On Saturday night....on a gloomy setting in Seattle...the Redskins season ended. The Redskins gave a valiant effort, but lost to the NFC's best team 20-10.
To be honest, this season has been a great one. Sure, not as great as the 1982, 1987 or 1991 seasons [or even several others]...but the fact that this team made a postseason appearance is quite amazing. I mean, this was a team that was 6-10 last year and came in with essentially the same team, but dealing their best wideout [Laverneaus Coles] for one that underperformed last year [Santana Moss]. Still, the offense looked crisper...the defense even more defiant....and the team benefitted.
But what does this mean?? Are we back into the mix of teams that have a shot each year?? Or is this just a one-year fluke and we'll go back to where we've been over the last decade [see: the 5-years after the 1999 NFC East championship].
THE GOOD: GREGG WILLIAMS. Williams was to be one of the hottest coaches on the market this offseason. Daniel Snyder knew this...and paid him what some head coaches make This is a really big deal...since Williams will be in his 3rd year with that Skins defense. Before this season....the Skins had gone the last 6 years with 6 different defensive coordinators.
THE BAD: THE SECONDARY. Don't get me wrong - they are a great secondary. Problem is that they were injury plagued all season long. If it wasn't Shawn Springs out....it was Carlos Rogers out. If not them, then it was Sean Taylor. All this after their 2nd straight year of letting a star CB go [Champ Bailey in '04, Fred Smoot in '05]. And Taylor needs to do alot about his personal issues and attitude. Remember, he had [and still has] bad legal issues to deal with that could possibly keep him off the field in 2006. Also, the spitting incident and subsequent lying afterwards really put Washington in a bind. You want to stick up for your guys....but it is hard to when they aren't being truthful.
THE GOOD: JOE GIBBS. I was genuinelysurprised at his progress that he and his offensive coaching staff made this season. Last year, the playcalling was stale and they had issues with replays and getting plays in on time. This year, they did a fine job improving all those areas. And while the offense wasn't a juggernaut, Gibbs changed up his playbook to allow Clinton Portis an opportunity to excel and got a lot out of Mark Brunell's experience. I thought the game might have passed Gibbs by...but he just continued to amaze me with his ability to adjust. Next year, he may have more improvements ready.
THE BAD: QUARTERBACK. Mark Brunell came from the dead to take over this Skins team. But is that a good thing? Right now, yes, but will he be able to duplicate it next year? Doubtful. The best thing about Brunell is that he rarely did anything stupid...which was a far cry from Patrick Ramsey. But Brunell is 35 and this past season might have been his last good shot. Ramsey is as good as gone and Jason Campbell [aka The Future] didn't get any real action out there. So the future is essentially now as far as that QB spot goes. If Brunell tanks again...there will be no one to fill the void.
THE GOOD: WE HAVE STARS. There are two legit stars in the Redskins sky....and they are Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley and Santana Moss. Portis relished his role as a heavy duty back....showing durability and will even though he was having shoulder issues toward the end of the road. Cooley filled that H-back position to perfection, giving the Skins a multiple option outlook on offense. Moss gave the Skins a big play threat...something they hadn't had. It is a nice lusury to be able to build your offense around these guys.
THE BAD: FALLING STAR. How will this LaVar Arrington saga turn next? It has been nothing but drama over the past few seasons with Arrington and Gregg Williams. Arrington rarely played early in the season....but became a bigger part of the defense as the year went along. But, dude is making a ton of money.....and he's quite expensive for a part time player. With Williams locked in....will the Skins keep Arrington and try to make it work or release or deal him?? Could be the biggest offseason question. With the Skins projected to be a good ways over next year's cap...Arrington could be gone.
THE GOOD: COACHING STAFF TO STAY INTACT. In a season in which there are so many job openings.....the Redskins will be lucky to keep their entire coaching staff in Washington. Locking up Williams was huge, since he helms the defense and since he won't be a head coach somewhere else, he can't pilfer the Skins defensive staff to come with him. Gibbs and Daniel Snyder are working at getting all the coaches contracts extended.
THE BAD: THE OFFENSIVE LINE MAY NOT. Well, not exactly. Ray Brown retired after 500 years in the NFL.....but he was originally just a backup. But Casey Rabach, Randy Thomas and Corey Raymer will undergo surgery this offseason and will try to be back to snuff when training camp begins.
THE GOOD: NO BIG TIME FREE AGENTS. Last year, Fred Smoot and Antonio Pierce left the Redskins after being important members on the 2004 team. This year, there aren't any huge names that will be free agents. Robert Royal [TE] and Ryan Clark [S] should be back. It would be nice to have Rock Cartwright back....but not a certainty.
THE BAD: IT WILL BE TOUGH TO ADD NEW ONES. Since the Skins are already dealing with cap issues, it will be hard for them to find anything of value in the market.