Gibbs Talks About Mini-Camp

The Redskins coach wrapped up his first minicamp since 1992.

Opening statement: All of our coaches were real pleased with the attitude everyone had. I thought we had a great attitude, that really stood out to us. We had a lot of good work and we set our calendar for the next 12 weeks. We laid out our next 12 weeks of work and before you know it it'll be too late. Can we push the season back. We only need six more months. As long as we never play a game I'll be in good shape.

Q: How much better feel do you have for the players now?

A: What you get real quick is how quick someone is mentally, can he pick up all the things we ask him to do. That comes first. The second thing is to see everyone physically lined up. We have a number of guys injured, that's a real concern for us. We laid out the offseason for those guys. They need to be here every day and in treatment. You get a real good feel for that. And you get a feel for the positions. We made some personnel decisions based on what we saw out here. Getting the coaches individually with the players in meetings is a good deal. You start sharing things, asking questions and you start getting a feel for the guys. Overall the attitude was very good. Now we start into the long process now.

Q: When making out the schedule, how do you balance the need to get guys involved vs. burning them out too early?

A: I think that is a big deal. What I've tried to sell them on is that we work real hard when we're on the field, we're real physical. But if we have a good tempo -- today we left eight minutes early and they love that. I've tried to sell them on the fact that it's a number of plays and then we're off. I think also in the offseason I plan on giving them a big break before we go back to camp so there's a long period where they're away from everybody. I also tried to structure it so the work is in the middle of the week so they can have long weekends. You're always trying to balance the work with keeping them excited about coming back to camp.

Q: Were the scuffles today a good thing or a bad thing?

A: That's normal football. I'd be surprised if there weren't.

Q: How did it go as far as your desire to build relationships and chemistry?

A: I think that's something that takes a long time, but it started this weekend. I noticed a lot of guys hadn't been here -- we have a lot of free agents. But they start developing friendships and that's important. They feel more comfortable. All that's important. They spend three or four days together and start getting to know each other. But it's hard when you have this many new guys and all new coaches. That's a little strain. I thought that's why it was important to have a minicamp early. You get to know each other on a personal basis. After you spend three days together you're starting to get to know each other.

Q: Does this weekend help with your draft plans?

A: With the fifth pick I think that is important. You get a feel. We'll sit down and have a wrapup on the weekend. You can't make a lot of decisions based on this -- we don't have pads on yet. But the individual coaches start to give you a feel. This weekend was important from that standpoint. It does affect the way you think going into the draft. For me I probably had one idea coming in and I may have changed a little bit.

Q: How much do certain guys catch your eye?

A: These coaches have been around a long time. You got someone like Don Breaux. He's sitting there last night and mentioned a couple of names. When you've been around a while and you start to see someone do things you say, `This guy's showing some stuff.'

Q: Will the team be healthier for the next minicamp?

A: We held the minicamp earlier knowing a lot of guys would miss. We signed an unusual number of free agents who had injuries. We didn't take someone who wasn't going to be healthy. I think we should, by the second minicamp, be a lot healthier. Hopefully by the third we'll be ready to go.

Q: Was it fun to just worry about football for a weekend?

A: It seems like every time we get started on football there's a personnel meeting. You got a thousand decisions being made. Hopefully it'll settle down some. The coaches like to go to work, get on the field and get out there. Coaches sit around at nights talking for three hours about players. It's kind of weird -- don't share that with anybody. But you get excited when you see someone you think can do something for you.

Q: Do you think players have changed in the 11 years you were away?

A: I don't think human nature changes. Obviously there's a lot of technical things and salary cap and rules and money. But the people portion of this, I was involved in a team before I came here, with a racing team. All the same problems you have over here you had over there. When you put teams together it seems like the same things crop up, particularly in pro sports. You put money with the sport and then you put the pressure and you have a recipe for disaster.

Q: Can you elaborate more on the intense pace.

A: You can get a lot done the way we were on the field there. We don't have the pads on and you get some bad looks. But all the alignments . . . it's a learning process. We put our quarterbacks in the worst position they could be in. You got guys flashing, coming by you. It's hard for them to step up or step around and see something. We didn't throw any seven on sevens where you step back and put air under the ball. But this is the best way to practice. Our defense does a lot and for our defense, our offense does a lot. You make practices as hard as you can and when you get to the games hopefully it's easier.

Q: Clinton said one reason he didn't work out in Denver was because they didn't pay him enough. And LaVar has this contract thing going on. There were money issues in the past, but are you concerned the money is so big that it might create a problem you haven't dealt with before?

A: We go all the way back to when I was here before. Do you pay guys to work out or do you just monitor it. We had 55 voluntary workouts when I was here before. Art Monk made 52, 53, 54. Joe Jacoby. And they weren't paid. I would say this, no matter how you cut it in pro sports the real good players aren't focused on money. More importantly for me is a guy's attitude, is he going to be here. Will he have a lot of excuses and miss a lot of stuff. And will he make a real commitment. And the biggest thing is showing up physically the way you want him. Being around here is important too. You start a real team feeling. It's very important for us. You lay it out and then you watch and you make mental notes. Who works hard, who's here. For us, we'll have a stress test at the end of the summer and put guys on a treadmill. I always struggle with how do you find out if a guy's in shape. I gave up on the two-mile run. Now we have a treadmill test. You get on there and crank that treadmill up and your pulse is going up or it's not. Gary Clark used to finish that test with his hands in the air laughing and running. I don't think his pulse rate ever got over 150. Bless his heart, poor old Ricky Sanders was about 200 and almost died. It tells you a lot. You can't con that. We'll know who's ready and who's making the commitment.


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