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ESPN the Magazine Beats the Panthers

So, this ESPN the Mag story? Big doings. Anonymous Redskins Defender goes on and on and on about how terrible everything is. Players rally around a dislike of, what, anonymous sourcing in bi-weekly, mostly fluffy sports magazines? Then Chris Cooley breaks a bunch of tackles on a normal-looking reception. Then Carolina inexplicably runs strange draws to end one drive, and Jake Delhomme throws a sort of inexplicable pass to end the next drive. Then the Redskins, after a fairly boring, thoroughly non-dominant win at home, claim that they were motivated by a desire to, what, get back at anonymous sourcing in bi-weekly, mostly fluffy sports magazines? Take that, ESPN! We might not like our coaches, but at least we can eke out a narrow win at home thanks to some strange Carolina play-calling and an inexplicable Jake Delhomme pass!

Some highlights from Anonymous Redskins Defender, the guessing of whose name ought to become the next Who is Deep Throat game, if there's any justice in the world.

"Why are we the 30th defense in the league? I think coaches got arrogant, I think Gregg got arrogant," the player said Tuesday, asking not to be identified. "They thought they figured it all out. They thought, 'We can win with scheme, we don't need players.' Don't be mistaken, this is a player-driven game, and so you need players. Any time in life when somebody thinks they've got it all figured out, it's going to come and get you. It's going to come and get you ... the sentiment is a lot of guys are mad because the coaches think it's all about them. They think they're f------ geniuses, thinking they can just let guys go and get away with handling people badly."

And more:

"I think guys are fed up, man," the Redskins player said. "This is what I heard. Guys are talking. They're saying that's why Gregg started losing the team in Buffalo. Because guys got sick of it, sick of getting disrespected. There's a difference between being hard and coaching and disrespecting people all the time and calling people out. He started calling three or four guys out in the team meeting the Saturday night before the Philadelphia game. Just calling certain guys out for certain behavior and this and that. We're talking about 12 hours before the game, and you're calling different guys out for stuff? On- and off-the-field stuff? Just talking mess, going through your rant or whatever. Man, look, guys are getting fed up. And they're saying, a lot of guys in Buffalo, his last year in Buffalo, a lot of guys started popping back to him, popping off to him. Because you can't be a Buddy Ryan anymore in this league. You can't do it.

"And Gregg Williams says all the time, it's not my money. If Gregg was the one writing the checks, I don't know if he'd handle it that way. But he says it in meetings. He gives us speeches about, 'If you don't know what to do, you're going to be standing next to me on the sideline, I don't give a f---. That's where you're going to be. I need to be able to trust you. Hey, it's not my money. I don't care how much you make, I don't care who you are, I'm not the one writing the check, you need to know your assignments, know what to do.' That's what Gregg says. I wonder how Snyder would feel if he heard that one."

(Incidentally, arrogant or not, Gregg Williams looks ridiculous in his black dress slacks and bright white and red Reeboks. I realize all the coaches pop that look, but he seems the most middle-school-science-teacher-at-the-pep-rally to me.)

The response? Williams refused to comment. Players said he never mentioned the article in their Saturday meeting. Phillip Daniels said the quotes might have come from someone claiming to be a player, that we don't know for sure. (Someone claiming to be a player? Who, Archuleta?) Cornelius Griffin said the ARD "should get out of here." Renaldo Wynn said it served as motivation:

"I just can't believe that a player would do something like that," Wynn said. "Regardless of whatever issues you might have, you don't break the football code of ethics. Never. You never do it. We're family. We get it straight in the locker room. It stays inside. That type of stuff has no place out in the public eye. ... We felt the only way to resolve this was to get a win. It played a part."

Frankly, I wonder if Rich Tandler isn't correct when he writes this:

It's as simple as this, really: This is the kind of stuff that's going to get written about you when you are falling as short of expectations as the Washington Redskins are. When the Redskins were winning five straight to get into the playoffs last year Gibbs was calm and unflappable. Now they're 3-7 and he's detached and burned out. When I talk to him he seems like the same guy to me. If the Redskins win three in a row, Williams will be a hard-nosed innovator who demands the best out of his players. Now, he's stubborn, arrogant, and mean.

