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Gibbs, Redskins Finalize the Coaching Staff

By Nunyo Demasio

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 4, 2004; Page D01

Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs announced his coaching staff yesterday, having assembled a group of assistants that is older and much more experienced than the staffs of most teams in the NFL.

The official announcement of the coaching staff, which came four weeks after Gibbs was lured out of retirement, followed a search that was prolonged by NFL rules that limit the ability of teams to court coaches still under contract elsewhere.

Gibbs hired two assistants with no coaching experience in the NFL -- running backs coach Earnest Byner, 41, and wide receivers coach Stan Hixon, 47. But Gibbs's list is dominated by seasoned NFL coaches who stand in stark contrast to former coach Steve Spurrier's assistants, collectively the least experienced in the league last season.

Gibbs, the NFL's second-oldest head coach at 63, named four assistants who are at least 60, topped by Ernie Zampese, 67, who will serve as a consultant to the team's offense. The list also includes two former head coaches.

With the group assembled by Gibbs, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is believed to have the highest assistants' payroll in NFL history, with a conservative estimate of more than $4 million. Gibbs has credited Snyder for surpassing his assistants budget, deeming the step necessary to acquire highly-regarded coaches who received multiple offers from other NFL teams.

Gibbs, who was not available for comment yesterday, has a staff matching the average number of assistants in the NFL (16) and the average number of minorities (five). But Gibbs's staff has an atypical hierarchy, with two assistants who hold the title of assistant head coach -- Gregg Williams for defense and Joe Bugel for offense. Bugel, the former Arizona Cardinals head coach, will focus on the offensive line.

Williams, 45, the Buffalo Bills' head coach the previous three seasons, signed a four-year deal, starting with an annual salary of $1.3 million, according to a source. Most assistants signed three-year deals.

Greg Blache, 53, who spent the past five seasons as defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, will be the Redskins' defensive coordinator with an emphasis on the defensive line. Gibbs has not said who will call the defensive plays.

Although the hiring of all the major assistants announced by the team yesterday have been previously reported, Gibbs had not specified titles for most of the coaches. Yesterday's announcement revealed that Don Breaux, a former Redskins running backs coach with 23 years of NFL coaching experience, will be offensive coordinator. Gibbs will call the plays.

Breaux will also be used as a utility coach, guiding Byner and Hixon.

A minor quirk is that the Redskins will have two offensive assistants -- Coy Gibbs, the head coach's son, and Bill Lazor.

One holdover from the Spurrier regime is Kirk Olivadotti, the defensive quality control assistant for four seasons. Under Gibbs, Olivadotti also will take on special-teams duties. Danny Smith, who worked under Williams in Buffalo for the past three years, will oversee the special teams.

Bubba Tyer, who retired after last season following 33 years with the Redskins, returns as director of sports medicine. The new trainer, replacing Dean Kleinschmidt, is John Burrell.

Other holdovers from last year's staff are John Hastings; the strength and conditioning coach; Bobby Crumpler, the assistant strength and conditioning coach; and John Jefferson, the director of player programs, who played wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers when Gibbs was the offensive coordinator from 1979 to 1981.

Former Redskins cornerback Darrell Green is still expected to work in some capacity under Gibbs, according to a source, but his duties are still being ironed out.

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Originally posted by Hogwash

This is exciting. Was Gibbs big on trick plays or was he pretty conservative?

Gibbs was very innovative. I remember quite a few flea-flicker plays. In the 12 years I watched Joe Gibbs, I never saw him call any stupid plays during games. Some plays didn't always work because they were not executed properly, but all of them made sense at the time. He and Tom Landry were masters at that.

I can also remember one exceptional year -- I don't recall who the special teams coach was then -- when the Skins used just about one trick play every game on special teams that year.

Reverses on kickoffs, double reverses, fake reverses, passing from punt formation, running from punt formation.......... you name it. :) I recall Desmond Howard in his rookie season scoring a TD on a reverse, which I believe was off a kickoff. :)

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I do remember him using trick plays, but just going on guts, I'd say it was only one play per game or so.

Mostly what Gibbs teams were noted for was running just a few plays, (I remember one assistant saying the 'Skins only had five or six basic plays, but that every one of them could be run out of a dozen formations), and running them well. (As my HS French teacher used to say: "Nobody's perfect, but Practice makes better.")


I like the comments that our defense will feature more man coverage.

I think if you could look at the gripe posts here for the last five years, and find the most frequent complaints from ExtremeSkins analysts over the years, It'd be a close race between

  • More man coverage on defense, and
  • Run the ball more

(Maybe this could be a poll).

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Gibbs reveals finished staff

By Mark Zuckerman


Joe Gibbs will have two assistant head coaches, an offensive and a defensive coordinator and 12 more assistants, giving the Washington Redskins one of the most experienced and loftily titled staffs in the NFL.

Gibbs formally announced his entire staff yesterday. While all the names had become public over the last three weeks, the specific job titles had not.

Joe Bugel, as expected, was given the title of assistant head coach/offense. More of a surprise, though, was the naming of Gregg Williams as assistant head coach/defense, Don Breaux as offensive coordinator and Greg Blache as defensive coordinator.

That gives Gibbs four top-level staffers with job titles above that of mere assistant coach.

While that is not a common practice among most NFL teams, few others include so many assistants with past experience as either head coaches or coordinators.

Both Bugel and Williams have been NFL head coaches, Bugel with the Phoenix Cardinals (1990-1993) and Oakland Raiders (1997) and Williams with the Buffalo Bills the last three seasons. Blache (Chicago Bears) and linebackers coach Dale Lindsey (San Diego Chargers) were both defensive coordinators last season. Quarterbacks coach Jack Burns was the Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator from 1992 to 1993, and consultant Ernie Zampese was offensive coordinator for four different clubs the past two decades.

