- The Washington Times - Monday, January 3, 2005

After a disappointing 6-10 season, the Washington Redskins will have the ninth choice in the first round of the April23 draft.

If the Redskins keep the selection, it will be their fifth top-10 pick in seven drafts. Cornerback Champ Bailey (seventh, 1999), linebacker LaVar Arrington (second, 2000) and offensive tackle Chris Samuels (third, 2000) have been to multiple Pro Bowls, and safety Sean Taylor (fifth, 2004) was a first alternate as a rookie.

Washington’s most pressing need is a big-play receiver. Michigan’s Braylon Edwards and Southern Cal’s Mike Williams, who unsuccessfully petitioned to enter the 2004 draft, are possibilities.

The Redskins only have five selections in the draft, having traded their second-rounder in order to move up in the third round in 2004 to take tight end Chris Cooley and their fifth-rounder to Philadelphia for receiver James Thrash.

Coles wary of surgery

Though Laveranues Coles became just the second Redskin to catch 90 passes in a season, he averaged just 10.6 yards a catch, the lowest of any No. 1 receiver in the league. Coles, who arrived from the New York Jets in 2003 as a big-play threat, has been hampered by an arthritic big toe for the past year-and-a-half.

Coles, who doesn’t speak to the media, has told the Redskins the toe bothered him much less since a cortisone shot in early December. However, Coles’ average actually dropped to 8.3 yards the rest of the way despite playing with strong-armed quarterback Patrick Ramsey and facing the poor defenses of San Francisco and Minnesota.

Coles will see a specialist later this month, and coach Joe Gibbs said the receiver will decide whether to have surgery.

“L.C. probably feels like he’s OK and doesn’t need the surgery,” Gibbs said. “We’re going to talk to the doctors again, get all the facts and let him make the final decision.”

LaVar Arrington’s right knee will be re-examined by surgeon James Andrews next week in order to plan his rehabilitation, but director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker won’t need another operation.

“Getting LaVar totally healthy is a big deal for us,” Gibbs said. “He’s an impact player. Where would we have been rushing the passer if we had had LaVar in there?”

Of course, the defense was the NFC’s best despite having Arrington for just four games and two starts.

Offensive tackles Chris Samuels and Ray Brown will have arthroscopic surgery on their right ankles. Samuels was hurt in the Aug. 27 preseason game at St. Louis. He missed a number of practices during the season but started every game. Brown also sprained a knee in Sunday’s 21-18 victory over Minnesota but won’t need surgery on that injury.

Neither will running back Clinton Portis (chest), cornerbacks Fred Smoot (kidney, back), Shawn Springs (foot) and Ade Jimoh (ankle) nor kicker John Hall (quadriceps). Gibbs said the Redskins have yet to decide whether to bring fill-in kicker Jeff Chandler back to challenge Hall next year. Chandler made all five of his field goal attempts under 51 yards. Hall was 1-for-5 from 40 to 50 yards.

Michael Barrow still is hampered by the tendinitis in his knee that kept him out all season, putting the 34-year-old middle linebacker’s career in serious jeopardy, especially if the Redskins re-sign sterling replacement Antonio Pierce.

Offseason workouts begin March 21. Players are expected to be on hand Tuesday-Thursday each week. The Redskins will have a minicamp, a rookie camp and 14 other on-field (organized team activity) days.

Staying put

Although assistant head coach/offense Joe Bugel and offensive coordinator Don Breaux are turning 65, tight ends coach Rennie Simmons will be 63 and linebackers coach Dale Lindsey will be 62, Gibbs said he expects them all to return.

Moving up

Cornerbacks James Bethea and Korey Banks, and defensive linemen Nic Clemons and Melvin Williams were promoted from the practice squad.

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