Mind Over Sports

Adam Archuleta and The Washington Redskins

Posted on: December 29, 2006

It seems to me that the Washington Redskins’ defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, could take a few pointers from the team’s offensive coordinator, Al Saunders. That is, take advantage of a player’s personal belief system and don’t ask him to perform at a position that he feels he’s weak at. The Kansas City Chiefs realized this half-way through this season when the coaching staff was finally convinced by some of the players, including Kyle Turley and Brian Waters, that Jordan Black belonged at the left tackle position, not right tackle. And as soon as the change was made, Black’s level of performance increased considerably. According to an article that appeared in the Kansas City Star, November 11, 2006: “He’s been phenomenal,” Turley said of Black, “he should have been at left tackle from the start.” The same article quoted Black as saying that left tackle was his natural position: “Getting back in one spot is big” Black said. “A lot of people think there’s no difference in playing right tackle or left tackle. But there’s a difference. I always knew I could play. I just needed the opportunity to play one position.”

Which brings us to situation involving Adam Archuleta and the Redskins. According to an article in December 29, 2006 issue of USA Today, Archuleta has been in the doghouse all season.

adam-archuletaArguably the best linebacker in the NFL when he played for the Rams, Archuleta hasn’t played a snap on defense in seven weeks. “It became immediately apparent in training camp that Williams wanted to use Archuleta in different ways than the Rams did. Archuleta, a hard-hitting converted linebacker, was asked to play more coverage, not his strong suit.

He started the first seven games only because Pierson Prioleau was out for the season with a knee injury, and Archuleta’s liabilities are one of the reasons the Redskins lead the league in allowing passes of 20 yards or more. Now Archuleta is used only on special teams. Archuleta wouldn’t go into details but indicated the coaches have not been upfront with him. ‘I’m a grown man. I don’t like getting lied to’ Archuleta said. ‘I don’t mind if somebody says to my face what my flaws are and what I’m doing wrong. I welcome those because an honest assessment is all anybody wants in this business.'” One of the biggest complaints I’ve often heard from NFL players is when they felt their coaches weren’t upfront and honest with them. And if other defensive players for the Redskins feel the same, and are not speaking up, it’s no small wonder that the Redskins are having defense problems. By not speaking up about issues and keeping them bottled up inside themselves they are negatively affecting their own performance. Good coaches know this instinctively.

I think a quote from former major league baseball manager Whitey Herzog is appropriate here. In his book, “You’re Missin’ A Great Game,” Herzog points out that in major league baseball, in many instances, “the team gets rid of the player, when the manager (coach) is the problem all along.”

Note: If you are an athlete and want to find out if you are performing close to your skill level on a consistent basis, take the “Self-Esteem Survey” Test while visiting this website. There’s a close relationship between athletic performance and feelings of self-worth.

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