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Gibbs II Era: 2004 Revisited...

Smoot Point Really

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Our problems in 2006 are well documented... Many people here look at 2005 as if it were the "blip" in the Gibbs II era, but few look at the positives that occurred in 2004 and 2005 that really make 2006 the "blip".

In 2004, there were 3 games that we lost by more than 7 points... In almost every game, there were critical mistakes (boneheaded plays, turnovers, special teams miscues, horrible decisions on instant replay, etc) that caused us to go 6-10... Fixing those miscues made us a playoff team in 2005. If anything, we were a playoff team in 2004 that was adjusting to Gibbs and Gibbs adjusting to the new NFL. If anything, I hope you will conclude that we weren't so far off in 2004, that perhaps in 2005 we were building on 2004, and that it is possible that 2006 can be chalked up to injuries, new offensive system, new Quarterback and player-discontent. Perhaps we're not as far off as we might think.

Let's revisit the pain of 2004:

1) Tampa Bay: We allowed a fumble for a TD. This didn't cost us the game, but made the game close... We really handled Tampa Bay this game, but the score doesn't reflect this.

2) NYGiants: We lost by 6 points. We threw 3 interceptions, fumbled 3 times and one of those fumbles was returned for a TD... We held Tiki Barber to 42 yards on 18 carries.

3) Dallas: We lost by 3 points. Overall, we played well enough to win, but our defense allowed Richie Anderson to throw a halfback pass for a TD. There was also a giant 40 yard pass interference call that set up a 1yd TD. We gave up 5 sacks and had 5 three and outs...

4) Cleveland: Cleveland comes from behind to win... we fumbled twice in the second half (including the kickoff). The other fumble was with 2:15 left in the game and us down by 4.

5) Baltimore: we're up 10-0 at half... Ed Reed blocks a punt for a TD and BJ Sams returns a punt for a TD. We lose 17-10...

6) Chicago: we only won 13-10, but we dominated Chicago this game. We gave up a 70 yard interception for a TD to Jerry Azumah.

Let's pause at the Bye... Arguably, at this point we should've been 5-1 with a loss to Dallas (not 2-4)... What drove us to 1-4 at this point were mistakes that we corrected (for the most part) in 2005. How do you think our season would've looked had we been 5-1 going into the bye instead of 2-4?

Continuing on (the really hard part of the schedule):

7) Green Bay: I was at this game and I'm going to count it as a defeat. We were soundly defeated, even though I believe we had one and possibly two TDs called by by the referees this game. We got robbed, but I can't say this deserves further consideration.

8) Detroit: We win 17-10... Our offense was horrible, but our defense saved the day.

9) Cincinnati: Another game that I was at. We lost 17-10... Patrick Ramsey enters the 2nd half and salvages the game for us.

10) Philadelphia: We were soundly defeated... Nothing more to say here.

11) Pittsburgh: fourth quarter interception at Pittsburgh 13 on 1st and 10 from the Pittsburgh 40... Regardless, we lose this game in reality and for the purpose of this analysis.

At this point in the season, we're still thinking playoffs at 6-5... St Louis Rams made the playoffs at 8-8 that year.

12) NYGiants: We trounce the Giants 31-7... Only TD given up was a Kickoff Return. BTW, Tiki Barber had 15 carries for 38 yards. We held him under 100 yards on the season.

13) Philadelphia: We lose by 3 points... We missed a field goal and threw an interception with 4 minutes to go in the game in the Philadelphia end zone. I'd like to think the 2005 team could've and would've won this game.

14) San Francisco: We won... had a few miscues, but won by 10... NEXT.

15) Dallas: We lose by 3... Patrick Crayton scores a TD with :55 remaining. We throw an INT inside the Dallas 10... Miscues cost us.

16) Minnesota: We won by 3... The game is made close by a Ramsey fumble and INT.

Basically, correctable miscues took us from a possible 11-5 to 6-10... I'm not even counting a lot of missed field goals (we had Jeff Chandler as our kicker at one point), timeouts burned, penalty yards (tied for 2nd highest in the league that year), coaching gaffes, etc...

When we evaluate Gibbs II era, let's remember how 2005 corrected a lot of the 2004 mistakes. You can't compare the problems that we had in 2006 with the problems that we had in 2004 and then draw the correlation that 2005 was the aberration. I think if we get back to what we did in 2005 to correct the 2004 mistakes, we aren't far from the type of results we had in 2005. We're certainly closer than some would believe.

BTW, Gregg Williams really was a genius in 2004... All those mistakes and it's really amazing what our defense accomplished that season.

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I would definitly agree with you and have always felt that 2006 was an aberration and that we are going to build on 2005 this season. In 2007 we will not only have a good defense like that of 04 and 05, but we will have a much improved offense with JC at the helm and CP having something to prove.

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2007 will be a very strong year and a statement year for Gibbs. I've been saying it since the first preseason game. We look fast, sharp and focused. There is emotion. Players seem to be enjoying themselves and believing they can make a strong run this year. Being the homer I am, I'll see you all in Arizona for the SB! HTTR

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The biggest problem with 2004 was an offense that was unbelievably bad the whole season, regardless of whether Brunell or Ramsey was in there. Only the great job done by Gregg Williams kept Gibbs first season back from being a total disaster.

We were a good deal better on O in 2005 than in 2004....unfortunately, I think injuries undermined us late in the season that led to us not going further in the playoffs. From seeing some highlights from the Tennessee preseason game and from watching Campbell's brief stint before he went down against the Steelers, it does look like the offense promises to get back on the same track that we had that year.

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All bad teams can point to "close" games that they "should" have won.

Hell, Norv made a career out of it.

As of right now, 2005 (more specifically the 5 game December streak at the end of the season) is the blip in Gibbs 2.

It wasn't losing "close games", it was the miscues that caused the close games and the losses in those games. The miscues were fixed in 2005. The purpose was to discuss the quality of that "bad team", which wasn't as bad with respect to talent as it was bad with respect to fixable problems. 2006 was the aberration, not 2005.

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