- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Adam Archuleta trade to Chicago is finalized enough that he was made available on a conference call for reporters earlier this afternoon.

The trade — for a measly sixth-round draft pick — officially qualifies his signing last year to a record contract as one of the worst in the NFL Free Agent Era.

And all parties are to blame.

* Archuleta: For not turning down an offer-you-can’t-refuse contract from the Redskins and signing with the Bears, where he wanted to be all along; and for not playing very well. He admitted today he “didn’t light it up,” and was benched after seven starts.

* The owner: For failing to see that Ryan Clark was a leader … and a good player … and Sean Taylor’s confidante … and markedly cheaper than Archuleta. Sometimes, the glamour player isn’t as good as the heart-and-soul player and even though Clark was undersized, his teammates liked him, he knew the system and most importantly, he got Taylor lined up in the right spot.

* The defensive coaches: For giving up — in Archuleta’s opinion — on him late in the preseason. Archuleta lost his job after the preseason and Pierson Prioleau was going to start the Minnesota game. He went down on the opening kickoff. From there, the coaches should have adjusted their thinking. For all intent and purpose, they were now stuck with Archuleta as their starter. Put him in positions where he could make plays. And don’t blame Shawn Springs’ injury for all this chaos.

* Joe Gibbs: For not getting all of the parties — Archuleta, Gregg Williams and Steve Jackson — in a room together in early September to get on the same page. If this did happen (and I doubt it), what Gibbs said didn’t work. Redskins fans should hope Gibbs takes a bigger interest in the behind-the-scenes stuff on defense this year because this is two straight seasons — LaVar vs. Dale Lindsay in 2005, Archuleta vs. Jackson in 2006 — that feuds turned into big-time distractions.

* Sean Taylor: I’ll throw Taylor in here for good measure. The guy wasn’t a very good player last year. Period. If he had performed better — like showing one ounce of ability in pass coverage — that would have allowed Archuleta to play in run support and rush the passer more often.

Archuleta’s departure means the Redskins’ starting safety alongside Taylor in Week 1 will be Prioleau (coming off knee surgery), Vernon Fox (a special teamer who was exposed as a starter late in the season) and newcomer/old face Omar Stoutmire (deemed not good enough to play here last year, only to have a solid year for New Orleans).

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