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Q&A with Joe Gibbs

Q: Can you be successful in the NFL again?</p> "I have no clue. I don't have an idea. What happens is I made the decision to come back because I felt like this is where I'm supposed to be. I'd like to do something good for the franchise and help the franchise get back to winning football games, but there are no givens in this sport. We'll see what happens in the future. I might go through a lot of lumps and a lot of adversity. I don't know." --- Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs</p>

Q: Is your offense finally starting to get on track a little?

Gibbs: I think that we have struggled. It has been a tough, long hard year for us. I think it is week-to-week. We played real good against the Giants. I thought we made some real improvement against Philadelphia from the first time we played them. But I think it remains to be seen how we play down the final three games. You hope to improve each week and I'm not sure we did that earlier in the year and I feel like we've been doing that a little bit lately.

Q: What's the biggest surprises in the NFL nowadays?

Gibbs: Dramatically different. I knew coming back; I said when I left that the NFL changed roughly 30 percent a year. I was gone for 12 years. You know, there are a lot of changes on the way you get players, salary cap issues. I love free agency. We didn't have that in the old days. So parts of it I love and of course there are a lot of changes in technical football on the field. So it's a dramatic difference. And, you know, I knew it was going to be a big learning curve and I look at as I'm starting over again as a rookie coach and hopefully we'll get better and better as things go on and learn along the way.

Q: Can you be successful in the NFL again?

Gibbs: I have no clue. I don't have an idea. What happens is I made the decision to come back because I felt like this is where I'm supposed to be. I'd like to do something good for the franchise and help the franchise get back to winning football games, but there are no givens in this sport. We'll see what happens in the future. I might go through a lot of lumps and a lot of adversity. I don't know.

Q: Do you have a better idea of what it takes to succeed?

Gibbs: You mean after this year? Yeah, I think this is huge for me coming back and starting over. I think you have to hopefully be a good learner and study things. The biggest thing for me is getting a chance to know our players and get leaders. That's the biggest thing to me.

Q: Can you explain your poor record, given that you have the NFL's No. 2 defense?

Gibbs: No.

Q: Injuries have have affected everybody this year, how much have they affected the Redskins?

Gibbs: Obviously we are missing a lot of players. It's not just one. I think we have 10 surgeries and 13 guys on injured reserve, including John Hall, our kicker who just went on injured reserve today. So we have had a lot of losses. That can happen up here. This has allowed us to look at a lot of younger guys. So we are trying to do the best we can to get through it. But we are missing a lot of people, including Jon (Jansen). He was a big part of this team.

Q: How has former 49er Ray Brown been doing with you guys?

Gibbs: Unbelievable. I have to tell you that he is one of the great stories in the NFL. For a guy to be that old, he has started at guard and tackle. I don't know what we would do without him.

Q: How about defensive coordinator Gregg Williams?

Gibbs: I think Gregg and our whole defensive staff, his leadership is unbelievable. Where we are on defense speaks for what kind of a job he has done. But also it's Gregg Blache, Dwayne Walker, Steve Jackson and Kirk Olivadotti. That group is there together for the first time working together and has been phenomenal. We have had a lot of injuries on defense too. They have gone and done a phenomenal job, I think.

Q: Are you fearful at all that you might lose Williams to another head-coaching job?

Gibbs: I think he should be considered for every job out there. I want what is best for him. I'd hate to lose him but also you have someone who made a commitment and came with you and you want what is ever best for him.

Q: Is there an advantage of playing a 2-11 team with the head coach status in flux?

Gibbs: I think for me, I don't know what the situation is out there and I certainly don't know what coach is going to decide to do out there. We take the approach, and I watch them on film, and I think they are certainly a team that can easily, easily beat us. That is my evaluation. I think our commitment here is what we got to do is go out and play a great game. It's going to have to be a great game on our part. We haven't won but more than four ball games. So, I think both of these teams, if I had to guess, are going to be playing their hearts out to try and get a victory. I don't have any question whatsoever. The good thing that we have going for ourselves is that our players look at the 49er players on film and I think they have great respect for them.

Q: You have an owner that is willing to spend, so why hasn't the team been successful?

Gibbs: First of all, our owner, you can't ask for anything more from our owner than for what he has done since I've been here. I feel bad for Dan because Dan deserves a winner. Since I've come here, every single thing that he could do in recruiting a coaching staff, improving our facilities here and going out in free agency. Time after time after time, he has gone overboard when he hasn't had to. I think he's been a great partner and he's been a great partner for me. He's done his part. What I feel bad about is that I haven't done mine. So, our owner I think, I have only worked for two of them, but our owner is exceptional and I think he deserves a winner. Up here, it is hard to win football games. I think San Francisco will tell you that and we'll tell you that. A lot of times you can have a great owner, which I think we have, and not win. That is par.


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