- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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A little this and that and some comments on stories being written about the Redskins:
Former Redskins safety Brad Edwards is the new athletic director at George Mason University. He certainly hasn’t forgotten his football playing past, starting with the guy he says he tries to emulate: Joe Gibbs.
“He's the guy I try to get up every day and model," Edwards said. "Every single day. We all know he had an insane work ethic, and no one will ever question my work ethic. ... You always felt like he wanted you to succeed, but he wasn't going to let you off the hook without doing it exactly the right way.”
Edwards also had a funny anecdote involving former defensive coordinator Richie Petitbon. It shows you even smart coordinators sometimes have questionable ideas. But it also shows you when you have a smart player back deep with the gumption to challenge his coach’s call.
"He kept calling a seven-man blitz when we were playing the Falcons, and they keep putting Deion Sanders in the slot, which means I'm having to cover Deion Sanders," Edwards said. "So I keep waving off the call, and he's cussing at me, like, 'Make the call!' And I go to the sidelines and I said, 'What do I have to explain to you? The NFL's fastest man. Slow safety. Do you want to ruin my career?'"
Former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips visited his son at Redskins Park Monday. His son, Wes Phillips, is the tight ends coach. One thing I loved about Phillips when he was with Buffalo years ago: He had a listed phone number. Came in handy when he was up for a job with the Redskins (that he obviously didn’t get).
One thing I didn’t understand last week: The pushback by some financial people over whether or not players should be paid throughout the year and not just during the season. From what I was told, the players pushed for this and I don’t see how it’s a bad development. Much easier to make a budget when your payments are spread throughout the year.
I also remember something Antwaan Randle El told me a few years ago. He got his big check as a rookie, spent some money and got to April when the tax man came calling. He had to borrow money to pay his taxes; he never took this into account. That speaks to a few issues, but if all your money is coming in a 17-week span it makes it easier to spend more than what you have – and leave yourself short later. There have been a number of players over the years who seek loans in the offseason for this reason.
My guy Eric Edholm (one of my former editors when I freelanced for Pro Football Weekly) calls the Redskins’ signing of receiver DeSean Jackson the most overrated one of the offseason. Edholm wrote, “Oh, they’ll make use of Jackson, and chances are, Robert Griffin III will profess his undying love for the guy early on when he’s catching bombs and making him look good. But here’s my prediction: After two years in D.C., Jackson will have worn out his welcome with a third head coach.”
I agree that after two years the Redskins might tire of him. Is it an overrated signing? I’d use another word: risky. That’s how most view it anyway. Safe to say based on his on-field history, Jackson will produce and threaten defenses. I always thought he’d be best served going to a team with a strong (and proven) organizational hierarchy. But the Redskins helped themselves in this signing by making it possible to release him after two years and save money on the cap.
Here’s an interesting story by NFL.com’s Albert Breer, talking to coach Jay Gruden about Griffin and his early impressions on him. A lot of what Gruden says is what the Shanahans used to say: He wants a guy who can run and throw the way he does; he doesn’t want to restrict him in the pocket (would be silly); he wants him to get out of bounds more (Griffin improved in this area after his concussion vs. Atlanta, though in certain circumstances he will cut upfield – like against Baltimore).
The telling quote is this one when Gruden talks about how smart Griffin is. “He picked up everything effortlessly. He works hard at it, he studies it, he understands the position and he's willing to learn and willing to take coaching. A guy with as much success as he's had, as early as he is in this young stage of his life, some guys are like, 'Eh, I don't need your coaching, I don't need this, I wanna do it my way.' He's not that way at all. He wants to be coached, he wants to learn the game, he wants to study. He wants to be the greatest. And he knows he has a long way to go, which is refreshing from a guy that's had a Heisman Trophy and as much publicity as he's had. He knows he has work to do, and he's willing to put in the work. That's strikes me as ... I just wasn't expecting that."
Griffin, though, never had his work ethic or motivation questioned. There were some coaches who said Griffin needed to buy in more to what he was being taught, that it would make him more confident in what was being done. It appears Griffin has bought in, but he’s also the sort of guy who must buy into all of a person. My guess is he’ll be helped even more if he and Gruden do forge something strong. When will we know that’s the case? When things get dicey during the season and we don’t hear rumors about friction.
2dJohn Keim and Adam Caplan