- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Joe Gibbs — undoubtedly under some pressure from the owner — finally benched Mark Brunell as the Washington Redskins’ starting quarterback, and Jason Campbell will start in his place Sunday against the Bucs.

Gibbs benched Brunell for the first time in the ninth game of the 2004 season, but he turned again to the veteran for 15 starts last season and nine starts this season.

A small sample of opinions reveals that Redskins fans think Gibbs made the right decision but did so too late.

Q: Why did it take so long for the coaches to realize Brunell wasn’t getting the job done? To a defensive coordinator, he must have been a dream. Just defend the sidelines and you have won the battle. The middle of the field was a safe zone! — Keith

A: “Coaches”? You can just say “coach” because the only coach with quarterback-transfer power is Gibbs. For the second time in three years, Gibbs cost his team potential wins because he stayed too long with Brunell. And you’re right, Brunell is a defense’s best friend. All a defense has to do is cover downfield or get a semi-decent pass rush.

Q: I think the change at quarterback is long overdue. I just hope Coach Gibbs gives J. Campbell time to mature. But if the whole league knew Brunell was done, why didn’t Coach Gibbs? Sorry, Joe, it’s time to wake up. You need a real general manager and new coaches that are up to speed with the times. What do you think? — John M.

A: This question/comment sums up the feelings of many e-mailers. Why wasn’t the Campbell switch made during the bye week? I think most of the Redskins’ coaching staff is up with the times, but the key issue is personnel decisions. There is such a thing as having too many voices in the conference room.

Even if Gibbs went to Dan Snyder and said, “Dan, old buddy, old pal, we need a general manager so bust out the checkbook,” it would be tough hiring somebody qualified who would want to deal with the organization as it’s currently constructed.

Q: It kills me to see the team struggle like this. First, the defense was so impressive and aggressive last year. What happened this year? Second, this does not look like an offense of Al Saunders. Do we not have the talent to play his style of offense? — Darryl K.

A: The defensive coaches would say the Redskins are being just as aggressive with their pressure packages. But the first series of the Week 2 Dallas game illustrated why the Redskins can’t get any sacks: The players used to blitz aren’t consistently effective.

This doesn’t look like an Al Saunders offense yet. And it probably won’t with Clinton Portis sidelined because of a busted hand. Ideally, with a confident Campbell and a healthy Portis, Saunders will be able to call the plays that made the Chiefs a good offensive team.

Q: After reading your article about Adam Archuleta [last Wednesday], I am outraged at the Redskins organization. How can they sign this guy to a huge contract without determining whether he is a fit for Gregg Williams’ defensive schemes? Why does it take them half a season to figure out he is useless in pass coverage? I believe that under Dan Snyder the Redskins are one of the most dysfunctional organizations in the NFL. Do you agree? — Steve E.

A: Tell me how you really feel, Steve. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Archuleta-Williams dynamic. Archuleta played zero defensive snaps against the Eagles, which means he officially has been benched (never mind the “package” mumbo jumbo being spewed by the team).

My take: Archuleta is a workout warrior, and the Redskins’ defensive staff thinks it can take guys with athletic ability and make them fine players regardless of their background or how they fit — or don’t fit — into the scheme. They made a multimillion dollar mistake, and now they have to live with the salary-cap consequences.

Q: A wise man once said it is insane for someone to do the same thing over and over again and then expect different results. How do we define the Redskins? — Sidney

A: Overpaid. Underachieving. Penalty-prone. Unstable at several positions.


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