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Redskins Glass Now Half Full


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we have some time to go yet before anyone can say that the Redskins have turned the corner where we are going to see the kind of resurgence the 49ers or Eagles have had over the past couple of years.

however, the team is finally getting solid production from a group of younger players that are going to be important to the club's improvement in the standings in 2003.

Patrick Ramsey, Ladell Betts, Derrius Thompson, Rod Gardner have shown solid NFL skills.

The numbers the players have put up in the limited time Ramsey has been on the field gives one pause for thought about how the failures of Matthews and Wuerffel in previous opportunities at the helm might have held down the numbers these players could have produced otherwise.

Today's WP article noted that Thompson with his 24 catches in the past 4 games might draw some interest in free agency.

But for perhaps the first time since Snyder took over in 2000, the article also indicated the Redskins are likely to move to keep their player.

And THAT development toward rewarding and keeping your own players instead of chasing other team's disgruntled and glitzy starters is the one that makes a lot of fans smile the most.

The Jansen signing was poo-poo'ed by Len Pasquarelli because he said the Skins paid too much for a tackle he didn't consider in the top 15 in the NFL.

That assessment was made on 2000 and 2001 prices for starting tackles. We know with the cap going up another $4 million (approx.) in 2003 that salaries are going to escalate again for the better players.

And while Pasquarelli notes that Jansen hasn't been spectacular in 2002, a year in which his linemates were changed on an almost weekly basis, Jon had already firmly established himself in 1999, 2000 and 2001 as a younger player on the doorstep of beinga pro bowler.

Michael Strahan said in 2000 that Jansen was the best RT he faced in '99 and '00.

If anyone has lost sight of it, Jon Runyan who was then paid a franchise contract by the Eagles to move from Tennessee, is also in the East and also faces Strahan twice a season.

So there is more to what Jon brings to the table, especially in the run game, than what we have seen in this transition year of 2002.

And at age 26, he is just entering his prime. Most NFL linemen sit for 2 or 3 years before getting a regular starting job at either tackle spot.

One only has to look at Kenyatta Walker or Flozell Adams to see players that were handed starting jobs and struggled early on in their careers. Adams has moved beyond it to become solid, Walker is still lost in the haze.

This welcome trend extends toward the attention paid to Daryl Gardener's contract for 2003. The sides appear to be a ways off in getting to an agreement, but the fact the Redskins are being proactive in dealing with Gardener is a welcome development after slow efforts in past years to make offers to players the team felt they wanted to keep if possible.

Whether Gardener is a good long-term bet at DT because of his back is one factor that will limit the signing bonus. But after drawing a $775,000 base deal in 2002 it appears Gardener has met enough conditions to make the deal worth closer to $1.5 million when all is said and done.

And the Redskins have the evaluation of their medical staff to go on to gauge Gardener's ability to play through a new contract.

Other teams making offers to Gardener won't have that intelligence. They will have to go on what the Dolphins staff said about him over a year ago.

Clearly, Daryl surprised the Dolphins and Dave Wannstedt with his durability in 2002, starting 15 of 16 games at DT.

You have to remain optimistic about a deal because of the Redskins early interest and because Gardener himself appears ready to stay.

Fans KNEW that after Marty left in 2001 that players such as Dave Szott were not going to come back here even if publicly they said they were going to 'weigh everything', etc..........

I don't get the feeling that being from Baltimore and having already been cast off by the Dolphins that Gardener is necessarily interested in changing addresses if he doesn't have to.

Based on the last few years, you might expect the Raiders, Broncos, Packers or even Cowboys to show interest in signing Gardener and taking a risk on him.

This time around the Raiders are about to enter cap hell after the season is over and may be ready to have a Raven-like release of veterans in February.

Remember that Sam Adams signed a contract that amounts to a one year deal with the Raiders. That and the signing of Romanowski and Woodson at age 37 show the short term focus of the front office.

Similarly the Broncos are knee deep in contracts on the DL to Pryce and McGlockton and just signed Lionel Dalton from the Ravens this past offseason.

Green Bay paid $30 million to Joe Johnson and extended the contract of Vonnie Holliday.

Dallas signed LaRoi Glover to franchise money and have Brandon Noble as a free agent to sign.

So, things look good for the Redskins if they are interested in retaining another key player from 2002 for 2003.

Gardener is the interior defensive player you can build a unit around. Wilkinson is not. Wilkinson is a solid player, but he benefits most when he is not the focus of the defense.

As with Dana Stubblefield, his effectiveness is tied to the attention paid to the OTHER DT he teams with.

That kind of player is simply not worth franchise money.

