Q&A With: Joe Gibbs

On the eve of his first training camp since 1992, the new, and former, Redskins coach met with the media. Joe Gibbs said he wishes he had another three months to get ready; we're guessing he's right where he needs to be. And before taking questions Gibbs said, referring to the Super Bowl trophies in front of him, ''That's in the past. That was a long time ago. It's a great franchise and it's neat to be part of a franchise that has a history like this . . .

but I believe our players want to build something that's great in modern times. That's what we want to do as a coaching staff.''

Q: Do you feel like you're a first-year staff?

A: We are a first-year staff. We've been long enough away that there is no player here I've coached before. One of the hardest things of coaching is to get a real perception right away of the talent of your players, where you can fit in roles and where you feel they would excel. This definitely feels like a first-year situation. I remember my first year and hopefully we don't go through that again.''

Q: Do you have an update on Sean Taylor and Walt Harris?

A: Sean is day to day. Walt will not practice. But we're encouraged there.

Q: Do you have a timetable for Walt?

A: No, not really. It just depends. On any player like that our emphasis is that we want them totally healthy. They'll normally tell you, particularly guys who have been around as long as he has. I talked to him this morning and said, 'It's up to you.' We'll get them all the work we can and see how he progresses. We're excited about that because he's progressed better than we thought.''

Q: Will there be any limitation on Laveraneus?

A: We'll monitor him from practice to practice and we'll see how toe goes. It constantly seems to get irritated. We tried to give him a big break and we added padding for his shoe. We're hoping that he takes right off. But we'll monitor that like we would with other guys who have had injuries.

Q: How concerned are you that this hasn't healed yet and that it might be a lingering problem?

A: Let me say this, those last three days out there he looked pretty good to me. We have to keep him in that frame of mind and hopefully we'll overcome the past on this thing.

Q: Describe your emotions as camp begins.

A: If anyone has tried to go back to where you have a lot of pride at stake, you could imagine the emotions I have. You're nervous about it. You want to do well. I never understood that when I got the job the first time. I thought when I got the job the first time that my life would be fulfilled. If I got fired then, hey at least I got it. I got my opportunity. It wasn't like that at all. When I got that job it was like this time. Dan's picking you. You have Vinny and all the front office people counting on you, all the fans are counting on you. Certainly the coaches we recruited to move here, their lives and careers are at stake on making the Redskins o. It's not just yourself. I worry about letting everyone down. I want to do well and I know all the coaches feel the same way. You're taking on a responsibility of winning games, which is why football is so hard. When you lose games . . . you let everyone down. The whole town was counting on something happening and one of the things you worry about is that everyone's perceptions of what's going to happen. Everyone gets high expectations and you realize that those high expectations gets everyone excited, but they're pretty hard to live up to. Just go back and look at last year. They were a talented team and had a talented coaching staff. These are all the emotions that I feel.

Q: How will you handle the quarterback competition?

A: We have a plan and we know what we're going to do and how we'll handle everything and then we'll make an evaluation. It could come down to a tossup. But it's not only at quarterback. We have a number of positions like that. Hopefully more of those real battles you have, the better our team will be. Most people appreciate having to win a job. We don't care where you were drafted or how much you make. It would be stupid to play someone because of where you were drafted. This league is littered with people that didn't make it and were drafted high. As for the quarterback controversy, the alternative is to have one quarterback and that's worse. Most teams in the league will have two legit guys. The competition should make them both better. These two guys I think both are physically right where we want them. Both are in terrific shape. To be truthful, I would say the competition has helped both of them. If you look around and say, 'This sucker could take my job.' That's strong motivation. I'd be disappointed if both aren't real sharp.

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