It's true; NFL folks get so agitated over one loss, however fluky. Yesterday, everyone in press box land was buzzing about how Washington "found its identity." Because the Skins scored 17 points and averted fourth-quarter disaster when Delhomme made a bad decision? On a day when a Charlotte columnist came close to calling for Chris Weinke? And when the Charlotte beat writer said the Panthers "offense was dismal?" Maybe the Panthers just needed an ESPN the Mag story to fire them up.

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 27, 2006; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Comments

Deep Throat = LaVar Arrington

Seriously, I wouldn't doubt it if he heard some of the things about the meeting before the Philly game and extrapolated on them in an interview with ESPN the Magazine and they conveniently left the word "former" out of the claim that it was a Redskins player.

Would that surprise anyone? He's got a lot of time on his hands, and they're not exactly a paragon of virtuous journalism or anything. They're a sports rag.

Posted by: Goat | November 27, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Come on Goat. LaVar is gone. Is it really that big of a stretch that someone on the defense is frustrated with the way this season has gone and is willing to vent this as long as he can remain anonymous? I thought most 'Skins fans had moved on to other scapegoats by now (Archuletta, etc.).

Posted by: tmc | November 27, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I never pegged him as a scapegoat. I just know he had a very BIG mouth, and absolutely no love for Williams, and there's never been a mic he didn't love.

It's not that I think anyone currently on the team couldn't or wouldn't have said those things at all.

(Mostly, it was in jest anyway.)

Posted by: Goat | November 27, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The wistle blower =Shawn Taylor
He's upset Ryan Clark was let go

Posted by: Hodd | November 27, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

AA is probably the culprit, but Sean is a long shot, especially after his play yesterday. The article focused on DB's and safeties, so it had to be a defensive back.

Posted by: maddog97 | November 27, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

The wistle blower =Gregg Williams
To motivate his defense, and we will never know for a fact who it is!

Posted by: Torazo | November 27, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Its good to see this posting on the Friend article - even the Washington Post's own "Redskins Insider" has not directly addressed this major piece.

This article was the talk of Comcast's Postgame Live show after the game. It is absoultely devastating in its critique of the team's coaching staff and front office structure.

I love the Redskins, and have for more than twenty years. I thought that Gibbs returning would finally set right the chaos that started right after Gibbs' first tenure ended in 1993. This article shows that the Gibbs II record of 20 wins and 23 losses over 2 1/2 seasons is no fluke. This team's very structure, its foundation, is rotten to the core.

And it goes to show how success in football is not due to one person like Gibbs, but rather to the entire organization. And clearly, the Redskins organization is perfect for generating money (see Forbes listing of top grossing NFL teams), but inept at building a winning football team.

Posted by: Rennypolis | November 27, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I really thought about arrington i thought about smoot , bailey oh the list goes on and on thats why the article make so much sense this team has become a joke spending all this money for what you give people millions of dollars then sit them on a bench thats crazy you let go of bailey and smoot and replace them with Carlos Rogers but if what this player is saying about the coners and safeties that really does explain alot about why the defense sucks as much as people couldn't stand Jack Kent Cook this team has not been the same since his passing and i dont think he would have stood for alot of this garbage thats going on now. in any profession managers have to lead by example , though i think if you're a 350 pound player you should not be crying cause you get called out in a meeting it should motivate you to get it together but something has happen and maybe if this player would have come out months ago with this issues we'd be 7 and 3 instead

Posted by: Big RB (ima girl) | November 27, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

There are only a handful of guys that have been here for 3 years to see the Wms regime long enough. Some of the quotes point to a DB, which suggests Taylor or Jimoh. Others quotes lead to a defensive player. If it was Arrington, that is fine with me. The good part is some of the real story is exposed. Gibbs and his people sit there and talk about this perfect world when the whole world can see its kaos.

Posted by: RobGreg | November 27, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine Sean Taylor using the word "sentimental."

Posted by: magoo | November 27, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I mean "sentiment."

