Gibbs legend losing luster
Auburn QB pick is latest screwup
Potential QB controversy surrounding selection of Jason Campbell is typical of current Joe Gibbs regime.
Daniel Snyder brought back the legendary Joe Gibbs to save the Redskins. But all that Gibbs has done in his 16 months back on the job is tarnish his legend.
Gibbs has been unable to calm things down at Redskins Park. In fact, Gibbs, who has total control, desperately misses Bobby Beathard and Charley Casserly, his GMs when he won three Super Bowls his first time in Washington. He has been right in the middle of the craziness that has defined the Redskins during the Snyder era and has now presided over a miserable offseason and curious draft.
Trading up for Auburn QB Jason Campbell late in the first round does nothing for the Redskins now except create an unnecessary quarterback controversy and more confusion. It makes no sense, which means it makes perfect sense for these dysfunctional Redskins. Why is Gibbs, at the age of 64, taking a late first-round quarterback who is not going to help him win now in a win-now league? He's obviously not sold on Patrick Ramsey, a No. 1 pick only three years ago, and it also means he's not retiring again anytime soon.
Gibbs used to have the magic touch with quarterbacks. He won Super Bowls with three of them: Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien, functional players who will never join him in the Hall of Fame. His 12 seasons away from football are showing.
When he was hired, Gibbs inherited Ramsey, who showed potential despite Steve Spurrier basically disregarding quarterback protection. But Gibbs loves veteran quarterbacks and foolishly gave up a third-round pick to Jacksonville in a weak market for Mark Brunell and Snyder gave Brunell an $8.6 million signing bonus. Brunell hit the downside years ago.
Brunell started the first nine games and then didn't take another snap the rest of the season when Gibbs switched to Ramsey. The Redskins finished 6-10, but had far greater problems than Ramsey.
But on Tuesday, the Redskins paid a huge price when they traded their No. 3 this year and Nos. 1 and 4 next year to Denver for the 25th pick Saturday. Word leaked the Skins made the trade strictly to get Campbell, given credence by Gibbs' visit to Auburn the same day the deal was done. Campbell had not been projected as a first-round pick.
Usually, teams will not make a trade until they know the player they've targeted is still on the board. Washington was fortunate the Browns, who were expected to take Campbell early in the second round, didn't find a way to jump ahead of them. Apparently, the Skins liked Campbell so much that if Cal QB Aaron Rodgers dropped one more spot to them, they still would have taken Campbell.
Gibbs insists Ramsey is his starter and has told him so. He says taking Campbell doesn't have an impact on Ramsey, who, he says, is "the guy we're counting on taking us to the playoffs." Clearly, with his Brunell and Campbell moves, Gibbs is not endorsing Ramsey and risks alienating him. But this is what happens when teams change coaching staffs so frequently.
The Redskins have taken a step backward in the offseason. Laveranues Coles forced his way out and the Skins took a $9.3 million cap hit. They traded him to the Jets for Santana Moss, who wants a new contract and has boycotted the offseason program. So has second-year safety Sean Taylor, who already wants a new contract. LaVar Arrington recently ripped into the organization. Two of Gibbs "core" Redskins, Antonio Pierce and Fred Smoot, left as free agents.
It's no surprise the Redskins, one of the NFL's glamour franchises, have made the playoffs once in the last 13 years.
JETS BOOT UP: The best way for the Jets to close the gap on the Patriots is to close the gap on Adam Vinatieri. That's why taking Ohio State's Mike Nugent, a kicking machine, made sense for the Jets. It's clear after Doug Brien's fiasco in Pittsburgh the Jets couldn't bring him back. In the last four seasons, Vinatieri has won two divisional playoff games and two Super Bowls with late field goals. ... Denver's Mike Shanahan obviously thinks he's so much smarter than everybody else. Using a third-round pick on Maurice Clarett, who has more trouble running fast 40s than he does sprinting to the dinner table, was a classic case of buying too early. Clarett has not played since 2002, his freshman year at Ohio State. But Shanahan probably thinks he could get 1,000 yards out of Refrigerator Perry. "We feel like we know running backs pretty good," he said. "We've had some success with them." One thing Shanahan hasn't had: Success without John Elway. ... Dallas is the biggest draft winner. Bill Parcells rebuilt his front seven in a couple of hours by taking Troy pass rusher Demarcus Ware at No. 11 and LSU run stopper Marcus Spears at No. 20. Parcells has the flexibility to play the 4-3 or his trademark 3-4, especially after owner Jerry Jones got him Jets free agent DT Jason Ferguson with a $9 million signing bonus.