By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Brandon Lloyd's miserable season ended early, when he was made inactive before last night's season finale against the New York Giants at FedEx Field. Lloyd, who was acquired for two draft picks in the offseason then signed to a $30 million contract with $10 million guaranteed, will end the season without a touchdown after sitting out with bronchitis. Another under-performing acquisition, safety Adam Archuleta, was on the field with the defense for the first time in two months during the 34-28 loss but remains uncertain of his future here.
Lloyd started the first 12 games, but his production was paltry. His temper and attitude created problems with coaches and teammates, and after he tossed his helmet in a Dec. 3 loss to Atlanta, Coach Joe Gibbs met with him.
Lloyd caught 23 passes for 365 yards and no touchdowns, numbers that many wide receivers could surpass in a month. He never caught more than four passes or surpassed 52 yards in any game. He failed to catch a pass three times -- including last week -- and was held to two receptions or less in 13 of the 15 games he appeared in. Lloyd had six catches for 104 yards over his last five games, and Gibbs said he was short of breath and unhealthy during warmups when the decision was made to deactivate him.
Lloyd's struggles are endemic of Washington's key 2006 acquisitions. Free agents Archuleta, Antwaan Randle El and Andre Carter have all had pedestrian seasons -- Archuleta's benching was the most public acknowledgement of their troubles. Archuleta said after the game he was most appreciative of the number of teammates who told him how much they respected the way he dealt with the difficult circumstances.
"That is more important, and my reputation is more important than anything I have to say," Archuleta said. "What's done is done. I feel like I'm a better person and a better player because of what happened."
Archuleta said he hopes to be back but knows the team could opt to cut him given all that has transpired.
"We'll see what happens. I'm not going to bad-mouth anybody. It's not me against anybody. . . . For the guys who told me how they appreciated me, I'm going to go to war with them, and I'll have their back if I get the opportunity again. That's what's important."
Carter has come on strong in December after a slow start; Randle El has dazzled at times on punt returns and threw a 48-yard touchdown pass on an option play last night but was largely absent from the regular offense.Missing
The Redskins were without two of their top defensive players, as linebacker Marcus Washington and cornerback Shawn Springs are on injured reserve. The defense floundered much of the season even with them active, but their absences leave glaring holes at two positions that could be addressed in the offseason.
Both players are among a core of veterans whose contracts balloon in 2007 and can expect to be approached by the team about possible restructurings. Backup quarterback Mark Brunell, who briefly replaced Jason Campbell when he was hit hard, injured tailback Clinton Portis, defensive end Phillip Daniels, tackle Jon Jansen, tackle Chris Samuels and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin are candidates for restructuring as the Redskins look to create more cap space beyond the $1 million they have currently available under the 2007 cap.Rock Solid
Rock Cartwright set the franchise record for kick return yards, capping an outstanding season. . . . Safety Ade Jimoh left the game in the third quarter with a concussion and did not return, and linebacker Warrick Holdman left with a shoulder injury. . . . Rookie Sinorice Moss, younger brother of Redskins receiver Santana Moss, was active yesterday and returned kicks for the Giants, the first time the brothers played each other. . . . Wide receiver David Patten, whose Redskins career may be over, was active for the first time since Oct. 1. . . . The Giants were without injured tight end Jeremy Shockey and defensive end Michael Strahan.