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Antonio Pierce Should Shut Up

Antonio Pierce Should Shut Up

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

After three seasons in and out of the lineup, linebacker Antonio Pierce had a breakout season in 2004, nearly making the Pro Bowl with the Redskins. Pierce’s timing was excellent, as he became an unrestricted free agent after the season. After considering a competitive offer from the Redskins, the team he broke into the league with as an undrafted rookie in 2001, he decided to sign with the New York Giants.

The Redskins were sorry to lose him and said so at the time. "It's one of those things that you don't want to have happen," Joe Gibbs said when asked about Pierce leaving Washington. "Antonio played great for us last year. We would have loved to have gotten him re-signed. We went as far as we could go, but it just didn't work out. I hate [losing Pierce].”

The other coaches and many of the players expressed similar sentiments. And that was that—from the Redskins end of things. Pierce, however, has yet to put the whole thing behind him. At the time of his signing, he said that he was “shocked” that the Redskins didn’t step up their offer to match the one the Giants’ gave him. Apparently, the Giants thought that linebacker with on year of starting experience—a very good year, no doubt—was worth $6.5 million in guaranteed money and the Redskins, apparently to Pierce’s chagrin, did not.

Players often use such perceived slights as motivation and, certainly, there is nothing wrong with that. Pierce, however, has taken his grudge to another level. It’s one thing to take your issues with our old team out on that team as Pierce did in the Giants’ 36-0 rout of Washington last October. It’s another to take them to the press.

In comments in an article from the Star-Ledger in New Jersey, Pierce took the occasion of talking to reporters about his trumpeting of LaVar Arrington’s virtues to the Giants organization to take a few shots at the Redskins
"This organization's not the same as the Redskins," Pierce said. "It's not (about) the entertainment and the marketing side of it. It's all about football. It's about winning, and it's a family atmosphere around here. He's not going to wake up tomorrow and the whole staff and everybody in this organization is going to be gone. I think he felt good about that.
Let’s start from the ending first. Uh, Antonio, I hate to tell you this, but the Giants fire coaches, too. Many of the guys you now play with woke up one morning and found out that Jim Fassel had been fired. The fact that you went through that twice does not make you unique among NFL players. And, hate to tell you this too, but the odds are that before the remaining five years on your contract are done there is a pretty good chance that there will be another coaching change on the team you play for.

And is change always such a negative thing? A fair-minded person would have to say that the last coaching change in Washington was one for the better. Under Joe Gibbs and Gregg Williams, Pierce got the opportunity to earn his $6.5 million payday a year ago. Perhaps Pierce would rather the Redskins had stuck with Steve Spurrier and George Edwards. Had that happened, the odds are that he would have hit the free agent market hoping for as much as a six-figure signing bonus.

And yes, the Redskins used to be more concerned about “the entertainment and marketing side of it.” Pierce used to be a player who nobody though enough of to draft. He used to be a rookie who had no clue where to line up or where you should drop to in zone coverage.

The key words, of course, are “used to be”. Daniel Snyder, in hiring Gibbs to run the organization, has demonstrated that he has the Redskins on track to be an NFL organization committed to winning. Pierce has now demonstrated that he is a very competent NFL player. Nobody mentions the mistakes in the early days and his inability to first crack the ranks of college players who were drafted and then his inability to hold down a starting job on a mediocre defensive team for three years. All’s well that ends well except, apparently, in Pierce’s view when it comes to the Redskins.

If Pierce would check the ledger, he’d find that the Redskins won just as many games as the Giants did last year, and went a round further in the playoffs. Guess it was all that marketing that did it, Antonio? Have to say, though, that it was pretty entertaining.

When Pierce was with the Redskins, he was noted for his chatter on the field. In those circumstances such talk was positive, directing the defense and encouraging his teammates. The chatter he’s spouting out now, however, directed at the team that gave him his chance in the NFL to begin with and was responsible for putting him in a position to burst onto the scene and command a big payday, is beneath someone who plays for a class organization and who wants to be considered among the elite players in the game.

If Pierce holds a grudge against the Redskins, that’s fine. But he needs to shut up and let his play twice a year do the talking.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from when they arrived in Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. To get more details, visit http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.