Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

Snyder must be hands-off in Washington for Gibbs to succeed


Recommended Posts

Snyder must be hands-off in Washington for Gibbs to succeed

Commentary by Howard Balzer

January 13, 2004


It was stunning news in an NFL world where nothing much should shock us anymore.

The return of Joe Gibbs, already a Hall of Famer, to coach the Washington Redskins perhaps isn't as surprising as the realization that he will be working for Dan Snyder.

Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil, who has come out of retirement twice to coach NFL teams, put everything in perspective when he simply stated, "He'll be a tremendous influence on the Redskins' organization ... as long as they let him."

And there's the rub. What will happen the first time Gibbs butts heads with overmatched personnel chief Vinny Cerrato?

Gibbs is unquestionably a great coach. But the general manager in Gibbs' previous run with the Redskins was Bobby Beathard. And while then-owner Jack Kent Cooke was a cantankerous sort, he didn't try to convince anyone that he knew much about players. Gibbs will learn quickly all he needs to know about the team's personnel operation.

At that point, he will make it clear to Snyder what really has to be done for success to come. And if Snyder doesn't listen then, what was initially a public relations bonanza could turn into just another nightmare.

Asked what it is that brings people like Gibbs back in the intense, pressure-filled world of NFL coaching, Vermeil said, "He's a leader who wants to be hands-on, like he was with his auto racing team. But, he couldn't get in and drive. In the NFL he still can't go in the huddle and throw a pass or make a tackle, but he sure can direct things.”

Perhaps the most excited to be back in the grind is Joe Bugel, Gibbs' former offensive line coach. Bugel last coached with the Chargers in 2001.

Said Bugel, "Joe Gibbs and the old gang are returning to our roots and getting that thing going again. I got a call from Joe at 1:45 a.m. [Wednesday] and he said, 'Have you got your Redskin helmet on?' I told him, 'No, but I know where I can get one real fast' and he said, 'Well you better go do it because we're going back to Washington.'”

The Coughlin way

The biggest question in New York is whether Coughlin's stern approach will take.

At one point in his first press conference, Coughlin was trying to make a point that perceptions were formed in 1995 when he started coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars and that little could change that.

"There was a stamp put on me in '95 and nobody seems to be able to write any current articles," Coughlin said. "You don't stay the same. Nobody stays the same."

No sooner had he said that when a cell phone started ringing. The Coughlin stare went to the area of the ringing, and he said, "If you were one of my players, that would be a $200 fine." And he meant it.

In addressing the injuries that hit the Giants last season, he said, "This team had too many injuries, too many players on injured reserve. Injuries are a cancer, and they are mental.

"It is a mental thing, I believe, as much as it is anything else. But I need to delve into that roster to study it in conjunction with our personnel people, to try to come up with some ideas about my thoughts about what has to be done."

Of course, most of what Coughlin says does make sense.

"Football is fundamentally a physical game," he said. "It is a tough game played by tough people. The year off that I experienced allowed me to make many observations. One of which is: More games are lost in this league than are won. We must eliminate turnovers. You're not going to beat anybody being minus-16. That stat has got to radically change.

“We must eliminate costly penalties. You can't shoot yourself in the foot and expect to win the 100-meter dash. Special teams and winning the battle of field position must become our catalyst for victory, and not our Achilles heel."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of thoughts:

1) Does every city crank out an article like this about the Redskins? I mean, can't they just recycle one written by another paper and either give the writer the day off or force him to write something original?

2) I thought the NFLPA prohibited fines, but today I read where Grimm fines his OL $500 for penalties, and Coughlin fines $200 for cell phones in meetings. I applaud the approach, but what is the rule?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Snyder grew up respecting and idolizing Gibbs.

Although Snyder will not be completely hands-off, he has the untmost respect for Gibbs, and will never undermine him in any way.

This is Joe Gibbs; not Spurrier, Shotty, or Norv. This is Gibbs. Snyder will respect him the whole way. Look at all the freedoms he's given Joe as it is...

He won't be hands-off, though; but that's not necessarily a bad thing. He will learn a hell of a lot from ol' Joe.

But he will never, ever undermine Joe Gibbs. And if he does, I'm starting the angry lynch mob.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...