Cut Wilkinson, take the savings and resign Gardener and then use the draft and value free agency to acquire a DT who can clog the middle and let Daryl use more of his ability to get upfield and cause havoc in the middle :)

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quote from the dog:

cut Wilkinson, take the savings and resign Gardener and then use the draft and value free agency to acquire a DT who can clog the middle and let Daryl use more of his ability to get upfield and cause havoc in the middle


as i was reading your post i knew what i wanted to say,and you finished it off perfectly.TOUCHE except i think daryl will be making closer to 3mil by the time he signs his name.

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if healthy, at age 29 Gardener is worth $4 million plus as a franchise DT. the key is ensuring that he won't come close to that unless he does indeed stay healthy.

Bruce Smith has 6 sacks this season and there is no doubt in my mind the double teams Gardener takes inside helps to account for the coverage Smith has faced.

If we are able to get a younger DE in here for 2003, a guy that CAN play 40-50 snaps a game at a high level, he and Gardener working together can cause a lot of trouble for opposing offenses.

In my mind, Gardener has been the best DT the Skins have had since Dave Butz retired.

He has played better than Stubby ever did. He has outplayed Wilkinson. He played better this season than Sean Gilbert did in his one season with the club in 1996.

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From the Sporting News about resigning Jansen.....

Locking up Jansen long term is a wise move

"Resgning Jon Jansen to a long-term contract was a significant step.

Jansen is everything a team wants in a right tackle. He's a rugged, physical blocker capable of handling both power rushers and speed rushers. He has started all 63 regular-season games in his career and never takes a play off.

Add to that his leadership on the field and in the locker room, and it would have been folly to let him get away. ... "

Len Pasquarelli is one of several sports columnist who have a personal agenda against Washington or Spurrier. He once said on Tony Kornheiser's radio show Art Monk was over rated, and should not be in the Hall of Fame. Almost every week he has made a snide comment in his tip sheet bashing the Skin's, the only team he seems to do so even when there are worse franchises in the NFL. I just ignore anything he writes about Washington.

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yes $4mil is probably being even more realisatic for gardener,i'm hoping for alittle loyalty from DG(NOT GREEN) for us taking a chance on him this year.i doubt it though.gardener definitely freed up smith for a few this year.DG has played better than BDW,DS,& SG put together.

i think we gotta shore up the other DT spot before worrying about RDE.call me crazy but i think we GOTTA stop the run @ any costs before worrying about rushing the passer.if opponents are running the ball down are throats they most likely have the lead.where as if were pinnin are ears back & rushin the QB we've probably got the lead.we definitely need a better pass rush & 1 of those stud DT'S in the draft can do both quite well.

yes we do need an upgrade over smith but i think we could get a cheap runstuffing DE in FA or the draft & go with

smith on 3rd down(or l.jackson????injury????).

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Bruce Smith has eight sacks. In Dallas, that makes him the great Greg Ellis who is a superstar. In Washington, that makes him chopped liver and a guy most of us can't wait to get rid of. Smith needs to take a pay cut and he finally needs to be replaced as the every down starter by a younger, stiffer player against the run. But, he can still produce in spurts and if you can limit his snaps you could have a double-digit sack guy off the bench next year.

Smith by no means should be counted on as our future or even next year player at the spot. We have to make a serious effort to get younger here, but, let's not diminish him. Even now he's better than many defensive ends in the league. Gardener is the key to the defense. He has to be retained and done so in such a way as to protect ourselves from future injury. With him the Redskins automatically have the makings for a strong line. If you can get Smith in a backup role, we'd prove to be deep and dangerous on the front of the line and that will be key to improving.

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what is really surprising is that the Redskins have had Smith out at RDE for 3 years since age 36 and have never attempted to augment that spot with a younger run-down player that could keep Smith fresh.

we replaced Coleman with Wynn in 2002 at LDE but that is about it.

no high draft choices the past 3 years on the DL, no middle picks either that ended up being pleasant surprises.

Smith's 8 sacks (thanks, I forgot to count the Houston stats) and Arrington's 10 sacks, I think are somewhat misleading stats in that while these players have had individual games where they made a difference in the passing game, there have been long stretches during contests where NO ONE has mounted much of a rush.

we need greater consistency.

I can't imagine another offseason without some new blood at the DE spot, although I don't expect it to be high profile help.

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I think 1st thing for the DL, we need to re-sign Gardner. It would be perfect to keep Bruce as a 10-12 play a game guy and the rest of the time mentor the younger guys( a Darrell Green of the DL). Spend our first pick on a DE and get another in free agency (or even another lower round pick) As much as I like Big Daddy -we need a youth movement on the D-line. A strong D-line then gives our corners a chance to start taking those hurried passes away from opponents.

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