The news for Washington hasn't improved much in the last couple of days, depending on who you want to listen to. Last week, the Skins lost their most productive tackler to an NFC East rival. As my Hog Heaven partner Chris mentioned earlier this week, Laveranues Coles was traded to the New York J-E-T-S for Santana Moss and Fred Smoot signed with the Minnesota Vikings.
Now Coach Gibbs finds himself having to defend the losses of Laveranues Coles and Fred Smoot, two of his so-called "core" players. Come to think of it, the only other player Gibbs called "core" was recently re-signed Chris "Skins4Life" Samuels. Losing two of your three keeper players doesn't sound like good management, does it?
Ah, but His Joeness makes what I think is a pretty compelling argument for his stance. On Thursday, Gibbs stated that, given the team's budget, he did his best to keep the players he wanted as a foundation for the future. Some were either unhappy or asked for more money than he was willing to give. Coach also noted how successful the Patriots have been while smartly handling money. The Washington Post says he put it pretty simply: "If we go too far on one player...it's going to cost us other players." The rest of that news conference is here. Imagine that: the Redskins following Suze Orman's 9 Steps to Financial Freedom.
Ironic, isn't it, how Washington's front office has been maligned and mocked as Fantasy Football managers for years now (and yes, I may have captained that boat), yet when Gibbs shows some fiscal responsibility by refusing to budge on an offer to Fred Smoot while retaining most of his other free agents, he has to face the proverbial media music? If he decided to go cash-happy, wouldn't the D.C. faithful roll their eyes and raise the SOS (Same Old Skins) flag? Mike Wise over at the Post goes so far as to suggest that trying to emulate the proven Patriot method of free agency is foolish. Huh?
Even in fantasy football the method works. Those who followed the Redskins Review this past season know that I chronicled my Fantasy Football league, Festivus Maximus. My brother Roy joined the league in August, not long before our draft. Because some team owners didn't return, he ended up inheriting one of their teams which contained such standouts as Ricky "High Times" Williams and Morten "Single Bar" Andersen. His squad suffered untimely injuries and uncharacteristic poor production en route to a 2-6 midseason record. And one of those wins was by forfeit.
So he employed his own version of the Patriot Game, stalking the free agent waiver wires for cheap, available players whom he believed could rise and shine. Who-dats and third-stringers like Reuben Droughns, Lee Evans and Michael Clayton found their way onto Roy's Boys. Meanwhile, the rest of the league laughed at his Quixotic desperation. That was, until he went undefeated the rest of the regular season, upsetting nearly every top team and eventually hoisting the Festivus Championship trophy.
That said, I think that plugging Lemar Marshall in for Pierce and Walt Harris in for Smoot isn't as egregious a crime as the critics think because of how effective Gregg Williams' defensive schemes were last year. Again, who-dats filled in for our Matt Bowen and LaVar Arrington. It also appears that Gibbs & Company want to go deep more often with Moss and Patten, an exciting proposition when you consider that Patrick "Pharaoh" Ramsey has a strong arm. If he can keep on eye on his hot reads (likely Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley), this offense could finally, um, score some points.
In other news, hats off to the Baltimore Ravens who look startingly like the Skins and Jets two season ago, picking two players (cornerback Samari Rolle and wideout Derrick Mason) from one team. The Titans' loss is the Ravens' gain, solidifying an already stingy defense and finally giving Kyle "Hail Mary" Boller somebody to throw to not named Heap. I know it's only March, but I'm a little fearful of the Baltimore defense.
By the way, if anyone's interested in tickets to the sold-out Jill Scott concert, word on the street is that Mike Tice can hook you up.
Good news to report for the Redskins Review. We've been picked up by the Most Valuable Network, a freelance journalist sports site, covering sports form baseball to football to hockey. I'll be contributing my Review blogs to MVN, sharing space on the Hog Heaven page with my partner Chris Hiteshew. I'll continue to add my thoughts on NFL action in both arenas. Check it out sometime and leave a comment!