- The Washington Times - Monday, January 1, 2007

Coach Joe Gibbs sent his beleaguered Washington Redskins into the offseason yesterday with the message he was proud of how hard they fought in a 5-11 season. Despite that praise, the veteran players don’t believe the offseason will be a positive one.

“When you’re 5-11, there are questions on everybody,” cornerback Shawn Springs said. “If you’re just not good enough, you’re just not good enough.”

Linebacker Lemar Marshall said there are no easy solutions for a defense that fell from ninth in the NFL in 2005 to 30th this year.

“When you’re a long way from where you were, it’s a very disappointing year,” Marshall said. “Everybody’s scrambling, trying to figure out why . Will it be fixed? We’ll find out next year.”

Said offensive tackle Chris Samuels, Washington’s lone Pro Bowl player: “We can’t point fingers at the defense. What about the last two seasons when they saved our behinds?”

Receiver Santana Moss said the nosedive will serve as a catalyst.

“When you go through this, it makes you work a little harder,” Moss said. “It gives you that motivation to say, ‘I’m going to put a little extra into this just to make sure I’m not leaving nothing undone.’”

Hall expects exit

Kicker John Hall, who missed 25 of 50 games with pulled muscles the past three seasons, turns 33 in March and doesn’t expect to be back for the final year of his contract.

“The writing’s probably on the wall,” said Hall, who made nine of 11 field goal attempts before going on injured reserve Oct. 11. “When you get hurt three years in a row ”

Archuleta gets meetings

Safety Adam Archuleta, who said last week that assistant coaches Gregg Williams, Steve Jackson and Jerry Gray hadn’t talked to him since he was benched in October, finally met with them on what was likely his final day at Redskin Park.

“I’ve had an opportunity to talk with Gregg, Jerry, Steve,” Archuleta said. “Things were expressed that needed to be expressed. I know I’m under contract, and it’s a pretty big contract. Whatever happens, things will work out.”

Free agents-to-be

Linebacker Warrick Holdman, an unproductive starter for most of his two years in Washington, is looking forward to exploring the free agent market. So is running back T.J. Duckett, who played sparingly after being acquired from Atlanta for a third-round draft pick in August.

Third cornerback Kenny Wright wants to return.

“I like what they’ve got going here, but I don’t know what they’re going to do,” Wright said. “I didn’t have the best year. I know I can play much better.”

Safety Vernon Fox, a surprise starter in the final six games after not joining the Redskins until Aug. 29, would like to return, as would Todd Yoder, who replaced the injured Christian Fauria as the blocking tight end in November.

Offensive tackle Todd Wade, who played only in the Dec. 17 victory at New Orleans when he started in place of the injured Jon Jansen, wants to be a regular again and has no plans to re-sign.

Brotherly love

When the Giants beat the Redskins on Oct. 8, New York rookie receiver Sinorice Moss was inactive with a quadriceps injury. But Santana Moss’ little brother was on the same field as him Saturday night for the first time since they were growing up in Miami.

“That was a real special night,” said Santana, who’s four years older at 27. “Growing up, we’d go out and play, and Nori never wanted to be on my team. He didn’t want to play , but he was so talented, I kept . Eventually, he came around. I wish nothing but the best for him, but I’m upset I lost to my little brother twice.”

Extra points

Cornerback Ade Jimoh, sidelined during Saturday’s loss to the Giants with a concussion, said he was a little groggy but otherwise fine. So was Holdman, who injured a shoulder. Receiver Brandon Lloyd, inactive against the Giants officially because of bronchitis, wouldn’t speak to reporters.

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