Q & A with Doc Walker

The ex-Redskins tight end reacts to the news about Joe Gibbs returning to Washington.

Q: Were you stunned when you heard the news?

A: No. Joe has a great feel for this community. He realizes the pain the football community has been in. Anyone that builds anything great, I think there's always a part of it that lives within him. And to see this thing abused to the point its been abused and to know you can change it, I think that's the think that got him. He's not doing it for the money. He's a smart man and understands he can make a lot of money and if you see incompetence running wild and see people making a fortune. You might as well get paid and come back and salvage what you built.

Q: What kind of power do you think he'll have?

A: He wouldn't come back and have Steve Spurrier's situation. First, Joe understands how to win. My cry to Dan Snyder was to seek advice and knowledge from those who have been there. He did that. He got the master. Now he has to give Joe what Jack Kent Cooke allowed him to do. He has to bring in the people he wants. Dan has no problem paying for things or players. Now he's extended that attitude the management team. He's always done it for players, but never upstairs. Now he can reap some benefits. They weren't that far away under Norv or any of those guys. But Joe knows how to take that final step. He's a master of doing all the little things. He'll be what Parcells and Vermeil are. What all the truly great coaches have done is succeed because they know how to teach and they don't get caught up in all the hype.

Q: How much has the game changed since he last coached?

A: Football hasn't changed in terms of approach to discipline and order and an unselfish approach. All of those are benchmarks of football. Where the past group failed is that it didn't know or understand the essence of teamwork. The team wasn't that far away, but it's like pushing a boulder up a hill. Dan's idea was, `Let's get one strong guy to do it.' I think you get 53 guys together and everyone pushes a little bit and gets it up the hill. That's what Gibbs is a master of. He understands that no one guy determines wins or losses. It has to be a total team effort. He's not hung up on hype. He's hung up on results. He picks the right guys and character means a lot to him.

Q: What are the little things he does so well?

A: All great leaderes have an ability to address order and set goals. Joe set short term, mid-range and long-term goals with us. He's a terrific strategist. He may have been one of the best ever at making adjustments. Steve is a terrific talent, but he never mastered the ability to adjust. He was trying to force his system down the NFL's throat. Gibbs understood when he left Don Coryell that he wasn't going to make his mark with Don's system. So he created his own. It's human nature to do what you've done to be successful, but he didn't die by it. So he reinvented himself so we could live.

Q: Are you skeptical at all?

A: I have no skepticism that his plan won't be successful. They won't be picking his players and telling him they wnt some guy because he's been on a bubble gum card. That's over. He wouldn't allow them to make him fail. There's no way that he'll be dictated to by people who he knows more than. That would surprise me.

Q: How much do you think it bothered him to see what this franchise had become?

A: It bothered him like it bothers all of us, more so because he'd been through everything with it. It's painful to see something wasted away or something disrespected to the point it had been. When you think of how hard it was to build this, when you think of the 1970 Skins and how hard they played. To me it has been a sin to have to look at that 1999 NFC Eastern Division Champions banner in the stadium. It was as if they had never won anything but that.

Q: What does this say about Dan Snyder?

A: Give Dan credit. My only criticism of him was to get the best minds around you. I didn't want him out of that. If I spent the money he had spent, I'd want to be part of that, too. If Dan is showing that he's growing . . . it took Jerry Jones three 5-11s to give the keys to the Tuna and they got back in it. Maybe this is a step toward the return to glory.


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