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Defensive End Selection Sacked, Gibbs Gives Line Vote of Confidence

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 29, 2007

During the NFL's annual scouting combine in February, the conventional wisdom regarding the Washington Redskins' offseason needs began with defensive end. At the time, Coach Joe Gibbs said that position was a focal point and even during the season both assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams and numerous players believed the team would bolster the line, which amassed just 13 sacks last year, and improve the pass rush.

But as LaRon Landry's draft status soared, the Redskins' needs changed dramatically. Safety Adam Archuleta was traded to Chicago, leaving the Redskins without a true starter to team with Sean Taylor. The Redskins signed Omar Stoutmire from New Orleans and added cornerbacks David Macklin and Fred Smoot.

Then the Redskins drafted a defensive back and Gibbs offered an endorsement of the defensive line.

"I can't say I disagree with it," said defensive end Renaldo Wynn. After starting 63 of his first 64 games with Washington, Wynn played sparingly last year. "We always thought we were better than what we showed. Now, this year, there won't be any excuses. We'll be expected to put pressure on the quarterback. It'll be on us to do it."

Springs's Status

As the Redskins chose Landry, an uncertain offseason continued for cornerback Shawn Springs. According to league sources, the Atlanta Falcons offered the Redskins a draft-day trade that included Springs and a swap of draft picks, a deal the Redskins rejected.

It was unclear what the Falcons offered in addition to the eighth pick, which Atlanta used to draft Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson. The Redskins have shopped Springs on at least two occasions this offseason. The Detroit Lions have expressed interest, as did the Falcons yesterday. . . .

Gibbs said he was pleased with his defense, but said if the Redskins were to attempt to make a trade during the second day of the draft today, it would likely be to improve depth at linebacker. . . .

Wynn, who had been a candidate to be released, restructured his contract, accepting a base salary of $850,000 with a $500,000 signing bonus and an opportunity to earn $1.5 million in performance incentives. He had been scheduled to earn $2.8 million.

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