With the recent news that Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs has retired, I started thinking about what a new coach would change about the Redskins. There's no way around it; the `Skins were a poor fantasy source this season. They have a quarterback in Jason Campbell with a lot of promise, but promise doesn't get you any fantasy points. Unfortunately, his 2700 yard, 12 TD, 11 INT season didn't get you a lot of points either.
The wide receiver corps was all but useless, led by Santana Moss's 808 yards and 3 TDs, good for maybe the 3WR or flex spot on your fantasy team. The new coach will almost certainly stick with the developing Campbell next season, though a new pass-happy coach might push for improvements in the WR corps via free agency or the draft. That scenario would reduce the value of TE Chris Cooley, something owners should keep an eye on this offseason.
The biggest possible change in my mind is with the running game. Clinton Portis shook off his injury problems to put up a stellar 1262 rushing yard, 11 rushing touchdown season. Unfortunately the Redskins acted as though RB Ladell Betts - a guy who ran for over 1150 yards in 2006 - just walked in from a leper colony. Betts saw double digit carries only twice this season, in the first game and in the last game. Fantasy owners who counted on Betts as a solid 3RB, or who discounted Portis expecting him to lose work to Betts, shook their fists at Joe Gibbs all season.
Would a new Head Coach would institute a running back by committee in Washington, utilizing both Portis and Betts? It's certainly possible, if for no other reason than to keep Portis fresh: his 325 rushing attempts led the NFL this season. It's also important to remember that the Redskins signed Betts to a five year, $11 million contract (including $5.5 million guaranteed) just last year, so they can't be happy about paying this guy to sit on the bench. Ownership might not have been able to force a legend like Joe Gibbs to play Betts if he didn't want to, but they can certainly make it clear to the new guy that they want to see Ladell on the field.
A move like that would lower Portis's fantasy value, increase Betts' value, and introduce the uncertainty that fantasy football owners hate. It would be a good move for Washington, but a bad move for you and me. It will be interesting to watch the head coaching candidates and see if they have a history with the passing game or with the running game.