Redskins' Offense Is in Good Hands
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
With the arrival at Redskins Park of free agent Antwaan Randle El and newly acquired Brandon Lloyd from San Francisco yesterday, last year's offensive frustrations disappeared in a whirlwind, replaced by euphoria and the belief that, virtually overnight, the Washington Redskins became one of the more potent and diverse offensive teams in football.
That the two receivers so completely addressed a crucial need reiterated just how formidable the Redskins can be as a free agent player, as Coach Joe Gibbs's ability to leverage his Hall of Fame status and owner Daniel Snyder's wealth proved again to be a forceful combination.
Randle El arrived with his family in two black stretch limousines, two days after a fleet of limos shuttled him, team coaches and newly signed defensive players Adam Archuleta and Andre Carter to Verizon Center for a Washington Wizards game on Saturday night.
A free agent after winning the Super Bowl with Pittsburgh six weeks ago, Randle El could have been deliberate. Philadelphia, Chicago, New England, Houston and Minnesota sought a big-play wide receiver, but the Redskins were the only team he visited before signing a seven-year, $31 million deal, with $11.5 million in guaranteed money.
The difference, Randle El said, was the strong play the Redskins made.
"Free agency started at 12:01. I got a call at 12:05, and they kept putting plusses on the chart," he said. "Coach Gibbs asked to speak with my wife. My wife? It was all about the approach. The Redskins made that first step into the door."
That, and the dynamic offensive system the Redskins plan to employ under new associate head coach for offense Al Saunders. "The key is to get him the ball," Gibbs said. "You have to get the ball in his hands, because he can run with it. He can catch it, and he can throw it."
Lloyd, 24, was acquired Saturday for a third-round pick this year and a fourth in 2007, and is considered a playmaker whose potential the Redskins did not believe had been fully realized in San Francisco.
"That's the guy," Gibbs said after watching game film of Lloyd, "that we needed to get."
Lloyd was something of a lightning rod, rankling veterans who believed his commitment to football was secondary to his interest in making rap records. An explosive moment came last season when he clashed with fullback Fred Beasley and running back Kevan Barlow.
"We made a lot of calls on this guy," Gibbs said. "And we didn't find anything wrong about him."
Lloyd said he was just tired of losing. For his three years in San Francisco, the 49ers were 13-35.