- The Washington Times - Monday, April 22, 2002

A few days before the 1988 NFL Draft, Joe Gibbs flew down to Northeast Louisiana to work out a quarterback the Redskins were thinking of taking. Stan Humphries got the Gibbs seal of approval both as a passer and a person and so the team selected him at the end of the sixth round.
Contrast this with the Redskins' drafting of Tulane QB Patrick Ramsey in the first round this year. Steve Spurrier never had an individual session with Ramsey, never had a sit-down with him. They met briefly at a football function after the season, Ramsey said, "but I doubt he'd remember it."
Strange, don't you think? Spurrier, after all, is being paid large sums of money to oversee the Redskins offense, and there's no more important position on that side of the ball than quarterback. Clubs and coaches rise and fall on the play of their QBs. And yet the Redskins were content to have assistant coach Noah Brindise do most of the sizing up of Ramsey, most of the eyeballing. Spurrier watched some tape of the kid, but that was about it.
There are all kinds of head coaches in the NFL. There's the Control Freak, the guy who has to have his hands on everything from game planning to player acquisition to the ordering of office supplies. Marty Schottenheimer is one of those. There's the Talent Evaluator, the kind who's more a general manager than anything else. Jimmy Johnson was one of those. There's the Offensive (or Defensive) Coordinator with Significant Input on Personnel Matters. Gibbs fell into that category.
But Spurrier is a totally different animal perhaps even a new species. All he's interested in, it seems, is scribbling X's and O's, drawing up perfect plays. As long as he's got a blackboard and a piece of chalk, he's happy. Ask him about the tight end the Redskins just took in the fifth round, though, and he's not exactly a fount of information. That's other people's responsibility.
"I guess I'm more into the coaching part of it," he admitted yesterday. "Some coaches really love personnel and getting into all that. [But] this is not my first year as a head coach. And the way we've been doing it [at Florida] works. I may not know the name of the weak-side linebacker for Arizona [in Week 1 next season], but I'll know the names of all our guys and where they're supposed to go. My style of coaching is: You should know what your own guys are doing, worry about your own guys."
Spurrier is sensitive, however, to the suggestion that his willingness to delegate makes him too laissez faire for today's NFL. "If what I've been doing in the past ain't worth a crap," he bristled, "I don't know how we've led the nation in offense so many times."
Down, boy. Frankly, I find Spurrier's sense of limits refreshing. Too many coaches have been led away in straitjackets in recent years because they tried to do too many things. Devising game plans and dealing with the day-to-day nonsense of being a head coach is enough to worry about; you don't need to be running the draft and deciding what ice cream to serve at the pregame meal, too. Spurrier may not pay as much attention to detail as some would like, but at least he's not a candidate for burnout.
That said, he might want to become a little more involved with scouting and personnel in the future. No head coach should be as removed as he seemed to be from the drafting of a quarterback in the first round. Spurrier shouldn't just know whether Ramsey likes to pat the ball before he throws, he should know the location of every mole on his body. It's just good business.
Right now, Spurrier's fate is largely in the hands of a GM-owner whose primary qualification is that he used to collect football cards. Four years into his stewardship of the Redskins, Dan Snyder is still making the same mistakes he's always made. Witness the recent signing of Jeremiah Trotter. Given the team's needs in other areas offensive guard, defensive line, safety there's no reason for him to be giving a linebacker a $34 million contract, especially when he already has La Var Arrington and Jesse Armstead at the position.
But that's Snyder for you. With other owners, it's kill or be killed. With Snyder, it's overkill or be killed. Why else would he have brought in Deion Sanders when he already had Champ Bailey and Darrell Green or Jeff George when he already had Brad Johnson?
The Redskins started out with the 18th pick in the draft Saturday. They ended up with the 32nd. No other club in the league took this approach. (And the Super Bowl champion Patriots, I'll just point out, traded up.) When did the Redskins, the out-of-the-playoffs-two-years-in-a-row Redskins, become smarter than everybody else?


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