Nickel Package: Skins Allocate 5 to "Europa"

The Nickel Package 01.24.07--The name is new but the concept is the same--borderline NFL hopefuls go play across the pond to try to hone their games. The Redskins have allocated five players to NFL Europa. Plus talk of Parcells and the Cowboys.

1. Bill Parcells retires. The list of old coaches continues to dwindle. One reason: it's become clear with the work involved of being a head coach, it's more and more a younger man's profession. Even Parcells admitted that after his decision. That doesn't mean an older coach can't succeed, but it does mean they had better have the right people in place to help them. Washington has much of that on the coaching staff, but Joe Gibbs needs more help elsewhere in the organization.

2. Dallas. The Cowboys' future looks much different than it did in early December. Then, Tony Romo was playing his way into the Pro Bowl and it appeared Parcells would return for one more year. Now, Romo is coming off a bad finish and nobody knows who the coach will be. And the defense finished with question marks, too. It'll be interesting to see who Jerry Jones selects. Hey, the guy always liked Norv Turner. But I can't imagine he'd make that mistake. The one thing we can say for Parcells is that he leaves Dallas in better shape than when he arrived. As of now, it's difficult to say the same thing about Gibbs. However, if Jason Campbell continues to improve that would be different, at least in the short term.

3. Super Bowl. Watching Chicago reach the Super Bowl, it's evident that if Rex Grossman can reach that game, just about any quarterback can. The Bears should have led 21-0 in the first quarter given all the breaks they had. And it's situations like this why coaches such as Gibbs stay with known quantities (such as Mark Brunell) for a while -- especially when one side of the ball often is dominant. The Bears' D slipped late in the year because of injuries, but they still amped it up when needed. Like Washington, Chicago's last couple seasons have been defined by the D. The Redskins' slipped this year; the Bears did not.

4. NFL Europa. The Redskins allocated five players to NFL Europa -- I guess that's the new name now: receiver Cedric Bonner (Texas A&M -- Commerce), quarterback Casey Bramlet (Wyoming), receiver Ryan Hoag (Gustavus Adolphus), offensive lineman Kili Lefotu (Arizona) and defensive end Bryant Shaw (Mississippi College). Lefotu was a draft pick last year, but because of his health scare and his summer play, he had no chance to make the roster. They felt he needed seasoning and this should help.

5. Russ Grimm. You have to feel for Grimm, who we thought would be a lock to replace Bill Cowher. Makes you wonder what happened to Grimm, who appeared on the verge of becoming a head coach in the past couple years. Jon Jansen still says he's the best line coach he's ever played for. Now Grimm will be let out of his contract in Pittsburgh, if he desires. Here's the question: would he be a fit on this staff? We have not heard any rumblings of a Grimm return, but stranger things have happened. However, I don't know what the heck he would do here, which is why it's not a likely scenario.

(Note: Subsequent to this report being filed Grimm accepted a coaching position with the Arizona Cardinals)

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