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WP: Minus Wilkinson, Redskins Thrown Off-line

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By Mark Maske

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, July 31, 2003; Page D01

The Washington Redskins were sorting through their options yesterday to fill the hole in their defensive line left when they released tackle Dan Wilkinson on Tuesday. Club officials were contemplating possible trades and free agent additions while the coaching staff was considering the possibility of moving Renaldo Wynn from end to tackle.

First, though, the Redskins were studying what they saw on the practice field at Redskins Park, with Jermaine Haley plugged into their starting defensive line in place of Wilkinson.

"We hate to lose Dan Wilkinson," first-year defensive coordinator George Edwards said. "Dan was good for our defense schematically in what we're trying to get done. But that's over with now. We've got to move on and get the most out of whoever we've got in there. We're pleased with the guys that we have. They're here. They're working their butts off. That's our job, to get them lined up and get the most out of them."

The Redskins probably will attempt to make a trade before the season but had not made any solid offers as of yesterday, sources said. The New Orleans Saints' Grady Jackson, the Chicago Bears' Keith Traylor and Ted Washington and the Detroit Lions' Shaun Rogers are among the players around the league who might be available in a trade, according to a front-office executive for one team. The Bears have told other clubs they intend to keep Traylor and Washington, but some executives think one of the two could be released before the season. The Redskins plan to study the waiver wire closely to see if a player cut by another team could help them.

Redskins officials left open the possibility of re-signing Wilkinson, who had been contacted by more than a half-dozen teams by yesterday afternoon. A reunion seems unlikely, but agent Brig Owens said he and Wilkinson weren't ruling it out.

"You never say never," Owens said. "We've had a number of teams call and express interest in Dan. We'll see what's the best situation and fit for him. He likes it here in Washington. It's where he wants to make his home, so you never close the door."

The Redskins have lost both starting tackles from a defense that ranked fifth in the NFL last season under former coordinator Marvin Lewis, now the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. Daryl Gardener signed with the Denver Broncos as an unrestricted free agent. The Redskins signed Brandon Noble to start alongside Wilkinson and acquired Haley, a restricted free agent from the Miami Dolphins, to be their primary backup.

Those plans changed when Wilkinson rejected an offer by the Redskins for a restructured contract that would have reduced his salary from $3.5 million to $2 million. A unit that already was the defense's biggest question mark now is surrounded by even more uncertainty.

"Guys are anxious to get in there and get an opportunity to show what they can do," Wynn said.

For now, the starting defensive line consists of Wynn at left end, Noble and Haley at tackle and free agent newcomer Regan Upshaw at right end, where he is slated to share playing time with Bruce Smith. The coaches are looking at two NFL veterans who have played mostly at end -- Peppi Zellner and Bernard Holsey -- as prospective tackles. Greg Scott, who played end as a rookie for the Redskins last season, also is being studied at tackle along with fellow youngsters Bernard Jackson and Delbert Cowsette.

The fallback plan could be shifting Wynn to tackle and using Upshaw and Smith as the starting ends. Wynn got regular playing time at tackle while with the Jacksonville Jaguars before signing with the Redskins. Last season, Lewis would shift Wynn from end to tackle in pass-rushing situations, while linebacker LaVar Arrington took over at left end to chase quarterbacks.

"That's a good possibility," Wynn said of becoming a full-time tackle. "I'm not opposed to doing that. It's not something that I haven't done. I'm definitely open for it."

Said Edwards: "We've definitely explored that possibility. We're going to have to see what the guys we have here can do and how everything works out, and we'll go from there."

Cornerback Fred Smoot, for one, seems unconcerned about the maneuverings up front.

"We were ranked, what, fifth last year?" Smoot said. "We're going to go for number one this year."

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Ahhh, the preseason is young. Remember last year....we just grabbed a guy and plugged him in. Lighting striking twice is doubtful but we all say the list of things that COULD happen. One of them I think is bound to happen and then its up to the Front Office to make their move.

3rd day of practice.....and we've got 4 RB's...one that could be traded as part of a package to get a DT.

Its early

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I like Smoot's attitude, hahahahaha. Yah BDW has recieved about a dozen offers since yesterday afternoon, and who wants to be that reality sank in that maybe the money the Skins were offering wasn't that bad all along. I really wouldn't be suprised if BDW ended up back on the team.

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Remember last year....we just grabbed a guy and plugged him in. Lighting striking twice is doubtful

We've done it before last year as well.

Mims, Zordich, Boutte, Enmtman, the blob ...... It worked out wonderful that year.

We've tried "on the cheap" before on the Ol also. It's worked out about as well there as it has on the D historically.....

So there is little faith in having lightning strike two years in a row. It's going to cost something (a player or picks) to get someone unless they wait to the last possible second, and then he won't be ready until after the season kicks in (knowing the schemes and all that).

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I think we'll be okay. I for one thought Del Cowsette really looked good when he played last year. As a pass rush standpoint he seemed to get pressure all the time. I remember him crushing Kurt Warner on one play. I think he's just as good as Carl Powell.

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Uh exactly what have we lost with releasing BDW besides funding several popeyes, McD's, and KFC?

No sacks last year and who remembers him being a run stuffer?

I find it hard to believe that there isnt a player on the team that cant register 17 solo tackles and occupy his guy so the linebackers can flow to the ball

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Originally posted by Skins26

I think we'll be okay. I for one thought Del Cowsette really looked good when he played last year. As a pass rush standpoint he seemed to get pressure all the time. I remember him crushing Kurt Warner on one play. I think he's just as good as Carl Powell.

agree with your thoughts on cowsette -- though i think he helps more on passing downs than running -- i certainly hope he gets more pt this year especially on third and long. however, he is more of a "skinny" tackle as opposed to a "fat" run stopping tackle a la Gilbert Brown or BDW. One guy that could "fill" that role nicely and, I think, may come available soon is Grady the giant from NO (especially after they just signed Ford and Sullivan). We need one more fat body back there especially if Haley were to get hurt!

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