Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Spurrier’s Genius Yet To Touch Redskins

When did Washington, D.C., become the Bermuda Triangle for all supposed sports saviors? The Senators chased baseball away from the nation’s capital forever. Michael Jordan and Jaromir Jagr looked lost in their first seasons in D.C. Now the compass is going haywire for Steve Spurrier.

In a season that started so promisingly, the Washington Redskins are now crashing and burning like the Hindenburg. Steve Spurrier’s fun and gun offense is being questioned. Marvin Lewis doesn’t seem so smart anymore. The quarterback situation is as laughable as the Detroit Lions. And people in the area are already talking about the upcoming NBA season.

Just like previous Daniel Snyder experiments, this year has proven that unless you’re George Steinbrenner, you cannot buy championships. Smart decision-making is needed, and, despite the brightest head coaching minds, you need talent more than anything on the field. Talent is what the Skins so glaringly lack.

Enough cannot be said about the impressive achievements of Spurrier in his college days. Leading the Duke football team to a winning record is as impressive as winning a national title in Florida. On the other hand, he can no longer be put on a pedestal now that he’s in the NFL.

The thing that boggles me, however, is how Spurrier duped owner Dan Snyder and the whole Redskins organization into believing that an offense led by Shane Matthews or Danny Wuerffel would lead them to a Super Bowl. Last time I checked, Jim Miller was starting over atthews, and Wuerffel was pawning his Heisman.

Perhaps Spurrier’s hidden agenda includes throwing the season away in order to select another Florida Gator, current senior quarterback Rex Grossman in next year’s football draft. That still doesn’t explain, however, the gross lack of depth at wide receiver this year. When your No. 2 and No. 3 receivers are players that weren’t even playing in the NFL last year, you have serious problems. As much heart as Derrius Thompson and Chris Doering have, how are they supposed to catch all of Matthews’s inaccurate balls?

I will give Spurrier credit for enlivening an offense that could be best described as dull and unexciting in the past few years. But it does not help when you lack players who can execute. In addition, if the Redskins have to play from behind all the time, their biggest offensive weapon, running back Stephen Davis, becomes neutralized.

The most telling sign of Washington’s talent deficiency is Davis’s team-leading 17 catches. Matthews has been forced to dump the ball in the backfield because Rod Gardner is getting double-teamed, and his other receivers cannot get open.

Fortunately for Spurrier, Washington’s supposedly vaunted defense is not innocent either. After adding All-Pro linebackers Jessie Armstead and Jeremiah Trotter from their NFC East rivals, the Redskins hired the best defensive mind in the business, Marvin Lewis, thereby solidifying their place as one of the best defenses in the league. Or so they thought.

After three games, the Redskins are giving up 358 yards and almost 27 points a game . not exactly intimidating numbers. Even worse, in their last game at San Francisco, they gave up an astonishing 252 yards on the ground when they knew the 49ers would be running the ball. With quarterback Jeff Garcia out in the second half, there was no way San Francisco was going to let backup Tim Rattay test his arm on the field.

There really are no excuses for the defense. When the Redskins last tried to revamp their defense with Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith and other high-priced pickups in 2000-01, all the pressure was directed at them. During this off-season, however, all the pressure and media hype was on Spurrier and the offense. Armstead and Trotter were not questionable personalities but locker room leaders for the Giants and Eagles respectively. And the defense had someone to lead it in Lewis.

What might really be the underlying problem of the Redskins is team chemistry. From the get-go, Spurrier decided that there would be a strict division between offense and defense. He would handle the offense and let Lewis rule over the defense. The unfortunate result now is that neither offense nor defense can function on its own.

During this bye week, Spurrier might want to lessen the focus on the quarterback controversy and name someone his starter. He might want to lessen the focus on the college coaching legend that is Steve Spurrier. And he might want to focus on the Washington Redskins. While there’s an “I” in Spurrier, there is no “I” in team.

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