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Inside Slant : Bruce is Miffed ; Other Notes & Quotes


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http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/redskins/home.htm

Inside slant

The Washington Redskins are in an even deeper predicament at defensive tackle, and defensive end Bruce Smith is miffed.

Smith criticized the organization's personnel decisions after starting nose tackle Brandon Noble suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second preseason game, a 20-13 loss to the New England Patriots.

At issue for Smith was Washington's decision not to re-sign Daryl Gardener and then play hardball with Dan Wilkinson, who ended up being cut because the sides couldn't agree on terms for a pay cut.

"I said I wasn't going to comment on it when Big Daddy was released, but I said prior to that that he was one of the guys we couldn't afford to lose," Smith said. "We should have kept one of those two defensive tackles, either Gardener or Big Daddy. That's one of the reasons we're in the situation that we are now.

"The best decision for us is to go out and get Big Daddy right now, or get somebody who's comparable. Because right now we're just a little short. We've got to stop this run or it's going to be a long year."

Noble, who signed a four-year, $7 million contract on the second day of free agency, tore multiple knee ligaments and dislocated his kneecap in the first quarter. As he lay on the turf, it was immediately clear that the injury was serious.

"I don't know if I got hit from the side or my knee buckled from the inside, but I felt something pop and my kneecap go into space," Noble said. "It's not that there was so much pain, but just the shock of something in your body going where it's not supposed to. Who knows how long I'll be out."

Noble was the one starter who was set for Washington as the club searched for the right player at the three-technique.

Jermaine Haley had been elevated to the starting lineup but was pedestrian and probably a stretch in that spot. The team brought in James Cannida and he could compete for the starting job in coming weeks. And Denver's Lional Dalton was being considered, either through a trade or by signing him after he is cut.

Wilkinson, meanwhile, signed with Detroit after Green Bay also showed interest. Despite Smith's comments, it appeared very unlikely that Washington would come crawling back to Wilkinson after the two parted on bad terms. Although the team left open the door for Wilkinson to return, it would have been for him to come crawling back.

Washington's work in the market should pick up with first cuts starting to approach.

NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES

—The Redskins blamed their failures against the run in the preseason-opening loss at Carolina on missed tackles, even though scrutiny of the defensive line continued to build.

"Those guys are working their butts off, and you can't point a finger and say it was just the defensive line," coordinator George Edwards said. "We had linebackers miss tackles, we had safeties miss tackles, we had corners miss tackles. Everybody was in on it."

With that in mind, Washington shifted to full-on tackling in practice on Monday, which led to several scuffles on the field, including a pair between LB Jessie Armstead and running back Chad Morton. Coach Steve Spurrier wasn't pleased but players thought that the intensity needed to pick up.

—Linebacker LaVar Arrington is playing, practicing and even working out with the enthusiasm that has become his trademark.

"That's how I live," Arrington said. "I'm like, all-out. I'm not going to half- anything I do. That's why I don't lift with anyone else. I want to do what I'm doing. I don't want to wait to get on a machine. My mindset is, I'm preparing for battle."

That attitude has him headed toward a third Pro Bowl start this year. Continuing to pile up terrific seasons, in the mind of DE Bruce Smith, would allow Arrington to earn the title of being a "great" player.

And not "great" the way the term often is used.

"In my 19 years, I've heard the term 'great' tossed around quite a bit," Smith said. "A lot of times, it's used improperly. In this particular case, it's not."

—Punter Bryan Barker was given an ultimatum to stop shanking punts, a problem that plagued him on occasion throughout last season and resurfaced in this preseason. Barker ultimately survived the punt-off with Brent Bartholomew but not before pushing coaches to their limits.

"It is amazing when you think about it," special teams coach Mike Stock said. "The quality of the play, it's got to be better than that. ... It's not new. We went through this all last year. He had good moments and he had poor moments."

—Cornerback Champ Bailey was ready for talks to begin to extend his contract. He is headed for free agency next spring, where he would command about $18 million of guaranteed money on a long-term deal. He wasn't sure if the Redskins were prepared to discuss such figures as agent Jack Reale came into town to watch the Patriots game and open talks.

"I just want to see what's going to happen," Bailey said. "I'm not getting my hopes up or anything. I don't want to cause myself some disappointment. ... I really don't know what to expect. I think after this meeting I'll have some idea what's going to happen."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I attribute that to lousy coaching or not very smart players, and probably a combination." — Coach Steve Spurrier, on Washington's 25 penalties in two preseason games.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Redskins' huge concern is at defensive tackle following the season-ending blown knee to NT Brandon Noble. The club already brought in James Cannida last week and was looking to trade for Denver's Lional Dalton, who could compete with Jermaine Haley and Cannida to start at the three-technique. Now the team might look to make a bigger deal for a hefty DT who could play the nose.

