Press Conference: Joe Gibbs

Joe Gibbs took questions about the upcoming game against the Giants. Here they are:

Q: Is Giants week a little more fun than usual?

A: More fun than usual?  I've never played the Giants when it was fun, mainly because they have good players, good coaches, and a they have a good organization.  I keep waiting for somebody to be on the negative side of that, but it hasn't been the Giants.  We've had a tough time.  Everybody knows that.  We got clobbered last year and embarrassed everybody.  We kind of know what the Giants are all about and certainly we have great respect for them.

Q: What, if anything, have you learned when you go up against a player who clearly has a lot of revenge on his mind, like a LaVar Arrington?

A: I think, first of all, I was sure sorry that it didn't work out better for LaVar here.  It's something that I wish had gone better than what it did.  When LaVar left and chose to leave, in that situation I felt like I wish it had worked out better than the way it did.  I always had good conversations with him and although we went through some tough situations with injuries and everything else, we wish him the absolute best.  I wish him the best, as long as it's not (against) the Redskins.  I hope it works out for the best for him in his future and his career.  That's kind of the way I look at LaVar's situation.

Q: In hindsight, would you have done anything differently with him, either on or off the field?

A: I think you always look at things and say, ‘What could I have done?'  It's a learning experience every year up here and certainly every situation when you deal with a player, and particularly when something doesn't work out the way you'd like for it to, you always look at it as a learning experience.  I've thought a lot about it and I'm sure there are things that I could have done to have done a better job as a coach and keep that from happening. 

Q: What do you think was the biggest factor in why it didn't work out?

A: I think it's too complicated to say.  I think there was an injury that ran through the whole thing, which complicated things.  It was just a situation that didn't go well, and I wish it had.

Q: How has the transition been for you, not being the offensive coordinator?

A: I think it's different.  I tell people it's different.  I still have a lot to do, for sure.  It's the way most people are organized in the NFL – not everybody, but most.  I felt like it was the right thing for us to do last off-season when we were kind of looking at ways that we could improve our football team.  When I'm involved in a lot of things around here, you hate to have the offensive staff sitting in there waiting on me.  I don't think I would have done it with anybody else, but knowing Al (Saunders) for a long time, it goes all the way back to 1967 at SC when we were together and he comes out of pretty much the same coaching tree as I have, Ernie Zampese, Mike Martz, and Don Coryell.  He calls everything the way we call it, terminology-wise, generally.  I felt like it was a way for us to improve.  You're always trying to improve the football team, the organization.  I felt like it was a smart thing to do.  It's been different for me, but also, I have plenty to do.  I'll put it that way.

Q: Do you think in terms of it extending your coaching career?

A: Extending my career?  I'm playing in the fourth quarter on house money right now, so it's been extended.  I just wanted what was best for the Redskins and I felt like this was the best decision for us.  I think that you don't get anybody more qualified or somebody who works harder at what he does.  I think it's a better way for us to be organized.  I thought it was smart for us to head in this direction.

Q: In the past two weeks, Mark (Brunell) has played really well, Santana Moss played well, and the Giants have had trouble covering receivers.  Do you sit down and say, ‘Let's exploit this'?

A: I remember last year, 36-0, so that's what I remember.  I think they limited us to 150-something yards or something like that, so I think they've had to scout the style of defense that…It's complicated, it's not predictable, and I think they probably did one of the best jobs last year, if not the best, in limiting our offense and taking care of us.  I would have to say that their scheme and the way that they kind of went after us I think is smart.  I certainly have great respect for them and their coaches.  We kind of know what we're up against, that's for sure.

Q: At the same time, a couple of weeks ago everybody thought your offense was in trouble.  Are you happy with the way it's going now?

A: I think certainly the last two weeks have been a big improvement for us.  It's been, obviously, a step up.  I think it's kind of all of us, the whole offense just played better, so that's been encouraging.  Now, we also know that last week doesn't buy you anything in the NFL.  You go from week to week up here, and certainly we had better be ready to give our absolute best effort.  That's what it's going to take for us to hang in there with these guys.

Q: Back to LaVar for a second, were you kind of disappointed when he signed here with some of the things that he was saying about the organization?

A: I didn't really see much, to tell you the truth.  To be quite truthful, I think that like I said, my reflection on that whole thing is all based on the fact of, ‘what could I have done to have helped that, to have kept that from happening?' Because that's my job.  That's what I'm supposed to do as a head coach.  I'm supposed to be able to work through things like that, and the fact that we wound up having a couple of years there where things didn't go well, and then we wind up – LaVar leaves – I kind of looked at the whole thing as, ‘what could I have done?' and I think I needed to take the heat on that one.

