Going into the season, I projected the NFC East ranking to be:
- New York
Reality is the reverse of expectations. Who knew?
At the end of this most forgettable year, The Redskins and Giants inhabit the bottom of the division. The Redskins were never a factor in the playoff race. The Giants have dropped six of their last seven and look to a tumultuous offseason. They can make the playoff whether or not they beat the Skins Saturday, but won't get far the way they are playing.
NFL.com has a video preview of the game. It may be found on the home page titled "Ready for better days" with Plaxico Burress pictured. (You may have to use the "next cover story" hot key to advance to the "better days" story.) Look for the NYG-WAS Preview link among the story offerings.
Redskin alumnus Fred Smoot suffered a broken jaw in five places as a result of a one car accident during the Christmas break. Smoot was a passenger in the car and the only one with a serious injury.
Fred has not done well since leaving the Redskins after 2004. He lost the starting position for the Vikings and the love boat incident damaged his reputation. What a lousy way to end the year.
Not to make light of it, but I like the way the blogger at The Sports Dirt put it: Broken jaw which the universe probably meant for Terrell Owens sidelines Fred Smoot.
An interview of Adam Archuleta, whom the Redskins made the wealthiest safety in the league, then buried deep in the roster, is shown on redskins.com. He was subdued and did not speculate on what may happen in the offseason. Extremeskins.com posted a link to an ESPN article that quoted Archuleta stating the Skins have not been upfront with him in reference to his benching. "I don't like getting lied to," he says. This can only end badly.
So was Archuleta wrong for taking a potload of Mr. Snyder's money, or was it Gre-double G for bringing him on board? What's certain is that circumstances forced the team to use Archuleta differently than intended.
When signed, the Skins cited Archuleta's run stopping ability. He was to be a linebacker lite and bring pressure in the pass rush. Rocky McIntosh was drafted as an every down backer who could cover. With Archuleta threatening to blitz and McIntosh fading to coverage where Arch was, momentary confusion by the offense would allow just enough of a slip to let Arch or another defender blow up a play. Classic Gregg Williams! Clever, if it worked.
That scheme was shelved when Shawn Springs and Pierson Prioleau went down. Mcintosh was slow to catch on. Suddenly, the Redskins needed safeties who could cover deep. Archuleta and Sean Taylor are big hitters. Their role is to intimidate, not smother, receivers. The shock and awe secondary delivered aw shit performance.
The coaching staff's treatment of Archuleta has a whiff of LaVar Arrington. Better people skills may have redeemed the Arrington situation and for a contract similar to LaVar's New York deal. The Redskins miss his playmaking ability. Better people skills may have preserved a positive relationship with Archuleta. He too has valuable skills and his career is not done. It's just done here.
"We have wide receivers that have not been given the opportunity to be as productive as we know that they can be." ~~ Al Saunders from redskins.com Coaches Corner, December 28, 2006.
Fred Smoot photo from The Minnesota Vikings. Archuleta-Gibbs photo from The Washington Redskins.