. . . Redskins receiver Rod Gardner isn't sure why he's been demoted to the No. 3 receiver, behind Derrius Thompson and Chris Doering. Gardner will only start if Washington opens in a three-receiver set, which it has the past two weeks.
''I'm just baffled by it,'' Gardner said. ''It lights a fire; it lights a bonfire under you. I can't let it bother me. One week I don't know; Kevin Lockett starts because they say he runs good routes. Now he's not starting. I don't know. I've got no comment. I'm lost just like you all are.''
Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said he's looking for the right combination to jump start his offense.
''When you've got a superstar who runs good routes and catches everything,'' Spurrier said, ''he'll play more than anyone else. Right now we don't have that superstar who catches everything.''
Gardner wonders if all the changing is good for the offense, making it hard to find a rhythm. Spurrier dismisses that, but we wonder the same thing. But this is mostly a case of the Redskins not having many options at receiver. We still like Gardner, but he's having a hard time adjusting when he sees a different defense. Too often, he said, the Redskins are prepared for one defense, then the opposition throws something else their way. And it's making it tough. Eventually, when they're even more comfortable in the offense, that won't be an issue.
. . . The players certainly are loose. During stretching exercises on a gray (then rainy) day, they laughed and joked throughout. Later, the locker room was filled with laughter, as players bantered about NBA teams and first-round busts. What does that mean for Sunday? We'll find out. If they play well, it'll mean they're loose. If they stink, it'll mean they weren't focused.
. . . Wonder why Ifeanyi Ohalete isn't yet a starter? Our sources say it's because he still makes way too many mistakes on routine plays, taking incorrect angles all the time. And we hear coach Steve Spurrier singled him out after the Saints loss, saying it's great that he scored a touchdown but that the taunting penalty was damaging. Of course, a day later Spurrier backpedaled on that assessment, saying he wasn't sure why the penalty was called.
. . . There aren't two better guys on the Redskins than Sam Shade and Chris Samuels. Both have been singled out for some tough plays against the Saints. Both have stood up and accepted the criticism, answered the questions and taken responsibility. Say what you want about Shade, but the guy is all class. Same with Samuels, who at least has a Pro Bowl on his resume. We've seen too many players duck out on the media, but both of these players--both of whom attended Alabama--are a constant presence in the locker room during media sessions. Few Redskins can match them.
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