Regardless of Pierce's replacement, several teammates were stunned by his loss. Perhaps Pierce's best quality was grasping the complicated schemes of Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, and properly aligning teammates before each play.
Arrington -- who once described Pierce as the defense's most valuable player -- declined to comment at Redskins Park when asked about Pierce's departure.
Former Patriots wide receiver David Patten, left, agreed to terms with the Redskins on Thursday.
(Preston Keres - The Washington Post)
"We're going to miss him," said defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin. "He was unselfish and was one of the smartest football players I've ever been around. He would come into the huddle to tell you what to expect. A lot of the plays I made, A.P. would put me into position."
But Griffin added: "We didn't know about him until Mike Barrow went down. Maybe, someone just needs that opportunity that [Pierce] got."
On the offensive side, Patten's arrival adds to what is expected to be heated competition for the number two wide receiver spot. Rod Gardner, who filled that role last season, is expected to be traded this offseason, with the Redskins saying they will accept a draft pick in return.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Patten possesses explosive speed and is considered a big-play threat. Last season, Patten led the Patriots with a career-high seven touchdowns and caught 44 passes for 800 yards for an 18.2 average.
Patten, 30, is expected to get competition from reserve wideouts James Thrash and Taylor Jacobs.
Coles's future remains uncertain as the Jets made their latest attempt yesterday to revive negotiations with the wide receiver's agent, NFL sources said. Because the Redskins have agreed to assume a $5 million bonus Coles is due next month, the Jets would owe Coles only $7.5 million over the next three seasons. The stumbling block, however, has been Coles's request for an extension from New York. Coles is believed to be seeking $15 million over three seasons, but the Jets have balked. According to sources familiar with the negotiations, both sides remained far apart last night.
Overlooked in the aftermath of Pierce's departure was the news conference for new starting center Casey Rabach. But when Bugel was asked for one of Rabach's best qualities, he responded quickly, "Blocking linebackers."