Punter Brent Bartholomew was expected to be cut after the Redskins' ultimatum at the position. The club had told veteran Bryan Barker and Bartholomew that one would be cut after the Patriots game and the other would remain to compete against newly signed David Leaverton. Barker had a nice game, and Bartholomew admitted to being nervous as he hit four mediocre punts (though none were terrible).

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Bryan Barker vs. Brent Bartholomew at punter—The club in essence told Barker that they were sick of his occasional shanks and that another up-and-down performance would lead to his release. A 1997 Pro Bowl pick, Barker still possesses a solid leg and often looks sharp in practice, but he couldn't punt consistently in games all last year and then in this preseason opener. He had a very impressive effort against the Patriots, though, pinning New England twice inside the 15 and overall netting 39 yards. He remains the favorite to open the season.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: RB Trung Canidate posted his first nice game, rushing five times for 33 yards with a 6-yard touchdown. But Kenny Watson kept pace in the race to start, piling up seven carries for 47 yards in Washington's opening drive of the second half. Watson also had three rushes for 15 yards in the first half and for the game led the team with four catches for 26 yards. Ladell Betts is healing from a sprained elbow and should play in the final two preseason games. ... C Wilbert Brown started in place of injured Larry Moore and botched his first shotgun snap. Lennie Friedman the played a bunch with the starters and appeared solid. ... CB Rashad Bauman showed some spunk in the battle to be the third corner. ... NT Del Cowsette did a solid job with the starters after Brandon Noble went down.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: RB Kenny Watson—It's a tough call over starter Trung Canidate, who really was solid while playing the whole first half with the starters. But Watson dominated the Redskins' first drive of the second half and led Washington with 62 rushing yards (a 6.2 average) despite a lingering knee injury that caused him to miss several practices during the week. The battle is heating up, with Ladell Betts scheduled to return to full-contact practice this week.

ROOKIE REPORT: WR Taylor Jacobs — Is doing some good things and bad things as the No. 3 receiver. He had one catch for 9 yards against New England, and made a spectacular grab that was challenged and overturned. However, his blocking on the edge could use some work.

OL Derrick Dockery — Didn't appear to get any work with the first team for a second straight week, though coaches continue to say that they want to see if he can compete against starters. For now, he appears not quite ready for the big-time.

QB Gibran Hamdan — Got a few snaps at the end of the New England game after sitting out all of the Carolina game. Threw an interception as Washington tried to drive for a tying touchdown.

INJURY REPORT: NT Brandon Noble suffered multiple ligament tears and a dislocated kneecap against New England and is done for the season. ... DT Bernard Jackson sprained his ankle and could miss a few weeks. ... LT Chris Samuels got overheated during the game but should be OK. ... RB Ladell Betts (elbow) should return this week. ... DE Regan Upshaw (knee) sat out for precautionary reasons and will return to the lineup this week. ... DE Bruce Smith (knee) made his preseason debut, as did K John Hall (groin) and LB Jeremiah Trotter (knee).

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"Those guys are working their butts off, and you can't point a finger and say it was just the defensive line," coordinator George Edwards said. "We had linebackers miss tackles, we had safeties miss tackles, we had corners miss tackles. Everybody was in on it."

With that in mind, Washington shifted to full-on tackling in practice on Monday, which led to several scuffles on the field, including a pair between LB Jessie Armstead and running back Chad Morton. Coach Steve Spurrier wasn't pleased but players thought that the intensity needed to pick up.

Am I getting it wrong, or is this the 2nd straight week Armstead and Morton have had a 'go' at it ? What is this, bad blood between the ex-NY rivals ?

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Originally posted by GhostofWoodsonReturns

No, this is the same incident being reported as new. Hmm.

At first I thought that was the case, but then I thought it wierd that they blended 'old' news inside an article full of recent news. Strange way of writing.... Pulp-Fiction-like.

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OK, Bruce Smith should be fined.

He needs to shut his fat mouth and stop second guessing his bosses. If he doesn't like it, he can always retire and be second place forever in the sack record.

You would think that a man 40 years old being GIVEN the chance to achieve a record would SHUT UP and stop causing DISSENT among a group TRYING VERY HARD to come together as a team. ... and i said GIVEN this chance, because they didn't HAVE to allow his old butt to play this year, they could have sent him packing back up to Buffalo to sit on a porch and drink lemonade.

Until he has the word COACH in front of his name, he should keep his TRAP SHUT about matters that are NONE of his BUSINESS. He is NOT the GM. He is a BACKUP defensive end.