Posted by: magoo | November 27, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

In response to this part of the Dan Steinberg original posting:

"Frankly, I wonder if Rich Tandler isn't correct when he writes this:

It's as simple as this, really: This is the kind of stuff that's going to get written about you when you are falling as short of expectations as the Washington Redskins are. When the Redskins were winning five straight to get into the playoffs last year Gibbs was calm and unflappable. Now they're 3-7 and he's detached and burned out. When I talk to him he seems like the same guy to me. If the Redskins win three in a row, Williams will be a hard-nosed innovator who demands the best out of his players. Now, he's stubborn, arrogant, and mean."

No. We should not slough off the Tom Friend article quite so easily.

The record of a football team is the clearest standard by which to judge them. If the team is 3-7 (as the Redskins were when the Friend article was posted), then this indicates that the team is not yet successful. When a team as wildly popular - and hyped - as the Redskins are clearly not successful, many people want to understand why.

If a team is 7-3, of course articles will be written about how and why the team is successful. That's because a 7-3 record indicates that what the team is doing is successful. When a team is 3-7, people will write about how and why they are unsuccessful. That's because a 3-7 record clearly indicates what the team is doing is unsuccessful.

And placed within the context of the past 2 1/2 years, this 4-7 season fits into a pattern of underacheiving. Yes, the Redskins made the playoffs last season with a 5 game, season ending winning streak to save the season. However, Gibbs II is 20-23 after 2.5 seasons.

20-23.

Seems like Gibbs alone is not the answer.

Posted by: Rennypolis | November 27, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Read the ESPN article. Assume Mr. Friend, a professional, is being truthful on his sourcing--a notable Redskins player, not an ex-player. It has to be Archuleta. The comments about past years are all carefully phrased as "guys are saying". The comments on this year are directed at who? The safety's coach. Gregg Williams' comments about not caring about salary _have_ to be directed at Our Adam. In fact, everything in the article points directly at Adam The Great.

So, it's one jerk with a grudge who gets no playing time and manages to nearly lose the game anyway. And of course the coaching staff knows it. Look for him to be inactive against Atlanta.

Posted by: Wally | November 27, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

You Skins fans are about as useless as the talent that Snyder annually overpays for.. Why is it such a far fetched notion that a player could actually be fed up & have a legit reason to vent? The Skins haven't exactly been winning & the play calling on both offense & defense have stunk to high heaven. They played ONE solid defensive game & all of a sudden Skins fans are cranking up the bandwagon. If you all can't see that William & Saunders are extremely overpaid bums I don't know what else to tell you but I have a couple of bridges to sell you all. They have squandered away top tier talent on defense only to replace them with scrubs & thrown away draft picks for offensive players who are a waste (well except for Campbell & Portis). How much more money will Snyder have to waste before fans wake up & smell the turds.

Posted by: Fan of a Winning Team | November 27, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Wally, I see what you are saying. I am sure that the source(s) for the Friend article are pissed off player(s) who have a grudge for one reason or another. But does that invalidate what they are saying? After all, Shawn Springs is quoted as saying that there is a lot truth in the article.

I think the 20-23 record that the 'skins have posted over the last 2 1/2 years has not been because of one pissed off player. The fact that the cornerback coach and safety coach did not hold any meetings together for the first five games of the season (absolutely crazy and unheard of in pro football) is not because of one pissed off player. That is a coaching flaw - A BIG one - and this information fits nicely with how much the 'skins secondary has been SHREDDED through the first eight games of the season.

To me, the problems at Redskins Park run a lot deeper than one player. Which is too bad, because I was really hoping that this would be a Super Bowl Year. Now I think the Super Bowl is farther away from the 'skins than ever before.

Posted by: Rennypolis | November 27, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

...and my name is Shawn Springs, an alum of a moco high school, just like Tom Friend. I also didn't play most of this season because of my injury, so clearly I'm not to blame for this debacle of a year.

Posted by: I am the anonymous source | November 27, 2006 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I think a LARGE TORTILLA CHIP is the "snitch"?!

Nice to see that the BOG was cleared to work @ Fed.Ex. yesterday!!!


Thanxxx...

Posted by: WGDC- | November 28, 2006 1:33 AM | Report abuse

It was Springs.

Posted by: ARD | November 28, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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