Barber, 25, is part of a Redskins youth movement at linebacker that also includes Jones, 25, on the left side and Derek Smith, 24, in the middle. At 6'2", 220 pounds, Barber, who was taken in the fourth round of the 1998 draft out of Richmond, is one of the lighter starting linebackers in the NFL. He also happens to be one of Washington's fastest players and one of the defense's most ferocious hitters.
An hour after last Saturday's game Barber watched as Nolan silently made his way across a near-empty locker room, pulling a small black suitcase behind him. "There have been a few gratifying moments this year, and today was certainly one of them," said the embattled assistant. "Next week will be tough, but what happened today sure can't hurt our confidence."
On his way out, the first door Nolan tried was locked. So was the second. All season critics have been trying to run Nolan out of town. For one moment, at least, it seemed as if no one wanted him to leave.