His business is to PLAY, not sign players, negotiate contracts, coach, or anything else. Just get out there and PLAY, and SHUT UP.

If I am my main man DEL COWSETTE I'd feel like slapping him. If i were Bernard Holsey, I'd think Smith didn't feel as if I was capable, and I would likely begine to DOUBT MYSELF. Same thing if I am Jermaine Haley.

Nice job Bruce. You just did as much damage to the current DL with your running yap as you claim the FO did by releasing two guys. (One of whom is already in trouble and injured ,and the other one is a useless tub of lard.)

Why doesn't Smith stand up and be a LEADER for a change? Why must he detract from the confidence of the guys who are next to him? Why doesn't he say something SMART, like a VETERAN should,, , something like "The guys we have are capable, and we may not get a lot of respect, but I believe in them, and we can be a good line."?

Gee Brucie, try doing something to INSPIRE the younger players.

So far, all he has taught anyone is how to WHINE like a BlTCH. Can't make a sack? CRY to the REF. Can't get free? CRY about personel moves.

You know what? I officially say

F BRUCE SMITH. Loudmouth d*ckhead.

~A Disgusted Bang

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Bruce smith wasn't given nothin bang.

You don't get the sack record just by being a nice guy. Bruce smith is the most succesful player on the team right now. No one at any position is better than he was in his prime. He is still an elite player on our team. When he talks...... i'll listen

-DB

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Originally posted by DrunkenBoxer

Bruce smith wasn't given nothin bang.

You don't get the sack record just by being a nice guy. Bruce smith is the most succesful player on the team right now. No one at any position is better than he was in his prime. He is still an elite player on our team. When he talks...... i'll listen

-DB

He wasn't GIVEN a chance to play this year?

How many other 40 year old DEs do you know of that are left totally unblocked on runs through the middle because he's so slow everyone knows he can't catch any run plays? For that matter, how many 40 year old DEs are there, period?

I don't care what he did in his prime. He's no longer IN his prime, (and hasn't been for several years) and he's living on borrowed time generously granted him by the very FO he criticizes.

Besides. we are 2 weeks away from the opener, do you think he did his team a service by opening his stinking yap and proclaiming that the DL is going to stink, and that he doesn't have any confidence in his linemates? That's pretty much what he says when he says what he did. Do you think he's helping the cause by WHINING that we don't have big Fat Boy wilkinson, or Mister I-got-in-a-fight-and-can't-play Gardener? Do you think the young players that we are pressing into service on the line feel confident when Bruce cries like that? Do you think it helps build respect among the younger players? Let's hope they don't take your advice and listen when he talks. Because what he says will destroy what little confidence they may have in themselves.

Screw him. Some leader. Some veteran.

Shuffle back to Buffalo. Let THEM listen to him.

~Bang

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Sure he does,,, but,, if I can make an analogy,,,

You're in a foxhole surrounded by the enemy with no one beside you but green recruits. Odds are you're going to die, but the young guys are ready to fight it out.

So, do you tell them, "boys, we're going to give it all we got and see if we can't kick our way out of here..."

Or do you say, "Holy smokes, look at you bunch of rejects! Get ready to die guys, cause we don't have a chance."

If you think you will die,, you will die.

If you think you will succeed, you just might, and at the very least, will die on your feet fighting and not laying down crying about how bad the situation is.

~Bang

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He does have a point and maybe a motive for stating t he obvious, hell we are on the outside saying the same things he is saying, If I was a younger player alongside him that would probably piss me off enough to fire me up to play just to prove him wrong.

But that all depends on the mindset of the guys long the D-line that needs to step up their play

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Originally posted by Bang

Sure he does,,, but,, if I can make an analogy,,,

You're in a foxhole surrounded by the enemy with no one beside you but green recruits. Odds are you're going to die, but the young guys are ready to fight it out.

So, do you tell them, "boys, we're going to give it all we got and see if we can't kick our way out of here..."

Or do you say, "Holy smokes, look at you bunch of rejects! Get ready to die guys, cause we don't have a chance."

If you think you will die,, you will die.

If you think you will succeed, you just might, and at the very least, will die on your feet fighting and not laying down crying about how bad the situation is.

~Bang

Yep

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IS there anyone who dosen't think he just came back for the record? He is a record and stat guy who needs to shut up and let the front office do the work. I would have loved to resign Gardner but not at the cost of not being able to resign Jansen, Champ, and Lavar......

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First,

He is known for underplaying the run to try to get to the qb

That statement is just plain false. Historically ignorant, in fact.

Smith was known as one of the finest every-down defensive ends to ever play the game. He never dogged it against the run. He still doesn't, but at 40, he simply doesn't have the strength and endurance he used to.

When Smith takes a wide lane, it's because that's how the play was called, not because he's freelancing.

