Redskins 411

The Redskins' search for a linebackers coach didn't take them past the defensive staff hallway at Redskin Park. A day after firing 20-year NFL coaching veteran Dale Lindsey, the Redskins replaced him with Kirk Olivadotti, who worked with defensive line coach Greg Blache and special teams coach Danny Smith last season.


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Olivadotti is just 33, but he has the longest continuous tenure on the coaching staff. He came to the Redskins as a general offensive assistant for coach Norv Turner in 2000. Olivadotti worked with the defensive backs the next three seasons under coaches Marty Schottenheimer and Steve Spurrier.

When Joe Gibbs took over in 2004, Olivadotti -- the son of longtime NFL defensive coach Tom Olivadotti -- became a general defensive assistant while also helping with the special teams.

"Kirk is an extremely bright young coach that has earned this opportunity," Gibbs said in a statement released by the Redskins. "He has proven himself with every step he has taken with the Redskins and he will provide continuity to our linebacker position."

A receiver at Purdue from 1993-96, Olivadotti coached receivers and tight ends at Maine Maritime in 1997 for one season and then spent two years at Indiana State.

Neither assistant head coach defense Gregg Williams nor Olivadotti were made available by the Redskins for interviews after his promotion.

The linebackers were a strength of the third-ranked defense in 2004 with Marcus Washington, Antonio Pierce and Lemar Marshall starting and a solid group for the ninth-ranked defense in 2005 with LaVar Arrington and Warrick Holdman splitting time alongside Washington and Marshall, but they linebackers faltered in 2006 as the defense crashed to 31st.

The gruff Lindsey, who had feuded for two years with Arrington, kept starting the ineffective Holdman ahead of second-round draft pick Rocky McIntosh until injuries finally made the rookie a starter for the final two games. With Holdman a free agent, McIntosh figures to join Washington and Marshall as the regulars in 2007 unless the Redskins can find a more prototypical middle backer than ex-college safety Marshall.

Player Notes

--The week before extending RT Jon Jansen's deal, the Redskins did the same for James Thrash. They trimmed $380,000 off their cap by extending the reserve receiver's contract two more years (through 2009), giving the 10-year veteran the $820,000 minimum base salary for 2007.

Thrash, who'll be 32 in April, is heading into the fourth season of his second tenure in Washington. He had 12 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown last season while finishing second on the team with 26 special teams tackles.

--The Redskins have allocated five players to NFL Europe, including guard Kili Lefotu, a seventh-round pick in the 2006 draft who was cut last August. Also heading across the Atlantic are receiver Ryan Hoag, who did two brief stints on the practice squad; quarterback Casey Bramlet, last summer's camp arm; and receiver Cedric Bonner and defensive end Bryant Shaw, who were signed in January.

The NFL Europe allocation draft is Feb. 23rd. Training camp will be held in Tampa in early March before the season begins April 14. World Bowl XV is June 23rd in Frankfurt.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You're always looking to restructure contracts. There will be some of that going on." -- Gibbs on the Redskins' prime task this month.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL TEAM NEEDS/OFF-SEASON STRATEGY

The Redskins are still talking to Derrick Dockery's agent, Todd France, about re-signing the left guard, whose 63 straight starts lead the team. However, if Dockery hits the free agent market, he'll probably be gone as owner Dan Snyder has inevitably been more aggressive in pursuing other teams' players than trying to re-sign his own (see Pierce, Antonio and Smoot, Fred) come March.

February is director of football administration (contract negotiator/salary cap guru) Eric Schaffer's month to shine. He somehow got the Redskins under the cap last winter and still has work to do with the agents for such high-priced veterans as offensive linemen Chris Samuels, guard Randy Thomas, quarterback Mark Brunell, running back Clinton Portis, defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, linebacker Marcus Washington and cornerback Shawn Springs to get the Redskins far enough under the cap that they'll be able to make serious runs at such free agents as cornerback Nate Clements and linebacker London Fletcher of Buffalo and Atlanta defensive end Patrick Kerney.

Then, list the top three positions the team will be addressing in the off-season.

Where applicable, especially teams with high first-round picks, you can mention possible targets in the draft. Please do it in this exact format, including one or two sentences for each position.

1. Defensive line: While end Andre Carter went from bust to leading sacker thanks to a second half surge during his Washington debut, Griffin sagged noticeably. And veteran ends Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn might be cut because of their increasing age and salaries.

2. Secondary: Springs missed half of 2006 with three different injuries and is about to be 32. Youngsters Carlos Rogers and Sean Taylor both had down seasons (despite Taylor's laughable Pro Bowl appearance) and strong safety is a mess.

3. Middle linebacker: Lemar Marshall played here admirably in 2005 but as last year showed, he's really better suited to the weak side. Backup Khary Campbell is a special-teamer.

MEDICAL WATCH: Strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington had successful arthroscopic surgery on his left hip on Feb. 8 in Nashville. Washington is supposed to have a three-month rehab.

--Left tackle Chris Samuels is due for surgery on his left knee soon. He postponed the operation so that he could play in fourth Pro Bowl last weekend.

--Backup quarterback Mark Brunell had surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder on Jan. 8. The injury occurred in his second-to-last start (Nov. 5 against Dallas) and is expected to keep him sidelined four to five months.

--Washington (left elbow), rookie linebacker Rocky McIntosh (right knee) and safety Vernon Fox (pectoral muscle) all went under the knife the week after the season ended.

