Redskins Report

Redskins coach Steve Spurrier mapped out the offseason Monday, saying he doesn't expect the team to be heavily involved in free agency and he'd prefer they build through the draft. Spurrier's top wish: speed.

But he'd also like his team to play smarter after watching numerous silly penalties the past few weeks.

''Championship teams don't do that,'' he said. ''We've got a long way to go.''

Give Spurrier credit, though, for not being fooled by a two-game winning streak to end the season. He wasn't impressed that Washington beat Houston and Dallas to finish at 7-9. Rather, Spurrier was more upset by how the Redskins played.

That's a good sign for the future. He has high standards and the Redskins failed to meet them. Did he find positives? Yes. He likes quarterback Patrick Ramsey; he likes how running backs Ladell Betts and Kenny Watson fit into the offense and he sees enough building blocks to improve.

But he's not ignoring that the special teams must improve. Nor does he think they can stand pat offensively and get better. Spurrier wants another receiver and at least one offensive linemen.

Smart coaches learn from their mistakes and Spurrier appears to have done that. For much of the season he appeared unprepared for the NFL. But he watched and learned, which is why he's talking about having more input into personnel decisions. And it's why he appointed Hue Jackson to offensive coordinator, freeing Spurrier to pop in on more special teams and defensive meetings.

. . . Bruce Smith said he was intent on retiring, but owner Dan Snyder, his father, Gerry Snyder and defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis got him to rethink his decision.

Smith says the sack record doesn't mean much to him and we want to believe him. But those who know him well say it does mean a lot. Some of Smith might want to see just how badly the Redskins want him back. It's not a power play, it's just that his ego sometimes needs massaging.

But if Smith comes back, he'll likely have to accept an even further reduced role, which was hard for him to do this season. It kept him fresh, however, as he got nine sacks in the final two games.

. . . Look for these players to join us for chats in the offseason (they've already said yes): Patrick Ramsey, Kenny Watson, Darnerien McCants, Eddie Mason and Chris Doering. Stay tuned for times and dates . . .

. . . Spurrier's main mistake? ''I brought in too many Gators,'' he said. The Redskins signed seven of his former college players and none really became fulltime contributors. Reidel Anthony was cut in camp, Jacquez Green was cut during the season, Willie Jackson was signed and waived a few weeks later.

Meanwhile, quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews had more moments of misery than glory. Chris Doering might have been the most pleasant surprise, given his NFL past. All totalled, however, it wasn't an impressive group.

Looks like many will be cheap and available for other teams next season.

But we don't think it was that bad to bring in all of these players. Wuerffel and Matthews helped speed the progress of rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey and Doering helped with the receivers.

By the way, Matthews still expects to be gone, despite Spurrier saying he'd like to re-sign he or Wuerffel. When Matthews talks about the Redskins future he says, ''they have a chance to be good.'' Not we.

. . . One last Darrell Green memory: As a rookie reporter nine years ago I tried hard to nab an interview with Green in training camp. I remember asking him if he had a few minutes only to have him look at his watch and proclaim he had two minutes.

Twenty minutes later, we wrapped up the interview. That happened time and time again throughout my time covering the Redskins. Green might be hard to pin down, but when you got him, he always gave you more than anticipated.

Green has his flaws. We all do. But in an era of me-first athletes who often end up in police blotter, Green was one to celebrate. It's a shame the NFL didn't do more to honor him. He's exactly the kind of guy they should celebrate. Green wasn't going to put a lot of fans in the stands (except in Washington where the stadium was filled more than for any other game this season), but he was the best possible role model they could find.

As I watched the proceedings Sunday, I knew one thing: I'd never cover such a unique individual again. Not someone who meant so much to one city. And that's why Green received the rarest of feats after the game: a standing ovation from the media.

. . . FYI: Green returned to Redskins Park today, but couldn't get through the door. He'd forgotten his key. Of course, we chided him that the locks had been changed since he'd retired.

. . . Tackle Daryl Gardener said he's ''100 percent certain'' that he'll be back in Washington next  season.

. . . Rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey will drive to Louisiana on Tuesday and quickly start his offseason program. He'll work with the same trainers as he did last year, as well as quarterback guru Zeke Bratkowski. And do a little hunting and fishing.

. . .A sad sight today was watching Sam Shade exit the building. Shade likely will be cut, but he's one of the classiest guys in the business. Always answered questions, good or bad.

It was also sad to watch Stephen Davis leave, knowing he won't return. Davis still has something left, but his smashmouth style clashes with Spurrier's finesse rushing attack. He loves the draw and Betts and Watson do well on that play because of their quickness.

. . . Spurrier said the Redskins will hold camp at Redskins Park this summer.  But he might have spoken too soon. A Redskins official said it's not a done deal and they're still considering holding the camp out of town.

One destination: William and Mary College in Williamsburg. Why? The Redskins want to tap into the market in southern Virginia and this would do it. They considered having camp there two years ago with Marty Schottenheimer, but couldn't work out a deal.





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