ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -It takes a lot of audacity for a coach of a 5-11 team to say what Joe Gibbs said Tuesday.
The Hall of Fame coach claimed the Washington Redskins are so stacked that it would be hard for any player selected in this weekend's NFL draft to contend immediately for a starting job.
``You'd love to have a guy who can make an immediate impact,'' Gibbs said. ``But to be quite truthful, you look at our football team, where could a player step in here right now and say: 'I'm taking over'? Where is that? That makes us feel good. I don't feel panicked that we have to take any one thing. It's hard to say that somebody would just step into any position right now.''
So Calvin Johnson or LaRon Landry - they'd be riding the pine if they came to Washington? What about a player the Redskins could really use, a defensive lineman such as Jamaal Anderson, Gaines Adams, Amobi Okoye or Alan Branch? Didn't this team make only two modest additions, London Fletcher and Fred Smoot, during the recent free agency period in an attempt to improve the worst defense in the NFC?
Still, Gibbs maintained the Redskins, should they hang on to the No. 6 overall pick, will aim for a player, regardless of position, who has the long-term chance to make Pro Bowls ``even though it may be crowded where he initially comes in.''
With that kind of philosophy, there's no telling what the Redskins will do.
But that's their M.O. The Redskins of Gibbs and owner Dan Snyder are aggressive and unpredictable. Their usual credo: overspend for the big package and live with the consequences. Snyder has become so redundant that no one asked him a question at last year's predraft press briefing, even though it's one of the rare times he appears in a news conference setting. This year, he was asked if he has considered making himself even more irrelevant - by hiring a general manager.
``No,'' Snyder said. ``I think that everyone was disappointed. It was a rough season on us. A lot of things took place that we think we're making a lot of progress to put us in the right direction, but they didn't stem from our structure or one particular thing. It just ended up being a tough season.''
So the same front office structure is in place that led last year to Gibbs' worst season in 15 years as a head coach and left the Redskins this year without picks in the second, third and fourth rounds - the result of overzealous trades that landed undistinguished 2006 performers Rocky McIntosh, Brandon Lloyd and T.J. Duckett. After such a year, there was a groundswell of calls for Washington to fill its GM vacuum and hire a strong personality who could say no to Snyder and Gibbs. But the coach quickly quashed the notion less than 48 hours after the season was over.
The Redskins could use an impact defensive lineman and are thin at several positions. Their approach should seem straightforward, trading down to get more picks - but not so far down that they miss out on a stud defensive lineman. If they can't trade down, take one of the top linemen available: Anderson (Arkansas), Adams (Clemson), Okoye (Louisville) or Branch (Michigan).
re future picks.
Snyder, Gibbs and vice president for football operations Vinny Cerrato did nothing to quash such speculation. Snyder gave a glowing review of Johnson, and Gibbs said: ``We've talked about moving up, we've talked about moving back, and we've talked about staying right where we are.''
When asked if he was comfortable with his defensive line, Gibbs cited 2006 low-round draft picks Anthony Montgomery and Cedric Golston. Both showed some potential last year as rookies, but it's hard to imagine either holding a spot ahead of a blue-chipper like Okoye.
The Redskins' braintrust was clear about one thing Tuesday: The team will continue to be aggressive when going after players, whatever the outcome.
``The philosophy's always been the same,'' Cerrato said. ``Identify what you want, and then go get it.''
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