For instance, on Tuesday's 6PM SportsCenter, one of the "5 Burning Questions" in sports was the following: Has Joe Gibbs' legend lost luster in Washington?" Mr. Sal Paolantonio's talking head fielded the question, and said that in light of Washington spending more than $10 million in free agency last season--more than any other team--yet finishing last in the NFC East, yes, he has lost luster in the eyes of Redskin fans. It should be noted, Sal continued, that Gibbs went to Daniel Snyder with a controlled-spending plan, and that led to the loss of Pierce to the Giants and Smoot to the Vikings.
On Saturday's Full Court Press, hosted by NBC-4 sportscaster George Michael, a roundtable of sports yakkers including the Washington Post's Michael Wilbon and ESPN's Stephen A. Smith considered whether Coach Gibbs has any idea what he's doing with the team. The outspoken Smith, never one to resist the siren's call of a preposterous question, immediately had an answer. But first he feigned disgust, griping "I'm sick of seeing these senior citizens disguised as coaches." He didn't elaborate as to whom he might be alluding, but continued complaining about Gibbs, reasoning that from last season's results and this offseason that the game has passed him by. Mike Wilbon didn't necessarily agree with Stephen Smith, but opined that coaches in charge of player personnel are rarely successful and that the players benefit from having separate general managers.
I know I touched on this topic last week, but seeing these two programs got me worked up again. Gibbs is in an unfortunate no-win situation. If he pays out large sums of money to keep players like Fred Smoot, the Redskins continue their mortgage-the-future habits; if he stands on principle and refuses to finance high-priced free agents, Gibbs is painted as a senile tightwad who has lost his grip on the team.
Now Common Sense 102 says that if something doesn't work, do something else. The Redskins have stunk up the NFC East for far too long, and been a laughingstock of the league because of the searching-for-a-cure spending by the front office. Might it be time to applaud a coach who looks two or three years down the road and plans accordingly? There's a word for that. Leadership.
I believe the Redskins will have a better season than last year, and sometime during November the pundits will sing "...Gibbs has turned this team around...the team really trusts Gibbs..." Sure, sure. Hop on the bandwagon now. There's always room in March.
There was plenty of other news for the Skins this week. Check me out at MVN's Hog Heaven!
One more thing:
Dear Mr. Stephen A. Smith,
I am not surprised by your comments, considering that you cover the NBA more than the NFL. I respect your right to an opinion, but please don't delude yourself into believing that because you speak with passion you speak with precision. After hearing your commentary, I no longer wonder what the "A" in your name stands for.