Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

OS: Happy reunion for former Gators


Recommended Posts


Happy reunion for former Gators

Published June 11, 2002

Chris Harry

ASHBURN, Va. -- It's second-and-goal from just inside the 10-yard line. Jacquez Green is lined up wide to the right side. At the snap of the ball, he breaks off the line of scrimmage, loses his man after two yards, sees the open area in the end zone and goes there.

Ball. Touchdown.

Green hops up and jogs back to the huddle. Two plays later, another Washington Redskins receiver is beating the defense for a red-zone score. Then another. And another.

"All day long," says Reidel Anthony after the workout. "You didn't see any drags from the 7-yard line, did you? That was one of Clyde's favorites."

That would be Clyde, as in Clyde Christensen, the former Tampa Bay offensive coordinator. And that would be Tampa Bay, as in the place where the careers of receivers not named Keyshawn go to die. Green and Anthony, both high-priced former Buccaneers draft picks, believe they have been rescued from wideout purgatory in time to prove themselves in the NFL.

Anthony, a first-round choice of the Bucs in 1997, and Green, a high second-rounder in '98, bolted the Bucs in March to sign free-agent deals with the Redskins, thus reuniting them with Coach Steve Spurrier, the man who helped make them first-team All-Americans at the University of Florida.

Last season, under Marty Schottenheimer and one of the league's most conservative offenses, the Redskins ranked 30th in the NFL in passing. Their quarterbacks threw only12 touchdown passes.

Spurrier has vowed to change those numbers this year. Both Green, who has looked exceptional during minicamps and voluntary workouts, and Anthony, though slowed by a hip flexor, plan on being major factors in the upgrade.

What a drastic difference that would be from their days in Tampa, where Pro Bowler Keyshawn Johnson was the lone focus of one of the league's most ill-conceived passing attacks.

"What was my role in Tampa? I didn't have a role," Green said last week. "I might run a sight adjustment on a safety blitz, but mostly it was clear-outs for Keyshawn. I might run a 'go' rout, but I doubt it."

Quick. Name the last time you saw a Buc run a "go" rout. Last season the Bucs attempted one pass of 50 yards or more -- an incompletion that received a standing ovation from the home fans.

Even four years ago, when Tampa Bay was said to have one of the fastest receiving corps in the NFL, Coach Tony Dungy wasn't going to put his defense in bad situations with high-risk pass plays.

Instead -- and it didn't matter if it was Christensen ('01), Les Steckel ('00) or Mike Shula ('96-99) playing coordinator -- Tampa Bay receivers were saddled by a scheme designed to get them to a spot, plant and fend off defenders for the ball.

Green and Anthony left town amid whispers of unfulfilled potential. Nobody talked about how the offense was not conducive to numbers for a second receiver. Or that position coach Charlie Williams (still unemployed after Dungy left him hanging on his way to Indianapolis) wasn't exactly Raymond Berry when it came to grooming his pupils.

The focus was more about Green and Anthony being typical UF receivers. Products of the system. Too small. Couldn't adjust to the bump-and-run coverage in the NFL.

Green, who still managed to catch 157 balls during his four seasons, laughs.

"No, I can't beat a bump-and-run running [expletive] routes," he says. "Now we see bump-and-run; guess what? We've got routes that get you open. I mean, you can't call a 'hook' for me -- when I'm 5-foot-9 and 160 -- and expect me to muscle the man 14 yards downfield, then turn around and catch the ball. No, I'm not going to be able to do that.

"But if you call a hook and tell me I can adjust my route to get open, yeah, I can do that. I can use my quicks for that. Our offense in Tampa was built for big receivers. I don't even know why they drafted me and Reidel."

In fact, Green added, one Tampa Bay personnel staffer told him as much during the free-agency process, with the caveat that things were going to change under new Coach Jon Gruden. Both Green (whom the Bucs wanted back) and Anthony (whom they didn't) believe Gruden's multiple-set, multiple-shift scheme will make everyone forget about the predictability of the Bucs past.

But they also like where they are now.

Green, by all accounts, is a lock to make the Redskins (along with '01 first-round pick Rod Gardner and veteran Kevin Lockett) while Anthony is in a fight with several others for one of Washington's six receiver spots.

"I don't blame anybody and I don't point fingers," says Anthony, who caught just 28 passes his last two seasons. "Was I coached? Probably not as well as I could have been. There are a lot of things I'm still learning. Most times, when teams draft young receivers that produce, like a Randy Moss, there's a veteran there that knows the ups and downs, the little things, to help them out. I never had anyone like that."

