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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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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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