Q&A With: Joe Gibbs

The Redskins coach took a few minutes out of his day for a little chat.

Q: How has it gone so far?

A: I think we did a good job of getting caught up on the rules. They're complicated and it's been a hurdle, but we're working hard on it. That's all our focus to this point is trying to get a staff lined up. We have others flying and talking. It's still a work in progress.

Q: What are your thoughts on Ernie Zampese joining the staff?

A: Ernie and I go all the way back to the Charger days with Don Coryell. I have tremendous respect for him. He's very creative. He sees things from a defensive side because he was over there, then he switched to offense. I remember telling Coryell at one point, `Are you crazy? You're hiring a defensive guy to hire receivers?' But he knew more than I did within four days. He was a big part of us using that one-back stuff. He's very good at evaluating talent and he's good at play selection. Ever since then I've tried to get him to come back here and I couldn't get him to come. We're excited to have him on the staff.

Q: You have a lot of experienced guys on your staff, is there a method to that?

A: Really what I found is what we consider the best people. Obviously there's a group that I've worked with and have a lot of confidence with. My first thought was to try and bring in guys that had a working knowledge of working with. On the defensive side of the ball we have Gregg and he's the key there. We tried to get him right off the bat, so he'll bring people to the table on that side. All of us are working through the process of trying to hire people we know that are battle tested and that players will respect and are Redskins kind of guys. That's our emphasis.

Q: Are you waiting for others besides those on the Bills staff?

A: Yeah, there are a number of positions there. We want to announce it all at once. We have to work on several other areas, too.

Q: How do you feel about the excitement around town?

A: I've told everyone I'm embarrassed by some of the attention I got. But it's not as much me. It's just that football is important here and people care about it. We have a tremendous fan base and that's what's fun about it. It's neat be in a place where football is so important and talked about. As we recruit some coaches -- some of them haven't been here -- I said, `You're not going to believe this.' I told them it's good and bad. They'll let you know if they don't like it. But the fan base has been here forever. They're battle tested and I'm excited to be back because football is important. There are a lot of other things in this city that's unbelievable, but football is important.

Q: Do you realize how many smiles you've put on faces out here?

A: That's going to last until we lose that first game. That's what's driving me now...Those things are fine, but at the same time I do think that's what drives you. You say to yourself, Everyone's all excited. But the fan base also understands. They're going to know what to expect.

Q: What did you see with Gregg that swayed you?

A: As much as anything it's going back on his history, all the way back to the Oilers and Titans. You talk to people. It was more of stuff like that, the people that you know and the reputation that they have.

Q: You had a great home field advantage at RFK. How much do you hope to have the same thing at FedEx?

A: That's what I'm counting on. I like the fact that we're outside and that bad weather comes in November and December. Our teams will always practice outside. In the 12 years that I was here we practiced inside twice and on one of those days I tried to go outside. That was the only time I saw Riggins out there early. He was looking at me and told me, `We can't go out.' After six or seven minutes the wind was pounding us and the rain and I said, `John, we need to take it in.' He said, `I'm with you.' But you can count on us starting outside and ending outside.

Q: Where are you on this learning curve?

A: I would say on the coaches I'm caught up because you get a reality sandwich when you try talking to people. That's the first thing I was trying to do. I'm anxious now. I want to dive into some film tomorrow. We'll start evaluating our players here.


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