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Sellers: Players were treated like “little kids”

Sellers: Players were treated like “little kids”

While Jim Zorn may need to be careful and tiptoe around saying anything critical about Joe Gibbs' coaching, it's apparent that at least one Washington Redskins player doesn't feel so restrained.

Last week, when talking about the differences between how things are going this year as opposed to recent seasons, fullback Mike Sellers said, "We don't have people watching us constantly and telling us what to do like we're little kids. He (Zorn) puts it on ourselves. We're being treated like men."

It's hard to figure out where to start with this one.

There isn't any context given in the quote, which I found on the Pro Football Weekly website (there's no permalink to the one-paragraph blurb, so it may scroll down off of this page over time).

I'll look at it on the assumption that he's referring to on-field matters. I don't think that Gibbs had "people" watching players in the lounge at Redskins Park or following them home.

So, they had "people" watching them while they did their jobs? Uh, isn't that, you know, why coaches get paid? Are Zorn and his staff not watching and correcting mistakes and refining technique? I doubt it.

The part about being treated like "little kids" under Gibbs while Zorn treats them like "grown men" is the real slap in the face to Coach Joe. Didn't Gibbs take Mike Sellers off of the scrap heap after he'd been out of the NFL for two years when nobody wanted him after some substance abuse problems? Didn't Gibbs go to great lengths to give Sellers a bigger role in the offense the last couple of years even though he rarely came through?

All that being said, it would be a mistake to write off Sellers' comments as those of some kind of ingrate. If you don't parse the words and look at the general feeling, there seemed to be some frustration at the performance of the coaching staff in general and Gibbs in particular.

While there is universal respect for Gibbs the man, especially after the strength he gave everyone in the wake of the murder of Sean Taylor, there apparently isn't such reverence for how he handled the mechanics of coaching the team.

Even in their better seasons—2005 and 2007—Gibbs' Redskins were maddeningly inconsistent. Both playoff teams had good starts, extended midseason losing streaks, and then hot finishes to scrape into Wild Card spots.

I have heard that Gibbs often had trouble keeping his herd of 20 assistant coaches on the same page. In particular, as much as they tried to minimize it and sweep it under the rug, there was always some tension between Gibbs and Al Saunders. It's been rumored that Gibbs took over the play calling when the Skins got into the Red Zone. At the very least, Gibbs would overrule Saunders on occasion in such situations.

And such situations certainly create confusion on the part of the players. They need to know who's in charge and what to expect.

Now, does that equate to being treated like "little kids"? It wouldn't seem like it. Gibbs went out of his way to get high-character players on his team, the kind of men you don't constantly have to watch.

Mike Sellers is an emotional type of player who doesn't always have that filter between the brain and the mouth activated. He may have been thinking about a particular incident or issue when the spoke of little kids vs. grown men. Or he may have articulated his general frustration in an odd way.

Or, maybe he should be taken literally and he really does believe that Gibbs treated his players like children.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see if other players make similar comments. I believe that Gibbs retired at least partly because he didn't think he was 100% up to the job any more. If that was the case, the players would be the first ones to notice it and we will see if others choose to talk about it.

Again, the Sellers quote was out of context, so take that into consideration when you evaluate it. However, it's hard to imagine any context in which it wouldn't be, to some degree, a potshot at a Hall of Fame coach.

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Award Tour: JP & Tandler select Redskins Offensive Player of the Year

Award Tour: JP & Tandler select Redskins Offensive Player of the Year

With the 2017 offseason about to kick into high gear, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler are going to take one last look at 2016 in the coming days. That’s right, it’s time to hand out awards for Coach of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.

We’ve picked our top coaches and the Special Teams. and defensive POY’s. Today we select the Offensive Player of the Year.

Tandler: I don’t see any need to overthink this. The Redskins set a team record for total offensive yards in a season and it was mostly due to the play of Kirk Cousins. He shattered his own team records in nearly every major passing stat. He was a steady hand as the line underwent some turmoil with the suspension of Trent Williams and injury situations. His primary running backs were a fumble-prone second-year player and an undrafted rookie. The team’s best pass catcher, tight end Jordan Reed, missed four games with injuries and he was obviously hampered by a shoulder injury in a few others. Cousins did slump towards the end of the season and the interception he threw late in the season finale killed off the Redskins’ playoff chances. But he was the one primarily responsible for the team posting winning record in consecutive seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: I kinda wanted to overthink this but Tandler yelled at me. DeSean Jackson was arguably the Redskins best threat, and Pierre Garçon was the most dependable player on the team. Jordan Reed showed how great he can be, but injuries limited his performance. In the end, the award goes to Kirk Cousins. It has to. The guy nearly threw for 5,000 yards and he broke his own passing record that he set last season. What happens before the March 1 franchise deadline not withstanding, Cousins was the 'Skins best offensive player in 2016.

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