You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
The autopsies on the Redskins season, which suffered a premature death, are rolling in from many different sources. The Post did a three-part series covering the personnel acquisition system (or lack thereof), the failure of Joe Gibbs and Al Saunders mesh their offensive philosophies, and the collapse of Gregg Williams' defense. Thom Loverro at the Times came up with his six-point plan for turning it around and here at WarpathInsiders.com we've had John Keim and Rick Snider pipe in with their suggestions. In short, it's been a week-long Redskins bashing festival. Even some Redskins themselves have taken their shots as Chris Cooley and Clinton Portis have given radio interviews that were not the usual "I'm just the player, the coaches make the decisions" player interview fare. The steady diet of negativity has pushed many members of Redskins nation into the depths of despair, wondering how the team is ever going to become competitive again.
There are a few things to consider here. First, you can believe that the information contained in the articles and radio spots is, for the most part, factual. Howard Bryant and Jason LaCanfora did not simply make up quotes from assistant coaches. Portis didn't just talk of problems of his relationship with Saunders to draw attention to himself. There are issues with the way the team operates and with the attitudes that some of the players and coaches have towards the team. Not everyone who works in Redskins Park likes everyone else that works there. Every player does not respect every coach. Every coach does not think that every player should be on the team. Decisions made in Ashburn are second-guessed by everyone, especially when they don't work out.
But, hey, this just in, every NFL team has similar issues. Yep, even the ones that are in the playoffs and heading towards the Super Bowl. But, when teams are winning nobody talks about what's wrong. The problems stay under the surface. Disagreements don't become public because nobody wants to disrupt things. But when a team finishes a losing season, especially one that started out with such high expectations, all of the negativity bubbles to the surface.
This is not to say that the Redskins' problems aren't greater than those that other teams are facing. It's likely that the Redskins face more in terms of quantity and severity than the average NFL team. It's only a matter of degree, however. Every NFL team has piles of dirty laundry and the Redskins' is getting aired in a big way right now.
There's one other thing to consider. The articles are overwhelmingly negative in tone not because there was nothing positive to report. They were negative because the writers went out looking for what went wrong. In fact, the title of the Post's three-part series was exactly that, "What Went Wrong." Not "The Season in Review" or even "Skins 2006: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". There is no anti-Redskins bias on the part of the trio of Post reporters who wrote the series or on the part Keim or Snider or any of the others who wrote the postmortems. It's just the kind of stuff that gets written about 5-11 teams that started the season with Super Bowl aspirations.
For complete, detailed Redskins salary cap information visit the CPND cap information center, compiled by resident capologist Robert Large.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they moved to Washington for the 1937 season through 2001. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com