By Howard Bryant and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 1, 2007
The day after the Washington Redskins' season ended, Coach Joe Gibbs held a 1 p.m. final team meeting and players cleaned out their lockers at Redskins Park.
According to the players in the meeting, Gibbs said he appreciated the players' effort and told them what they needed to do as a group to improve.
"He thanked us for fighting each game, and just be prepared to come back, start up and have that one goal in mind," said right guard Randy Thomas. "We didn't lose focus, we just had mistakes, too many penalties, too many mental errors."
As for the players, who wrapped up a 5-11 season with a 34-28 loss Saturday night to the New York Giants and will pick fifth in the NFL draft in April, it was a bitter end. Safety Adam Archuleta said he met with Gibbs, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams, safeties coach Steve Jackson and cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray, and was happy for the opportunity to be able to express some things to the coaches.
"I think things were expressed that needed to be expressed," he said.
Archuleta declined to go into specifics when asked if he inquired about his future in the organization or if he was told explicitly that he would be back.
"Whatever happens [whether he stays or goes], it's going to work out for me," Archuleta said.
Despite the rough season, Archuleta said, "I don't have regrets," about signing with Washington.
The lone positive to come out of this experience, Archuleta said, was the chance to heal after coming off some health problems in past seasons.
"That's the silver lining in all of this," he said.
Clinton Portis made his first appearance at Redskins Park in two weeks and said he expected that it would take five months of rehabilitation to recover from hand and shoulder surgeries and that he saw no reason for conflict with running back Ladell Betts, who replaced Portis after Portis was lost for the season after breaking his hand Nov. 12 in Philadelphia. Betts responded by rushing for 788 yards in the final seven games of the season, an average of 112.6 yards per game. Betts finished with 1,154 yards.
"It's not like Ladell's a new guy, a first year in the league who got an opportunity. We co-existed in the backfield for three years. Everyone knew his talents then and we know his talents now. It's not going to change anything," Portis said. "I envision working with him the same way as before."
Wide receiver David Patten said he hoped to be back with the Redskins next season. Patten has suffered through an injury-plagued two seasons in Washington and caught only one pass for 25 yards, in the third game of the season.
But Patten in nine games last season was nearly as productive as his replacement, Brandon Lloyd, this season was in 15 games. Lloyd caught 23 passes for 365 yards and no touchdowns this year, while Patten caught 22 for 217 yards before being placed on injured reserve Nov. 18, 2005.
In two seasons, Patten has played in 14 of 32 games.
"The worst thing you can do is forget it's a business," Patten said. "Injuries are something that are out of your control. I've been a fighter all my career, undrafted from a small school, but 10 years later I'm still plugging. I'm no stranger to hard work."
Left tackle Chris Samuels said he believes the Redskins are making re-signing left guard Derrick Dockery a priority, given his improvement this season. Dockery shed weight and was more focused as well, Samuels said.
"Dock's my wingman. We need Dock," Samuels said. "I think they'll get that worked out."