Gibbs Equals Hope

The Redskins did something I didn't think they could do. Not with this group in charge. They finally delivered what has been missing in a long time: hope. Real hope. Not with some unproven college coach who came into the league unprepared. Not with someone who has been fired from another place.

They hired Joe Gibbs. Excuse me. That's Joe freaking Gibbs. Can you believe it? I can't. OK, so he hasn't signed yet, but that will happen.

All I'd heard over the years from people who once worked with him, and were close to him, was that Gibbs did not want to return to coaching. And that he did not like Redskins owner Dan Snyder, despite what he might have said publicly.

But something changed. What did? I have no idea. Maybe he determined that if Dick Vermeil and Bill Parcells could win in two different eras, then so could he. Maybe he has a deal in place whereby he'll get a piece of the ownership because why would he give up his stake in Atlanta, worth millions, for anything less. And maybe there's another deal in place to land a legitimate general manager.

Gibbs is a great coach, but he's never held both titles. And he also said repeatedly way back when that he didn't want to, mainly because he felt a coach shouldn't be worrying about players' contracts. It could then become personal on the field. He didn't want that.

But I can't believe he'd agree to work with Vinny Cerrato and Snyder alone. I wonder if someone else will be coming in to join the organization.

Regardless, what a major coup this is for a franchise that has stumbled badly the past few seasons. Not just on the field, but off of it. Fans had been turned off to the organization because of how Snyder operated and because of the constant change and turmoil.

Here's the thing: if Snyder can't make it work with Gibbs, he'll almost have to sell the team. In some ways this is a last roll of the dice for Snyder, albeit one heck of a roll.

He hired the coach he long wanted last time in Steve Spurrier. But now he's hired the coach he's long idolized. If it comes down to a decision on a player and Cerrato says one guy and Gibbs says another, who do you think Snyder will side with? It's a no-brainer.

And Gibbs will surround himself with solid assistant coaches, as he did when he was here in the past. Already Gregg Williams is likely to be the defensive coordinator, a role he excelled at in Tennessee. Joe Bugel will be the line coach. Bugel has not coached in the league for several years and he was a flop as a head coach, but as a line coach there was no one better.

Gibbs also brings class to an organization that has lacked that quality in recent seasons. He's a magical person.

But there are problems. When Gibbs was here the first time, he had a great organization around him. He had people like Bobby Beathard and Charley Casserly making decisions. Those are solid, solid guys. For now, the Redskins lack someone in that mold.

There's also no guarantee that Gibbs will succeed. I can't think of anyone who has returned to the place of his greatest achievements and then matched those achievements. And Gibbs hasn't coached in the league since 1992. That's a long time. It didn't stop Vermeil, however, and maybe it won't hurt Gibbs.

Besides, there are few coaches who were more prepared and organized than Gibbs. He instilled fear in the players for their jobs and knew how to push them to get their best out of them.

There's no guarantee this will work.

But, damn, doesn't it feel good to have him back?


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