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From Lenny...


SonnyJ

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Basically, he's taking a few quotes and running (well, rolling, in his case) with it...

Monday, August 25

'Skins have more talent, but plenty of concerns

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By Len Pasquarelli

ESPN.com

Given his record of incredible success in the college ranks, not to mention the size of his undeniable ego, many confidants of Steve Spurrier always assumed that the temptation to test himself against his peers at the highest level of the game would eventually lure him to the NFL.

Now here's the irony: Only 19 months after Spurrier finally took the leap, signing a five-year, $25 million deal with the Washington Redskins that made him the league's highest paid coach at the time, some people wonder just how long he will stick around.

Patience is not a virtue Spurrier possesses in even a modicum quantity. And despite yet another offseason spending spree by owner Daniel Snyder, aimed at quickly catapulting his franchise back to respectability and into the playoffs, the revamping of the Redskins might still turn out to be an endurance test of sorts.

Spurrier expects to do less head-scratching and more celebrating in 2003.

As the characteristically impertinent rookie coach in 2002, when he now acknowledges his public bravado was ill-advised, Spurrier once suggested he would be disappointed if he didn't steward Washington to a Super Bowl berth in three seasons.

So what happens if "The Ol' Ball Coach" falls shy of that goal? How might Spurrier react if the "Fun 'N' Gun" offense, a year from now, is still being operated by a gang that couldn't shoot straight? Or if his defense can't stop the run?

"I expect (Spurrier) to be here for all five years of his contract and even beyond that," Snyder said during training camp. "And I expect Steve, and the Redskins to be successful, obviously. He'll get it done."

Certainly his track record indicates that Spurrier is capable of completing a makeover faster than the folks on Trading Spaces. No doubt the comeuppance he received in 2002, when he allows he was "humbled" by a 7-9 record and the failures of systems he could all but take for granted at the college level, will make Spurrier an even better coach in his sophomore campaign.

What remains to be seen is if Spurrier, who has delineated more responsibility but at the same time become increasingly involved in facets of the game he once all but ignored, can make Washington a better team.

Less than two weeks removed from the Redskins' prime time opener against the New York Jets on Sept. 4, that remains a difficult prognostication to make, since Washington has been inconsistent in preseason play and suffered key injuries and defections. Snyder doled out between $25 million-$30 million in first-year compensation to newcomers and, unlike his ill-fated splurge of 2000, acquired players either in their prime or emerging as legitimate stars.

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles has demonstrated in preseason that his breakout year with the Jets in 2002 was not a fluke, and he might prove worth the $13 million signing bonus he received. Guard Randy Thomas, another former Jets starter, is clearly a Pro Bowl caliber blocker. And in the past two games, tailback Trung Canidate, a better fit in the Spurrier-designed offense than he would be in most blueprints, has displayed some of the toughness his critics claimed he didn't have.

The defense remains a question mark, principally because the Redskins are without either of their two starting tackles of a year ago, and are still scrambling to add inside depth. But the linebacker corps is very good, the cornerbacks top-shelf and the safety position a lot better than it was in 2002.

“ Those guys will all help me be better. But, hey, I've played quarterback my entire football career. I know it's on me. ”

—QB Patrick Ramsey, on the Redskins' offseason additions

One unexpected advantage upon which Spurrier and the Redskins could not have counted when camp began: Both of their first two opponents, the Jets and then the Atlanta Falcons (Sept. 14), have lost their starting quarterbacks to injuries. At least on paper, the fast start that Snyder has suggested is imperative for his team now looks infinitely easier than just a couple weeks ago, right?

That said, this is still a franchise fraught with irony in many ways, both for the short- and the long-term.

Even with all the new weaponry, for instance, offensive advances will still be measured by the progress of a guy who was already on-hand. The Redskins' fortunes figure to rise and fall on the play of second-year quarterback Patrick Ramsey, still a virtual rookie in terms of experience, and a player who will be prone to streaks of inconsistency. Ramsey will be an excellent player in time but, in 2003, Washington likely will be only as good as he permits it to be.

"Yeah, there's definitely some irony there, since it's mostly the new guys who've gotten the majority of the attention," Ramsey said. "Those guys will all help me be better. But, hey, I've played quarterback my entire football career. I know it's on me."

The long-term irony: Snyder is generally viewed as a man who demands to have instant gratification, the guy who fired Marty Schottenheimer after just one season, despite the fact the Redskins won eight of their last 11 games under his guidance. One might assume that it will be Snyder who ultimately decides whether the Spurrier Experiment is success or failure. But the smart money says that, if Washington doesn't win big in the next few years, it will be Spurrier who decides when to pull the plug.

"Haven't even thought about anything like that," Spurrier insisted last month. "All we're doing is trying to coach football and win some games. That's all that we're interested in around here."

Which begs the question: No matter how hard Spurrier coaches, if the Redskins don't win, how long will he maintain that interest?

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com

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What kills me is that so much time and words have been spent on analyzing Spurrier in the last year and a half. From reading their stuff, most sports writers don't seem to think SS is worth the $$ and will not live up to his billing, yet they can't seem to stop writing about him...Interesting.

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Originally posted by dchogs

no kidding. so many words, so little said. seems like lenny is trying to answer the age-old question: what is the sound of one hand clapping?

I don't think what he's doing with that hand is clapping, dc. Not in a non-medical sense, anyway.

Hey redman, what was that we were talking about regarding Lenny a couple weeks ago? :)

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It is an interesting zero information article. Wonder why it was even written. It contains no actual information. Certainly nothing we've not speculated on a hundred times and heard directly from Spurrier's mouth that if he can't win in three years he needs to be removed. How is this a surprise?

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I just continue to chuckle at each article that takes a shot at Spurrier, Snyder, the Skins, et.al. Jerrah Jones has been in the league a little while now, and Danny is still the new kid on the block that everyone loves to hate. Couple that with a brash and successful college coach moving up the ranks, and the Skins are firmly in the cross hairs of most writers of footballese in America. Slow day? Let's whip out the ole "Spurrier and Snyder egomaniacal spendthrifts are in for a rude awakening if they think they can just waltz into the BRUTAL NFL."

Sheesh, I rarely even read past the first two sentences when I feel one of these articles coming on.

Actually, I'm quite enjoying this year so far. Not many in pundit-land give the Skins a chance at better than a .500 year. Could be we sneak through the first 2/3-3/4 of the season before someone realizes the Skins are, say 8-4.

Had to spend all Sun. morning listening to some yahoo on sports radio rail Spurrier for throwing a flea-flicker in preseason. I'm certain no other team has, or would do that. Also, doubt the Jets, Falcons, Giants will see the tapes and have to think twice before committing defensively to Canidate busting off tackle.

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Total cheap shot article. He hints at the first two pre-season games as reasons for concern and refuses to even acknowledge the stomping we put on the Ravens. What a putz.

BTW has anyone else noticed the total lack of storys on espn.com and nfl.com about the Ravens game? Zip. Zero. Nada. It's as if they refuse to print anything positive about us.

I usualy don't put much stock in the whole "media bias" thing regarding football. Visit any other teams Board and you see people complaining. But MAN, the crap that is said and written about the Skins... It's clear they hate Snyder AND Spurrier. And the ex players? Damn, talk about some haters.

I pray to god this team takes notice and has a chip on it's shoulder. Come on guys, make these a-holes eat their words!

:evil:

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From Lenny the Hutt's "Year In Review" article dated December 31, 2003:

"Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and Head Coach Steve Spurrier continue to silence all of their critics, myself included, with a season nobody outside the Washington, DC area expected."

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