The Nickel Package: Lindsey Gone

The Nickel Package 01.17.06--Linebackers coach Dale Lindsey will not return; will Derrick Dockery?

1. Dale Lindsey fired. This is a surprising move given that Joe Gibbs typically does not fire coaches, he reassigns them (see Jack Burns) or nudges them out the door to another job (Bill Musgrave). But there was some resentment among the current linebackers for the way Lindsey handled the LaVar Arrington situation last year and that certainly hurt his chances for returning. And Rocky McIntosh did not develop as they had hoped (though some of that has to be on the player).

2. Marty Schottenheimer loses in the playoffs. OK, he's not with the Redskins, but he still has that attachment. And we still have to wonder this: how would Schottenheimer have done had he stayed in Washington? Our guess is that, given a few more years, he would have left it in much better shape than Joe Gibbs will leave to his successor. Schottenheimer was trying to change the culture by removing problems (Vinny Cerrato). When Gibbs leaves, the problems will remain. But, at least, they'll at least have a quarterback and that's what all good teams must have. However, the one thing Schottenheimer has not done is win consistently in the playoffs. Not sure that will ever change; he's lost with excellent teams in three cities. So while the Redskins might have been better off, we can't say they would have done anything other than win a lot of games but lose in the playoffs.

3. Quarterback play. Lest anyone wonder what is more important in the NFL these days, just look at the playoffs. Three of the final four teams have top-notch quarterbacks and the fourth has one who is capable of big games. Yes, it's important to stop the run and run the ball. But in this day and age, you have to be able to pass the ball and stop the pass. With Jason Campbell, the Redskins have a chance to do the former. If he develops, he will become Gibbs' legacy in Act II.

4. General manager. We keep hearing that any talk of hiring a GM is dead. We never thought it was ever alive, even when Gibbs said he would consider anything to improve the organization. Gibbs has always viewed himself as the GM, so in essence he would again be replacing himself. Yes, other teams have similar setups, but this one is not working. This is the truth: in the years Cerrato has been here, I have yet to talk to an opposing scout or GM who says they like what he's done or has respect for him. You can't win with people like that. But it's not just Cerrato, it's the fact that there's no one in the power structure willing to offer a dissenting view on how things are done.

5. Derrick Dockery. For a while I was not sold on him and still don't think he'll ever truly live up to his potential. But he had a good finish and this is a weak guard market. So he could be in decent demand; opposing teams see power and athleticism. However, he's not the most nimble of guards. His techniques are sloppy, which is why he is not adept at pulling. He has cut down on his lunging, but he still makes mental errors. He's a real buyer's beware. That said, the coaches did like how he improved and say they want him back. Losing the 10-15 pounds before the season helped.

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