- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Washington Redskins posted an impressive 16-10 victory Sunday over the Saints at the Superdome, but Redskins fans weren’t appeased by the upset.

In the areas fans want change, they want it to be drastic. In the areas they want stability, they want it to be definite.

More and more, though, questions arise about the structure of the front office. The consensus is that Redskins fans love coach Joe Gibbs but think team president Joe Gibbs needs to step aside.

Q: I feel that the Redskins need a true middle linebacker. They could move Lemar Marshall back to the weak-side position where he belongs. He’s too small for the middle. What do you think? And, P.S., I’ll say it again: They need a GM! — J. Motlasz

A: Marshall probably would fare better as an outside linebacker even though he has struggled in coverage for two consecutive years. But I’m guessing that Marshall stays put in the middle. The Redskins invested a lot in Rocky McIntosh, and they at least want to give him a shot at winning the weak-side position during training camp.

Q: Ladell Betts is making the starting job for the running back position next season interesting. What do you think the Redskins will do next season with two exceptional backs? — Philip

A: Betts’ emergence shows the Redskins were smart to extend his contract earlier this month and pre-empt the bidding war that would have occurred had he hit the open market. What it does for next year is give Al Saunders another chip in the play-calling poker game. He can have both Betts and Clinton Portis on the field at the same time. Betts can line up all over the line of scrimmage, and teams will have to account for him.

Q: I think it is important to remember Portis did not get to play his style this season. Last year he ran for more than 100 [yards] in five straight, and the Redskins were 5-0. While I love Betts, Portis is a superior back, and having two great backs is a good problem to have. Can you please put the rumor to bed that he will be traded? — Ryan

A: Indeed, Portis wasn’t productive this season because he was injured and because, with Mark Brunell at quarterback, opponents weren’t forced to respect the deep passing game and were able to stack the line of scrimmage against the run. Portis would be having the same kind of success as Betts.

As for Portis being dealt, it won’t happen. Gibbs loves Portis as a player, and the salary cap hit would be large if the Redskins traded him. Plus, Portis is coming off a major injury, so teams probably wouldn’t offer a great package of players/picks for him.

Q: The one thing that stands out for me is the way Rocky McIntosh and Adam Archuleta have been used. Wouldn’t it be in their best interest to put these guys in, get them playing time and up to speed for next year? Am I the only one who finds that arrogant or stubborn? What does it prove? Please help me out with this one. — John

A: The McIntosh/Archuleta situations have been puzzling. As Jason Campbell is showing, the only way a young player learns is by playing. The Redskins should have put McIntosh into the lineup starting in October to see whether he is capable of starting.

As for Archuleta, it’s both stubborn and arrogant. He didn’t play well, so he got benched. But it’s as if the Redskins have given up on him, refusing to play him in a way that would best use his strengths.

Q: Gibbs would not be a Hall of Fame coach without Bobby Beathard. I rarely hear this discussed. Gibbs is simply a bad GM, and yet he gets a pass from the media on this obvious reality. The Wizards were locked in misery until Ernie Grunfeld — a real GM — arrived and made smart personnel moves. Do you think Gibbs and Snyder will surrender personnel decisions to a real GM? — D. Silvert

A: There is plenty of talk about how well the Beathard/Gibbs team worked in the 1980s, but these Redskins aren’t going to hire a GM. As today’s story about the Redskins’ worst personnel decisions illustrates, we’re not giving Gibbs a pass.

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