New coaches, outlook for Skins

May 23, 2002, midnight | By Calvin Anderson | 18 years, 8 months ago

Two seasons ago, the Washington Redskins revamped their entire team. They added superstars Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith to pump up the D and spent millions on an overrated, bum quarterback. Now Sanders is gone, Smith is well past his prime and QB Jeff George is on the street with a sign reading "Will play football for food."

Those were unquestionably bad investments by the owner of the $800-million Redskins, Daniel Snyder. So this time around, Mr. Moneybags used his checkbook to bring in a new crew: Head Coach Steve Spurrier, Defensive Coordinator Marvin Lewis and new General Manager Ron Wolf.

The Skins have acquired some of the league's best free agents; they have the best defensive coordinator on Earth and easily one of the most innovative head coaches in football.

Although the Redskins haven't been to the playoffs in two years and haven't won their last championship in a decade, this season's team has the talent to return the Skins to that past glory.

As of now, Steve Spurrier will not speculate as to who will start at quarterback. My guess is Shane Matthews. Matthews played for Spurrier at Florida and has already enjoyed some success in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. The other quarterbacks on the Redskins' roster are less experienced and will probably see little playing time, but first round draft pick Patrick Ramsey is the Skins' quarterbacking future.

Of course, Stephen Davis will hold it down at the running back spot. He will be an Edgerrin James type of back, catching more passes out of the backfield than he has been accustomed to. Because of Spurrier's pass-oriented offense, Davis' rushing yards may go down, but his overall production will soar.

As for the receivers, the Redskins have acquired some talent from free agency, including ex-Bucs Riedell Anthony and Jacquez Green, both of whom played for Spurrier at Florida. The two know Spurrier's offense and upgrade a position that has been in dire need of help in the last few seasons.

Rod Gardner will be back, and rookie third-rounder Cliff Russell, who clocks in at 4.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash, will add depth and speed at wideout. If the Redskins don't put up points in the passing game this season, it won't be because of poor receivers.

Defensively, the Skins enter this season with the best linebackers in the league. With LaVar Arrington and ex-Giant Jessie Armstead on the outside and hard-hitting ex-Eagle Jeremiah Trotter plugging the middle, I can't see many backs rushing for 100-yard games versus the Redskins.

All three possess speed and athleticism, and they provide the perfect combination of veteran wisdom and youthful energy.

Arrington will get a chance to show off his versatility by playing defensive end on pass rushing situations. He was held to only half a sack last season because he didn't have the freedom that he was accustomed to during his days at Penn State. In Lewis' scheme, Arrington will have more space to roam and will be able to play up to his potential.

The other half of the Redskins defense, the secondary, is back for an encore performance. With my man Champ Bailey holding down one corner spot and the Deion-like Fred Smoot opposite him, the secondary will have another effective season.

The Skins also have the luxury of the best third corner in the league. The ageless Darrell Green, known as the "fastest man over forty," won't start for the second year in a row, but he will play an integral part in helping to raise and nurture the young cornerbacks on the team.

The two question marks on the Redskins' D will be who starts at both safety positions. Either last year's starters, Sam Shade and David Terrell, will return or the Skins will look to free agency for an upgrade. Most likely, Terrell's days as a NFL starter are numbered.

Cal's Call: The Skins promise to be a more entertaining team next season than they were this year. They could easily have a defense rated in the top five and an impressive offense as well. If the Skins can turn Matthews into a decent quarterback, Steve Spurrier's scheme, combined with the consistency of Davis and the speed of the newly acquired wide receivers, could make this offense the "Fun and Gun" of the NFL. But because there is a team called the Rams in the NFC, the Skins' Superbowl hopes will be put on hold for at least one more season. However, they should win the NFC North division and reach at least the second round of the playoffs. Next season, the Hoggettes should awake from their ten-year slumber and be out full force equipped with pantyhose, flowery dresses, makeup and their infamous hog noses. Hail to the new Redskins.

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Calvin Anderson. Calvin Anderson was born in Washington D.C. on January 3rd 1986. He now lives with his mom in Takoma Park Maryland. Calvin is the man behind the infamous column Cal's Call. In addition to writing his column he enjoys playing sports including lacrosse and basketball … More »

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