A failure of management, not of a burger
Never still, the intrepid reporters at Curly R have traveled from Martinsburg West Virginia to Greenville South Carolina the past week to bring you the most comprehensive Redskins news and stories anywhere. And now the news.
I'm behind the story on this one but I wanted to add my thoughts on the Adam Archuleta Experience. The particulars of the story are thus: Adam and the team agree to postpone a 5 million dollar bonus to explore 'options.' Waters stir, rumors abound, trigger is pulled, terms are revealed, phyiscal is passed, the moment ends.
Now in the rearview it is appropriate to examine what happened. Adam is 29, healthy (but don't know what's the deal with the ankle surgery) and known as a hitter. He was a key part of a Lovie Smith defense in St. Louis that was decent to above average (start here). Lovie wants him back and expect that Chicago will be improved at free safety next season.
This whole thing was a miserable experience and I would not be surprised if Adam was in fact Tom Friend's source for the Thanksgiving 2006 ESPN piece on team discord and further I would not be surprised if by 'widely believed by team officials' the Washington Post means 'the team knows and told us as much but also told us to let it die.' If you wanted evidence that the Redskins just wanted to get on with it, they exchanged a sixth round pick for the biggest safety's contract in the league, ever. The Redskins will be taking that 4.7 million dollar cap his this year and loving it.
As lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery is fond of reminding me, one measure of a team's success is its ability to turn low draft value into high draft value. AJ Feeley, for example, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2001 draft, got stuck at third string in Philadelphia but showed enough that the Dolphins coughed up a second round pick for him that turned into Reggie Brown, a starting receiver still with the Eagles. (The Eagles again got the last laugh because the Dolphins proceeded to trade AJ to the Chargers for Cleo Lemon and a fifth rounder before the 2005 season, then the Chargers released AJ after 2005 and the Eagles got him back before 2006 for nothing.) Compare this to the Redskins conversion of Rod Gardner and Patrick Ramsey from first round picks (2001 and 2002 respectively) into sixth round picks (Rod after the 2005 season and Patrick after 2006). Now toss Adam for a sixth rounder on there and you have three offseasons in a row to put together evidence of gross incompetence by the team.
Here is what I think happened. With no 'football guy' filter between the coaches and management, the coaches just signed up the 'best' guys at the needed positions and assumed they'd be able to coach 'em up. A football guy takes into acccount not only a player's straight up skills, but also how his skills would work in the context of the current roster and coaching staff. But there was no football guy, just Gregg Williams and Joe Gibbs with one foot on the sideline and one asscheek in the owner's office.
It's a failure of planning on so so many levels. The team did not plan properly for the skills Adam would bring to the team. The team needed a coverage safety and signed a hitting safety. Because they thought they had their coverage safety covered in free agency, the team went out and drafted a hitting safety, Reed Doughty. Sean Taylor doesn't sleep meaning he also doesn't miss games so the team thought they could risk a sixth rounder on a project to develop another player at Sean's position.
So when the Redskins went into the season and found out Adam could not deliver on expectations they were already shorthanded at the position and so were lucky to get hold of journeyman Vernon Fox. One failure led to another and the final failure was a terrible defense that couldn't stop a cruising toddler.
I also do not put it past some smallmindedness on the part of numerous individuals within the organization. Adam may have gone all Dana Stubblefield on the team, first year of a big contract, new team, new city, lots of money and maybe not really into it. Tom Friend tells us that safeties coach Steven Jackson and cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray were in conflict and that Gregg Williams did little about it. Les Carpenter tells us that Gregg Williams cares so little about how much you make that he feels the need to tell you he doesn't care how much you make which of course means he totally does and maybe isn't beyond resenting you for it and certainly won't cover your ass if it makes him look bad.
A fuckup of memorable proportions, like getting up to give the best man's toast and when you realize your drunk with nothing prepared you begin to mumble then fall off the stage and twist your ankle.
Media coverage of Adam's departure: Skin Patrol has the original extra crispy story wrap now with more Redskins blog reaction. Hogs Haven also covers Adam's parting words via Washington Moonie Times. Stay classy all y'all. Jason La Canfora makes the macro point to my micro point about problems compounding. If Ryan Clark and Fred Smoot were not let go, less than none of this would have happened. I appreciate his candor especially since he has to deal with the team personally. Skin Patrol has a long take on it as well.
Adam Archuleta: Michael Connor / Washington Times from here.