The gift of Gibbs

Washington coach Joe Gibbs talks Redskins and 49ers, and he's not viewing Sunday's game between the two teams as a pushover for the 'Skins.

Q: What kind of approach do you take to get your team ready for this game?

Gibbs:
The best thing that we have going for ourselves is the film. Our players study film. I think they can see the talent and how hard the 49ers play. Last year the team that dominated us the most was probably St. Louis. I think our guys have tremendous respect for St. Louis. They had seven sacks and could have had another four or five. We have great respect for them there and they're the number one punt return team in the league. Then of course we have great respect for Dallas. We were fortunate to get 14 points and we know what San Francisco was able to do. They had them 21-6 at one point in the game, so for us we have a real good understanding of our football team. Anybody can beat us and certainly I know San Francisco can. Our approach is certainly one of great respect. We want to have a good understanding of who we are playing.

Q: Can you talk about facing a team of three quarterbacks who have a total of only eight NFL starts total?

Gibbs:
I know what we all felt about Alex Smith in the draft last year. We spent a lot of time on the quarterback situation and what you have there is the top pick in the country playing quarterback. I think our guys do a real good job of understanding. We played seven straight games and every one of those games came down to the last play of the game. I truly expect this to be the same type of football game and I think our players do. With their quarterback situation I think experience is something they would like to have, but what they do have is high quality.

Q: Ideally, how would you like to bring in your young quarterback?

Gibbs:
I think every situation is different and I don't know of having an ideal way of doing it. We've had situations in the past where quarterbacks played fairly quick after being here because of an injury. We've had other situations where they've worked here for a while. I don't think I have a formula for that. Last year we saw Ben Rothelisberger jump in, because of an injury and probably had the best year of any quarterback. That's how careers are made up here. We've seen young quarterbacks do great things and that's a good example.

Q: Do these two losses on the road make you more confident than before?

Gibbs:
I don't think losses ever make you more confident. I think we played two teams on the road and we made a lot of mistakes. Unless we fix that then we are going to have trouble winning football games. We've given the ball away and we don't take it away. We've had penalties and long plays against us. We have a lot to try to improve upon on our football team. It's cost us two games and could have cost us other ones in there.

Q: What is Mark Brunell doing different this year than last year?

Gibbs:
There are a couple of things. He had a real bad hamstring pull in the New York Giants game which was our second game last year. He wouldn't come out of the game. He played the next six weeks or so with what I felt like was an injury. I think that affected him more after seeing him come back from it than we even realized as he was going through it. We got Jon Jansen back and our injury situation is much better this year. He is a key component to our offensive line. We've added some people there and that's really helped. The quarterbacks get more credit and more criticism than what they deserve, because a lot of times it's what they have around them. In our case right now we like the fact that we're healthier.

Q: Are you surprised with the connection that he's developed with Santana Moss in such a short time?

Gibbs:
We are. You couldn't expect that, but I think when Santana and David (Patten) came here they added a lot to our team. They have a great attitude at practice. They're real workers and they like being here. But you don't dream that you would have a receiver come in and get hooked up that way. It's week to week, but in our first five they seem to have a real good feeling for each other.

Q: Mike Nolan has done some nontraditional things and with a bye week to prepare, do you think he'll throw out more from his bag of tricks?

Gibbs:
One of our biggest concerns is facing someone with a week off. They're rested and you have to expect that they spent that off time working on things that you haven't seen. Not only have they had onside kicks, but they got a lot of them. It's one thing to have onside kicks and they not pay off, but these guys are making them pay off. I think they've been very aggressive and have done some real good things.

Q: What happened with LaVar Arrington and is that a distraction?

Gibbs:
I'd be willing to say that every team in this league has probably got two or three situations on the team that gets a lot of publicity. I think it's just the life here. It's something that you have to expect and just work your way through. In LaVar's situation we have a very senior staff over there. At some point LaVar got set back last year, because he missed a whole year with an injury. Then he missed a big portion of the preseason. It's a situation where he hasn't been starting and it is limited play there, but we'll have to work our way through it. I'm convinced at some point that if he's the best guy to have in the game he'll be in there.

Q: Why has he not been one of the best guys to have in there?

Gibbs:
One of the reasons is because he got set back with an injury and he missed a big portion of preseason. The other is that we had some very good play out of our linebackers that are in there. Those are two of the reasons.

Q: Do you think there will be a point in this season where you will need him?

Gibbs:
I would sure hope so and I think all of us do.

Q: Mike Martz health situation has brought the issue of work habits and hours that head coaches put into the forefront, so what's the difference in the amount of time you put in now than when you first started?

Gibbs:
I can say that the job has not changed at all. It's probably one of the greatest jobs in the world. I thought I was going to be a junior high coach some place. I've done nothing to deserve this other than being at the right place at the right time. Then you wind up getting the chance to coach the Washington Redskins. Coach Nolan will tell you that getting to coach the Niners is a dream, but as a part of this job for about four or five months is that it's every day. It's no days off and you go after it hard. Everybody in this league works hard. Everybody at the coaching staffs are very competitive. I laugh every year in the off season, because Pat and I always say that were getting ready to go to jail for four and a half months. We're praying for Coach Martz, because he's a real talented and gifted football coach. We need to get him back in the league and get him back healthy.

Q: Do you think the coaches in the league can take lessons from Bud Grant at Minnesota?

Gibbs:
Bud obviously had a great attitude toward it and plus he was super successful. He was just very good. Some people are more gifted than others and they just do it in a different way. I use to look at Coach Landry on the sideline over there. It would be the 13th or 14th game and the guy looked like he just walked out of the best men's store. He was totally rested. They swore to me that he designed the defense, offense and had a huge input on special teams. Different people have a different way of doing it. You don't win football games unless you work extremely hard at it. I think what happens to us as coaches is that we keep adding little stuff all the time. Then before you know it you put in 18 hours a day.

Q: Has technology cut down on time?

Gibbs:
Technology has helped, but it's still a lot of hard work in analyzing things yourself.

Q: Are you able to manage your health issues as well as you like during the seasons?

Gibbs:
I have excellent health with the exception of being diabetic. I probably take better care of myself now than in the past because of that. I think guys said that you've had enough donuts for the first 50 years, you don't need any more.

Q: How is former 49er Ray Brown doing for you guys?

Gibbs:
He's the only guy here from the first go round when I was here. Ray Brown will probably play until he's 60. Not only is he on the roster, but he can play. I think he can start at guard or tackle for us. He has one of the best work ethics in the league. When you draw up what you want in football he's the guy. He's very physical, big, super smart and not to mention a good teammate. To be truthful we want him in the organization when he is through playing. We think the world of him.


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