cartwright might be fumble-prone. Gibbs does not want to upset Cartwright. Also, Gibbs clearly has fretted about this story for more than a week. And don't doubt that he'll find out the coaches who talked.

3. Adam Archuleta. According to Gibbs, Archuleta did not ask to be traded or released despite a rough season. Not sure why Archuleta would want to return to this situation. Once again, Gibbs brought up Vernon Fox and Troy Vincent as reasons why Archuleta played less late in the season. If Gibbs thinks Fox is a good safety, again look at the word in the first item. Fox is a good special teamer, but that's it. Period. And Vincent is nothing special back there. There's no doubt Archuleta's lack of time was personal. Just as it was with LaVar Arrington last year.

4. 2007 schedule. The Redskins' 2007 home opponents are: Dallas, the New York Giants, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Miami and Arizona. Their road opponents, in addition to the NFC East teams, are: Minnesota, Green Bay, New England, the New York Jets and Tampa Bay. That's nine playoff teams.

5. The defense. The Redskins finished the season ranked 31st in the NFL, their worst-ever ranking. And turning it around will take work. They need at end -- Phillip Daniels (who turns 34 in the offseason) will have surgery on both ankles and a wrist. End Andre Carter had a good finish, but he still managed just six sacks and does not play the run well. They need help at linebacker, where Rocky McIntosh is unproven and Lemar Marshall is coming off a poor season. But they think Marshall's season was a product of offseason surgeries and a subsequent lack of time to fully train for the season. They especially need help at safety and corner. Shawn Springs would like to stay at corner. But that doesn't lessen the need for another corner as Carlos Rogers did not make much progress this year.

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