Q: One of the things that he said – and he didn't clarify this and has refused to clarify – he said he used to ‘cover for the coach' down there.  I don't know if he was talking about you or Greg Williams, but did you hear that comment?

A: I didn't hear it, and I don't have any comment on that, other than that I think my situation with LaVar – I always felt that we handled some real tough things together and worked hard on them.  It just didn't work out.  That's the way I look at it, and I kind of look at it as, like I said, I think I reflect more on myself, and what could I have done to try and help that.

Q: When you look at him as a player right now, obviously he had not played great for you down the stretch last year.  What do you see now in him as a player?

A: I can tell you this – I think LaVar is one of the best athletes that plays in the NFL.  I think he's very explosive.  I wish he had been healthy here with us over that two-year span.  We think he's a great athlete with great emotion.  I think he's obviously a premier player.  I think that's what the Giants felt, and that's the reason the Giants wound up with him. 

Q: Are you thinking at all about how much longer you want to coach?

A: I haven't thought about it, to be quite truthful.

Q: Last year when the Giants went down there, Santana Moss had a great game, and he had another one obviously last week.  What is it about him?  Where does he rank with some of the receivers that you've had?

A: Santana, to be quite truthful, I'm not sure you can say enough about him, what he's meant to us.  I think out of our 45 plays last year that were big plays, over 20 yards, I think he had something like 26 of them or something.  He is, more than anything, as a person, he's just a great guy.  He never complains.  Lots of times you have, you know, any receiver or running back that has great confidence in himself and knows he can make plays, if they don't get the ball, you figure they're going to be upset about things.  Never ever.  He always has a fantastic attitude, if he gets one ball or he gets ten, he never complains about it.  So, first of all, as a person he's been great for our football team.  And then, of course, secondly, on the field, I think he's a gifted guy.  He has great long-ball adjustment.  It's just unbelievable.  And then when he hits the ground, he's a great runner with the ball.  I think he's…We can't say enough about him, really.

Q: As a coach, have you ever been a big believer in positive momentum carrying week to week, such as off a game like you had Sunday?

A: No.  To be quite truthful, I've always felt in the NFL, I've always thought that one year doesn't buy you the next year.  Our poorest years that I've coached have followed, in some cases, Super Bowl years.  So one year doesn't buy you the next year and certainly, I think, week to week up here – We see it every week.  Everybody tries to pick the winners and the losers.  You can't do it, because everybody's evenly matched, everybody had real good football players.  In our division you can count on everybody – All four of the organizations, I think, do a great job.  They're extremely well coached.  I have great respect for Coach Coughlin, as a person and as a coach.  And so, I think what happened up here, I have never seen a sport where it turns as fast from week to week.  I think that's pointed out on everybody, including you guys.  If you have a pool, you probably have a tough time getting half of them right.  I know the coaches down here have a pool and they can't get it right.  I'm not in it, by the way.  I don't even bother embarrassing myself by being in it, but you just can't.  I think it's because of human nature, I think it's real close and it's close competition.  Normally these games turn on a play or two, that you'd like to know where they're going to come, but you can't.  And it's normally a play or two turns these games around, and that's certainly been the case in two of our games this year.

Q: Was last year's Giants game up here about as poorly as you've felt since you've been back?

A: I think that was probably, yeah, that was the most lop-sided loss.  To be truthful, I haven't done well in New York, period.  They have a great fan-base there, but I think as much as anything, you go up there and you're playing against good football players who are extremely well-coached.  I think last year was, I don't think I've had a worse feeling leaving some place.  It was tough to live through.

Q: So are you saying we should take the Giants and leave the points?

A: I'm saying whatever I say, go opposite.  Whatever I say, go opposite.  Yeah, I definitely would take the Giants if I was you guys.

Q: Have you ever, after a bad loss, had a player on your own team come out and say to the media that the team was outcoached?

A: That's not something I think I can comment on.  I really don't even know the situation or if there was something said there.  I'm sure that there's been players on my team – and I would admit to them, ‘I haven't done a good job'.  I don't think I can comment on that because I don't know the situation or anything.

Q: How is the health of your team?

A: The health of our team, I think, is good.  We'll have our injury report at the end of the day, but I think that we came out of it in pretty good shape last week. 

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