Anthony had Horace Copeland, then Bert Emanuel to mentor him in the passing game. When Johnson came to town in '00 it was to be the passing game.

"Then you leave town, and you're a bust," Anthony says.

What better way to resuscitate a career than to join the guy who got you there?

"I think what we're doing here will be a little different than what they were asked to do before," Spurrier says. "The way we're going to use them, I think they have a chance."

Both Anthony and Green think the Fun 'N' Gun can make it in the "No Fun League." When it's suggested that the Redskins can't throw it 40 times and score 30 or 40 points every game like the Gators used to, they shrug.

"Rams do it," Green says.

Yes, but St. Louis has Kurt Warner.

"Who was Kurt Warner before Mike Martz got there?" Anthony asks.

Both just smile as they await a response. Clearly, they believe that something good is about to happen for them.

Touchdowns, for example.

"We're with a real coordinator now," Green says. "Maybe even the best coordinator."

Grass-roots thinking

A new edict from team owner Wayne Weaver has Jacksonville Coach Tom Coughlin biting his lip. On top of the salary-cap problems that ripped apart his team, Weaver saw too many empty seats at Alltel Stadium last season. He ordered sweeping public-relations changes, including more community appearances by the head coach and players, along with media access to assistant coaches. The latter, which Coughlin adopted from his days as a Bill Parcells assistant, has been a no-no throughout Coughlin's seven-year reign of terror.

Weaver could have solved his attendance (and maybe even his losing) problems another way, but he chose to thumb his nose toward Gainesville when Steve Spurrier resigned in January.

Fired, then fired up

Former Green Bay wideout Antonio Freeman, released by the team earlier this month after refusing to take a pay cut, lashed out over the weekend at his previous employers who asked the one-time Pro Bowler to take a 75 percent pay cut from $4.3 million next season to $1 million.

“That's means I'm going to be used 75 percent less than last year, and I only had 52 catches,'' Freeman said. “Before you know it, they pay-cut you right out the door.''

With Derrick Alexander (Minnesota) and Keenan McCardell (Tampa Bay) signing over the weekend, the 30-year-old Freeman is the best receiver left on the free-agent market following the wave of June 1 cuts. More, however, could be coming. Cincinnati's Darnay Scott, Pittsburgh's Troy Edwards and Arizona's Frank Sanders could become salary-cap casualties between now and training camp. All four could help teams looking to improve their passing game.

Quote of the week

“Voluntary means, ‘You better be there.'” — Detroit quarterback Ty Detmer, on the concept behind voluntary off-season workouts.

Chris Harry can be reached at charry@orlandosentinel.com.

Copyright © 2002, Orlando Sentinel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well, it is refreshing to see players that loyal to a coach and his system. even four and five years out these guys are still thrilled about playing for the guy again.

nobody was going to climb over a mountain to play here with Norv Turner or Marty Schottenheimer. At least not anyone that was worth having on the team. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a sweet article and every bit of it is true. Those kids played their hearts out for SOS at UF and we won and won big. Jacques and Reidel were doomed here in Tampa due to the OC's. Why some of these bandwagon Buc fans couldn't see how trapped the receivers were is beyond me, just plain blind.

Anyway, I am so pumped for you guys this year. I can't wait!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loved this:

Both Anthony and Green think the Fun 'N' Gun can make it in the "No Fun League." When it's suggested that the Redskins can't throw it 40 times and score 30 or 40 points every game like the Gators used to, they shrug.

"Rams do it," Green says.

Yes, but St. Louis has Kurt Warner.

"Who was Kurt Warner before Mike Martz got there?" Anthony asks.

Both just smile as they await a response.

Part of me says: "yeah, but this aint the Rams, the NFL is bigger. stronger, faster, blah blah blah...."

But another part of me says: "Spurrier took the Tampa Bay Bandits and put up runing and passing stats that were through the roof! And check out the names of the players he used, except for Danny Buggs you might not recognize anyone.

Just maybe, the Skins have caught lightning in a bottle this time, and it's our turn again."

I'm sipping the Spurrier Gator Ade :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, Terry, NO. Resist the temptation to break out the Gator Aid. Too much Kool-Aid last year made us all a bit screwy. Leave the Gator Aid down just for a little longer.

Just a bit longer. Please.


Oh, hell, give me a sip :).

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...