Did Smith come back for the record. Of course he did. To deny that would be silly. But if anyone doesn't think Smith would love to see this team go deep into the playoffs and go out a winner, you're either dumb or crazy. That's why he's so upset. Smith is as competitive a player who's ever played the game. He wants to win, dammit! And the front office's short-sightedness has compremised that effort. Smith was finally developing chemistry with Daryl Gardener. Don't believe me? Look at the stats, and look at the film. Even at age 39, Smith played BETTER the second half of the season once he and Gardener developed some report. They benefitted each other. It seems like every time he gets something going, the Skins management finds a way to undermine it.

Give him some damn credit for calling out Snyder and company, instead of cowering in fear like so many in the organization!

And Smith has always been outspoken. He's never been able to hold his tongue. Some of you may see a whiney, selfish player. But I see a guy who calls it like he sees it, and has been instrumental in the development of young players, both on offense and defense. I think Chris Samuels has Bruce Smith to thank in large part for his quick development.

The guy has earned respect. Don't blame him for not wanting to depart the game on a team like Darrell Green did.

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I do blame him. If the team wasn't to his liking, he could have retired. No one held a gun to his head to sign the contract in the first place.

What is hard to understand about this? He's on a team who has suffered a blow on an already weak line. Young inexperienced players are being forced into the breach.

Smith has two choices. He can stand up and say something positive to try to help the young guys take on their burden, or he can bltch and moan and cry and damage their confidence.

he chose the second option, and pardon me, but I won't have repect for a man that does that to our team.

I don't CARE what he did over the last 20 years. it's all about what he does NOW, and just now, he F'd up.

~Bang

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"... LT Chris Samuels got overheated during the game but should be OK. ..."

Does this statement make anyone else wonder about the shape Samuels is in? He played his college ball in the nasty heat of Alabama so I have to wonder if this is a fluke or he's not in his best playing shape. I haven't seen any of the first two preseason games but his play has not quite sounded like it's up to par. Hopefully, I'm just worrying about nothing.

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Hey, Bang, can't Smith call out management and STILL help the young guys take on their burden? Ultimately, that's what he's going to do. You may not like Smith's outspokeness, but if you question his professionalism, you come off sounding ignorant. Smith still prepares himself as well as anyone, and he comes to play on Sundays, no matter who' s lined up next to him.

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Perhaps Guru, but I've heard this comment frequently in the last several years. In fact, I recall hearing it his last year with the Bills. Then again, I could be guilty of believing media interpretation. I do not think he is quite as vigorous against the run as he is against the pass. This, as well as his age is why I think he is being cast as the third down pass specialist now. I'm overstating a bit, I don't think he ignores the run or dramatically underplays, but I think he is more sack happy and sometimes runs are made on him because of it.

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Bruce Smith has never been what anyone would consider a leader. He's constantly malingering thru training camps, here and in Buffalo,, in fact, this is the first time since he's been here that he's actually gotten thru the first week without some mystery ailment keeping him relaxing until just before the season.

and you know what? NO he can't call out management. Not now. times are dark, the team needs leaders to rally around, not whiners to breed dissent and bad feelings.

A veteran should LEAD. How is he going to teach the young players now that he's basically said in the press that he doesnt believe in them? Why should they listen? Why WOULD they listen?

Call me old fashioned, but that is what I expect out of veterans. I expect leadership, and his words are not those of a leader. They are the words of a dissenter, period.

As far as his 'coming to play' on Sunday, a leader needs to 'come to play' when it isn't Sunday, too. Besides,, he's only coming to play this year out of purely selfish reasons.

And for the record, I don't think ANY player has any business calling out management. Snyder managed to fix a WHOLE BUNCH of holes this offseason. He brought in an offensive line that was sorely needed. He got us the kicker we sorely needed. He got us the top flight WR we sorely needed. he got us the safety we sorely needed. He got us two DTs anyway in Noble and Haley. (and Cannida and Holsey recently for depth.. he didn't just ignore the position) Last year he landed us a top notch MLB, OLB Jesse Armstead, and Reynaldo Wynn.

Can't do it all overnight. Wilkinson is a putz, and we know it. Lamenting over him is to lament a guy who never helped us be much of anything. Gardener is a huge risk, and as evident by his current non football-acting like an idiot in public injury status, a risk we were smart not to take. His problem now isn't even a result of his bad back, but the odds are that will hamper him soon enough.

Maybe Smith should focus on what's positive instead of what's negative. Maybe then these young guys who SERIOUSLY need some veteran leadership will get some, and maybe begin to be able to gel enough to be something.

Sorry, call me anything you want. I think Smith made a big mistake with these comments.

~Bang

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