There are still a few questions to sort out, such as who will ultimately call the plays on offense among Gibbs, Bugel and Breaux and how Williams and Blache will handle control of the defense.

Gibbs could not be reached yesterday for comment, but he has indicated on more than one occasion that he wasn't so much concerned with specific job titles and roles as he was with getting all of his assistants signed up.

The Redskins' staff has both an old and new look, with several of Gibbs' former assistants from the 1980s rejoining him in Washington and a handful of younger coaches filling out the staff.

Bugel, Breaux, Burns, Lindsey and tight ends coach Rennie Simmons were members of Gibbs' previous staffs. Running backs coach Earnest Byner played for the Redskins from 1989 to 1993 and is fifth on the club's all-time rushing list with 3,950 yards.

Secondary/cornerbacks coach DeWayne Walker spent the last two seasons as the New York Giants' defensive backs coach. Safeties/third down coach Steve Jackson and special teams coach Danny Smith held similar roles on Williams' staff in Buffalo the last three years.

Wide receivers coach Stan Hixon is the lone member of Gibbs' staff to come from the college ranks — he coached receivers at LSU since 2000 and was associate head coach for the Tigers' co-national championship squad this season.

Offensive assistant Bill Lazor and quality control coach/offense Coy Gibbs (the coach's son) will hold entry-level positions on the staff. Kirk Olivadotti (defensive assistant/special teams) is the lone holdover from Steve Spurrier's coaching staff.

The Redskins also announced yesterday that longtime trainer and recent Ring of Fame inductee Bubba Tyer is returning to the organization as director of sports medicine (an advisory role). John Burrell, an assistant athletic trainer in Jacksonville the last eight years, replaces Dean Kleinschmidt as Washington's head athletic trainer.


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This is exciting. Was Gibbs big on trick plays or was he pretty conservative?

Gibbs ran a few trick plays, he loved to run the end around out of the 3 receiver set, usually with Ricky Sanders back then, I can also recall Byner throwing a few option passes for TD's.

He also used the flea flicker (Thiesmann broke his leg on that play!) and I can even recall Ricky Sanders throwing a pass once (vs Seattle to Monk in '89, Steve Largents last game).

All of this makes Gibbs sound like a "gimmick" coach but he used to fit them into the gameplan so well and had a knack of knowing exactly when to call them.

The main thing with Gibbs was his ability to adjust quickly, if things aren't working he will find something that will.

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Originally posted by Larry

I do remember him using trick plays, but just going on guts, I'd say it was only one play per game or so.

I don't expect to see too many trick plays during the season. We'll probally run one every few weeks or so. Gibbs will probably call mostly "simple" plays his first year back to test the waters, but we might see more trick plays past the halfway point of the season.

There's my expert advice. That will be 2 cents, please :2cents:

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Originally posted by Hogwash

This is exciting. Was Gibbs big on trick plays or was he pretty conservative?

Could lull you to sleep with conservative play calling, and then once you were asleep hit you with the big play! The best play caller the Redskins have EVER had! Will run the same play over and over again using different formations and shifts. I think during the 80s there were only 5 running plays in the playbook, but they ran them to perfection.


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Published February 4, 2004

Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs will have two assistant head coaches, plus separate offensive and defensive coordinators, when he returns to the sidelines after an 11-year retirement.

Nearly all of the names have been public knowledge for weeks, but some of the titles were surprises when the Redskins announced Gibbs' veteran-laden staff Tuesday.

Former Buffalo coach Gregg Williams was listed as "assistant head coach - defense," while Greg Blache is defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Blache spent the last five seasons as Chicago's defensive coordinator.

Joe Bugel, who built "The Hogs" as offensive line coach under Gibbs in the 1980s, returns as "assistant head coach - offense." Don Breaux, the running backs coach during Gibbs' first stint, is the offensive coordinator.

As expected, longtime NFL offensive guru Ernie Zampese will be a consultant for the offense. Gibbs' son, Coy Gibbs, was given an entry-level position, making Joe Gibbs the third consecutive Redskins head coach to have a relative on his staff.

Stan Hixon, receivers coach at LSU, will hold the same job with the Redskins. The only holdover from Steve Spurrier's staff is defensive and special teams assistant Kirk Olivadotti.

RAVENS. Jim Fassel could join the club's coaching staff as early as today, NFL sources said. The Ravens are prepared to hire the former New York Giants head coach, but working out the logistics with the NFL over his unconventional job title.

Fassel, 54, may be named a senior adviser or consultant while serving the duties of an assistant head coach. It is believed Fassel does not want to lower his status for future head coaching vacancies by accepting a position as offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach.

BENGALS. Cincinnati is abandoning efforts to grow a natural grass field in Paul Brown Stadium. Despite underground heating and irrigation, a new mix of the sand and dirt base, and creation of their own turf farm, the Bengals have not been able to create a surface that will stand up to play in the 4-year-old stadium. Bengals players have been critical of the footing, and opposing teams have complained.

ELSEWHERE. Cincinnati tackle Levi Jones was released from jail after his arrest stemming from a fight among Houston nightclub patrons. Jones and cousin Fred Robinson each posted bond of $500 and left jail Monday night. ... Steve Szabo was hired as the Buffalo Bills' defensive backs coach after a season as a volunteer assistant with New England.


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Originally posted by Hogwash

This is exciting. Was Gibbs big on trick plays or was he pretty conservative?

He'd call at least one end-around a game.

Thing about a lot of his plays, even when they failed, they almost always set something up because one of the only ways to really stuff him consitently (you can't count on the other guy not executing) was to 'cheat'.

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