Spotlight on Gibbs: Defense

Joe Gibbs used to leave everything on defense up to Richie Petitbon, questioning him only one time in their 12 years together. Gibbs likely will leave Gregg Williams alone, too. That doesn't mean Gibbs won't be involved defensively.

Gibbs will watch film of the defense and spend time with his defensive coaches on Tuesdays, when they're preparing their game plan.

``It's important for the players to know that I'll be with the defensive coaches on Tuesday,'' Gibbs said. ``It's something that's very important and I'll stay hooked into it. I'll trust Gregg and his guys to run the show over there, but I'll be giving my input.''

Which is why he wants to be as familiar with his players on defense as he is with those on offense. And that starts now: Gibbs and his staff huddled all day today watching film, both of offense and defense. The entire staff watched both sides of the ball, too. That meant Williams had to watch the offensive players.

``What we like to do, even though I spend quite a bit of time on the offense, I've said defense leads you to Super Bowls,'' Gibbs said. ``It's super critical for us, we need to have great people over there and we need to have great players over there. We start off with everybody, Gregg was in there looking at the offense with us. When we start off on defense, we'll all look at the defensive personnel. It's good for all the coaches to get a familiarity with all the players.''

That'll be quite a change from ex-coach Steve Spurrier, who tried to spend more time with special teams and defense, but still struggled at times with knowing the names of players who weren't on offense.

Gibbs won't be that way.

``I'll tell the guys don't get nervous about me not understanding your name and knowing everything about you,'' Gibbs said. ``Before this is over with I'll be able to spot you by the way you get in your stance and the way you walk. You really get to know a guy inside-out over a period of time. You watch them on film and you see them in the fourth quarter when we're behind and we can't win and you say, `Is he playing hard then?' Those are the guys who prove themselves and wins his way into your heart.''

For the past 10 days, since being hired as coach, Gibbs, who met with the media this afternoon, has tried to fill out his coaching staff. He's missed on some -- Jerry Gray will stay in Buffalo -- which is why the search continues. He hasn't named an offensive coordinator yet, but says he has a plan in place but will announce it when the staff is complete. Gibbs expects, or, rather hopes, that will happen by the end of next week.

As of now, Gibbs does not plan on going to the Senior Bowl, but the other coaches already hired will attend. But Gibbs said he might go if he can break from some other engagements -- and if he can finalize his staff.

And, as everyone might have noticed, Gibbs has placed a premium on hiring guys he knows.

``I like people,'' he said. ``I guess that's the reason why this is so critical for me. I will be spending more time with them than with Pat for six months. You learn every bad habit they've got. Don Breaux right now sits in the back of the room because he eats ice. Stay away from me, I don't want to hear that all night long.

``I know every single thing about these guys. That's the bad part of it. The good part is I also know they're great coaches. You're living together 18 hours a day. And you'll also go through real good times and real bad times. You're severly tested. That's why lots of times I lean on hiring people that I've seen go through that and I know what their reaction will be and I know they're tough guys.''

One player he hopes to get to know well is corner Champ Bailey, an impending free agent. But Gibbs doesn't think Bailey is going anywhere, making it sound as if he'd either be re-signed or franchised. Sources close to Bailey say he would not sign the Redskins' offer made early this past season.

``I don't think that's going to happen,'' Gibbs said of Bailey possibly going free. ``I can say that's probably one we won't have to worry about. That would be a safe assumption.''


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories