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DN: Gibbs, Redskins are winners again


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Gibbs, Redskins are winners again


Joe Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls in Washington, says winning in his return as the Redskins' coach "was about as emotional as any time I think I've been."

There is something right about this picture — the glasses, the cap, the presence on the sideline.

And winning.

More than anything, Joe Gibbs has brought winning back to the Washington Redskins. There is no sign that he has lost any of his old mastery in his return to the sideline as the Redskins’ coach.

It’s a different game, and the mind-set of players has changed since Gibbs retired after the 1992 season. But much of what made Gibbs successful in his first tenure with the Redskins — discipline, attention to detail and preparation — remains. And it works.

After some woeful seasons, the Redskins look like winners. Last week’s 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay wasn’t particularly artistic, but it’s what the Redskins didn’t do that made the difference. They didn’t beat themselves with mistakes.

They didn’t give up a sack or an interception, lost one fumble and were penalized just three times. The Buccaneers gave up four sacks, an interception, lost a fumble and were penalized six times.

Gibbs has coached in bigger games than the opener. The Redskins won three Super Bowls in his 12 years as coach. But it might have been the most meaningful game of Gibbs’ career for what it meant to be back in the game.

“That was about as emotional as any time I think I’ve been,” Gibbs said in a conference call earlier in the week. “For me, it was starting over and I said that to everybody. To me, it’s embarrassing, you know, with the attention and everything I get coming back to coach when there have been other coaches winning the Super Bowl and doing a great job for the last 12 years, and I’ve been totally out of it.

“I think I have to prove myself all over again. So, it was real emotional last week.”

Gibbs had to change gears emotionally after the game, to plan for today’s game at Giants Stadium.

Gibbs, 63, has nothing more to prove in coaching. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996. His record in Washington was 140-65. In the 11 years he was out of coaching, the Redskins won only 75 games under five coaches. Marty Schottenheimer, who was 8-8 in 2001, was the only one without a losing record.

The NFL’s competitive landscape has changed drastically since 1992. Gibbs’ former Redskins owner, the late Jack Kent Cooke, spent whatever Gibbs thought was necessary to field a winner. The Redskins built a massive offensive line — the famed Hogs — and kept them intact because they never could leave via free agency, which took effect in 1993. The first year of the salary cap was 1994.

Gibbs won with older, experienced players who spent the bulk of their careers in Washington. In this era, it’s imperative that teams utilize younger players. They become free agents after four years.

“I would say that the way you acquire talent is totally different,” Gibbs said. “Everybody has the same amount of money. It is how you are going to assign the money.

“In the old days, you used to be — if you could talk the owner into it — you could get whatever you wanted. That is not the case anymore.”

The Redskins traded for quarterback Mark Brunell and running back Clinton Portis and drafted safety Sean Taylor in the first round.

But it still gets down to coaching, and Gibbs knows it. He doesn’t expect his reputation to win any games.

“I said when I came back — I said this and I meant it — the past is really the past,” Gibbs said. “What you get there is a lot of great memories. And I love that. I cherish those things. But that is really what they are — they are in the past. That doesn’t buy you anything today.

“If anything, I think it makes it harder on you today. And what I feel like in coming back after 12 years, I said, ‘Hey, any attention I got, to be quite truthful, I haven’t done anything for 12 years.’

“So far, I have coached one game.”

One victory.

Numbers game

* 1: Total plays Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has missed because of injury in his career. He has started all 97 regular-season games.

* 3: Victories in home openers for the Cardinals since they moved to Arizona in 1988. All three were under former coach Vince Tobin. The Cardinals are underdogs to New England today.

* 6: The players who scored three touchdowns last week — the most in one week since the merger in 1970. Shaun Alexander, Terrell Owens, Detroit Mackenzie’s Jerome Bettis, Priest Holmes, Ahman Green and Quentin Griffin got the hat trick.

* 12: The number of players who rushed for 100 or more yards last week. Their teams were 9-3.

* 13: Games started by Dolphins quarterback A.J. Feeley since he graduated from high school. That includes college and pro.

* 15: Number of times the Ravens have been held without an offensive touchdown in Brian Billick’s 81 regular-season games as coach.

* 41: Catches by Vikings receiver Randy Moss in eight Monday night games. He has 10 touchdowns and 872 receiving yards. The Vikings play Philadelphia on Monday night.

Summer song

Walter Jones, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl offensive tackle, practiced only three times before playing in the opener last week. He has missed camp for three straight years because of contract disputes, and he has played well every year. The Seahawks gained 415 yards and didn’t give up a sack in defeating New Orleans.

“He’s going to probably make it hard for a lot of guys to go to training camp next year,” said Bucs Coach Jon Gruden, whose team plays the Seahawks today. “He looks like he’s been in two-a-days for three years.”

Safety belt

In his first game for the Broncos, safety John Lynch flattened Chiefs receiver Dante Hall and was fined $7,500 by the NFL for hitting a defenseless player. There was no penalty on the play. The fine came after a review by the league, and Lynch wasn’t happy about it.

“I think it’s clear that if you make the highlights these days, you’re going to get fined,” Lynch said. “That’s essentially what it’s come down to. Again, the hypocrisy of it just kills me.

“They’ll sell it on their greatest hits videos, but then they’ll fine you for doing it.”

Broiled tuna

Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells has called coaching his “narcotic,” and he has come out of retirement three times since leaving the Giants after winning Super Bowl XXV. Last week’s loss to the Vikings reminded Parcells that he might need emotional painkillers, even as he pursues a third Super Bowl championship.

“But when a team plays like we did Sunday, it doesn’t make a difference how many championships you already have — any of that stuff,” Parcells said. “You’re not winning now, so you’re not feeling good.

“That’s the thing, I think, being out of coaching, that you never remember what kind of feelings you have. Your body doesn’t remember pain that well. So when you don’t play well, it’s very bothersome to me.”


Bengals running back Rudi Johnson had 245 carries without a fumble. He lost the ball on his 246th carry last week, and Jets cornerback Donnie Abraham returned it for a touchdown. It was a key play in the Jets’ victory. Sam Cowart jarred the ball loose.

“He just made a great hit on the ball,” Johnson said. “He got me when I was trying to cut.”

Last word

Steelers linebacker Joey Porter isn’t at a loss for words in describing the AFC North rivalry with Baltimore.

“Pure hatred,” he said. “All shots are dirty, everything is dirty, so you don’t have to feel bad about it when you do it.”

Material from personal interviews, other beat writers and Detroit News wire services was used in this report. You can reach Mike O’Hara at (313) 982-3810 or (313) 222-1488.

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“I think I have to prove myself all over again."

There may have been those out there who thought he had been removed from the game too long..he had lost his touch.....the game had passed him by.

The changes in personnel, players, hype, salary cap, media......all were factors making some wonder if he could do it again.


We knew from the day it was announced Gibbs would return.

We believed!!

I believed!

After that win........and the win this week and next.......everyone will believe.


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Both of these stats amaze me, more so the former than the latter, but still . . .

* 13: Games started by Dolphins quarterback A.J. Feeley since he graduated from high school. That includes college and pro.

* 15: Number of times the Ravens have been held without an offensive touchdown in Brian Billick’s 81 regular-season games as coach.

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