--Defensive end Renaldo Wynn has had surgery on his right elbow. None of the procedures were major.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--G Derrick Dockery is the only starter the Redskins really want to re-sign. Dockery's a big man but still struggles at times with mistakes such as penalties. Dockery's not as good as offensive line coach Joe Bugel says, but he's coming off his best season and four-time Pro Bowl OT Chris Samuels likes playing next to him.

--RB T.J. Duckett was acquired on Aug. 23 from Atlanta for what turned out to be a third-round pick in the 2007 draft. Duckett was added because coach Joe Gibbs was worried about his running game with Clinton Portis out for a month and Ladell Betts a little banged-up. Gibbs envisioned a trio similar to the Earnest Byner/Ricky Ervins/Gerald Riggs triumvirate that had helped Washington win its last Super Bowl in 1991. However, Duckett, who had scored 27 TDs the previous three years for the Falcons, didn't live up his burly 254-pound frame. Duckett struggled in short yardage and goal line and scored just twice. He was a good soldier about being inactive for six games but he definitely won't be back.

--S Vernon Fox, signed off waivers from Detroit last August, was considered just a special-teamer, but he wound up starting the final six games after free agent Adam Archuleta bombed and aging in-season pickup Troy Vincent got hurt. If Fox understands that he belongs on special teams, he'll be welcomed back.

--LB Warrick Holdman, a rising star in Chicago before hurting a knee in 2002, has been just a guy in his two years in Washington. The coaches wised up and replaced him with LaVar Arrington for the stretch run in 2005 but mistakenly never benched him for rookie Rocky McIntosh last year. Holdman's just 31, but he shouldn't be a starter and doesn't play teams.

--CB Ade Jimoh is fine as a gunner on special teams, but he's a serious liability in pass coverage as he showed again last year after Shawn Springs was hurt and he was forced into a role in nickel packages. If Jimoh accepts his role, he should return.

--TE Brian Kozlowski was sitting at home in Atlanta, thinking his career was over, when the Redskins summoned him back last Nov. 15 after Christian Fauria was lost for the season.

Kozlowski got into just two games with one catch and should finally be done at 36.

--LB Jeff Posey, who had played for assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams in Buffalo and also started for San Francisco, Jacksonville and Houston was signed on Aug. 15 after Chris Clemons suffered a serious knee injury. Posey played in every game but almost exclusively on special teams. Posey, 31, doesn't figure to be re-signed as the Redskins try to get younger and faster on defense.

--G/C Mike Pucillo, a free agent signee in March, got into 11 games last year but only played one series on offense except for being the extra eligible receiver in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Just 27, Pucillo should be re-signed, especially if Dockery leaves. Pucillo started 18 games for Buffalo and Cleveland before coming to Washington.

--OT Todd Wade signed on Sept. 5 after fellow veteran Spencer Folau washed out in a training camp trial. Wade, a starter for six year for Miami and Houston before blowing out a knee in 2005, only played in one game in 2006. However, that was a solid start in New Orleans as the Redskins upset the Saints. Wade wants to start again and that won't happen in Washington with Samuels and Jon Jansen entrenched so he's looking to sign elsewhere.

--CB Kenny Wright started for a fine Jacksonville defense in 2005, but the journeyman struggled in coverage all year in Washington. Pressed into the lineup when Shawn Springs was hurt in August, Wright wound up starting nine games. Wright will be 30 in September and is probably a fourth corner at this stage of his career. He might return by default.

--TE Todd Yoder was signed off waivers from Jacksonville on Sept. 12 and was a decent addition. Yoder was a solid blocker and his one catch was a touchdown at Tampa Bay. Yoder, who'll be 29 in March, is the kind of backup/positive locker room presence that coach Joe Gibbs loves (see Thrash, James) and should be re-signed.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--DE Ryan Boschetti made the practice squad and then the active roster as a rookie free agent in 2004 and even started a game. Boschetti got into 13 games in 2005, but the arrival of draft picks Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery made him a non-factor in 2006.

Boschetti played in just two games and was cut at one point. The Redskins will be glad to have the hard-working overachiever back at the minimum.

--P Derrick Frost was on the verge of getting cut before the preseason finale in 2006 when he made an adjustment in his drop. The change worked and Frost, who had survived thanks to plenty of roll in 2005, had his best season. Since Frost wasn't drafted and isn't a star, it shouldn't cost the Redskins much to keep him which they should.

--OL Jim Molinaro has been a bust since he was drafted in the fifth round out of Notre Dame in 2004. Molinaro has barely played a snap on offense in three years. Molinaro might return so that line coach Joe Bugel can keep working with him, but he doesn't seem to have a future. EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

--K Shaun Suisham will be an exclusive rights free agent and will be re-signed. Suisham, a former 49er and Cowboy, missed a 50-yarder in his Redskins debut on Dec. 3 but went 8-for-8 the rest of the way and also kicked off fairly well. Suisham, 25, might have finally stopped the revolving door for kickers in Washington which has been humming since former coach Norv Turner cut mainstay Chip Lohmiller in the summer of 1995.

--CB Leigh Torrence, a former Falcon, was signed for the season finale after Shawn Springs went on injured reserve. Torrence didn't play in that game against the Giants, but he might be brought back for an extended look.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: None.

PLAYERS LOST: None.


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