- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001

Why stop at Jeff George? Why don't the Redskins just hold a yard sale the next few weeks and try to get rid of who they can?

If I were Dan Snyder, I'd call Bruce Smith into my office this morning and say, "Look, everybody knows this might be your last season, so would you like us to try to trade you to a contender? It would be win-win for both of us. You could have one more shot at the Super Bowl, and the team could clear some cap space and maybe pick up an extra draft choice. The Rams might be interested, the Raiders, too. How 'bout it?"

Then, after Smith sauntered out, I'd call in Marco Coleman and Darrell Green yes, Darrell Green and extend them the same courtesy. There's no sense in the Redskins worrying about this season any longer. That train has already left the station. They might as well do what they can to make next season and the seasons after a little better.

Heck, I'd even be tempted to put Michael Westbrook, Shawn Barber and any other guy in the last year of his contract up for bids. Desperate times require desperate measures and besides, the way the Redskins are playing, who would they really miss?

Nobody should be too surprised about George getting the boot. Someone had to pay for the club's pathetic start, so why not the quarterback? (In fact, I suggested as much in Tuesday's column.) George was a mistake from the beginning; Snyder forced him down Norv Turner's throat, and Jeff became the starter this season only because Brad Johnson decided to walk. Then he got a sore arm in training camp, couldn't or wouldn't throw the ball downfield once the regular season began and, well, what did you expect the Redskins to do, retire his number?

George kind of gave himself away in the exhibition game against New England, his first action of the preseason, when he went down, Jim Everett-like, in anticipation of a sack. A quarterback with such proclivities had little chance of succeeding behind the Redskins' mix-and-match offensive line. Better to turn the offense over to Tony Banks, who, as he showed in camp, is pretty good at running for his life.

Of course, Banks is still learning the plays, having joined the team in mid-August, but that's almost a plus. Why? Because none of 'em work, anyway (if the first two games are any indication). It might be good for the Redskins to play a little sandlot ball, to have a QB who occasionally deviates from the script. They might actually stumble into a touchdown that way.

But Banks is hardly the answer, any more than George was the answer. In fact, he's a lot like Jeff a big tease. He'll throw five TD passes one week (as he did last season against Jacksonville), then fail to get the offense in the end zone in five of the next six. But people keep giving him chances, anyway, because every now and then he plays like Joe Namath.

In the offseason, though, the Redskins figure to be looking for a quarterback an expensive proposition. There's also likely to be other change, significant change. Standing around the press box after the Green Bay embarrassment, I said to my writer buddies, "Do you realize the Redskins might have to replace their entire defensive line next year? Think about it. They might not feel Smith and Coleman are worth the money anymore or Smith could hang 'em up. They might give [Dan] Wilkinson the Stubblefield treatment. And [Kenard] Lang is probably gone [in free agency]… . And the defense, let's not forget, is the only thing the club has going for it these days."

We're seeing now now that the injuries have started, that is how poorly put together this team is. LaVar Arrington sprains his knee, and Marty Schottenheimer has only Antonio Pierce, an undrafted free agent, to fill in for him. Coleman dislocates his elbow, and Schottenheimer has to move Lang back to end and use Del Cowsette and Jerry DeLoach, practice squadders a year ago, at the right tackle spot. This is what happens when your owner binges on big names and has no money left for the second-tier guys.

The Redskins have always been kings in this town, but nothing is forever. Right now, if you really want to be honest about it, they're the fourth most compelling sports story in Washington. The Wizards just got Michael Jordan. The Capitals have added Jaromir Jagr. The Maryland Terrapins, under first-year coach Ralph Friedgen, are 3-0. And the Snydermen are trying to fob Tony Banks and Antonio Pierce off on us. Only the hopelessly loyal and the morbidly curious will still be tuning into Redskins games in December.

You don't suppose Ted Leonsis would be interested in buying a football team, do you?

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