Q&A With: Joe Gibbs

Before the Redskins' coaches entered into their meetings this week, Joe Gibbs talked about free agency, why he likes the roster and one player who left him wanting.

Q: Agents are more powerful these days. How do you feel about their role and do you think that will hurt your ability to re-sign some of your players?
A: We control most of that. It's in our ballpark. Sometimes a player says that [contract] doesn't work for me. Last year we had two players we wanted to keep and lost them. That can happen. But that will be a real rare situation. Most guys want to be here. That's a tremendous upside for us. Most love the town, they love ownership -- they don't think we're low paying. They're excited about being here. Is it like that for everybody? No. There's probably a guy or two in there where that's not the case. We need to work through those and get that taken care of. I'm convinced we can keep that group. We're committed to doing that and we're not going to lose people. Can it happen? Yeah. If their demands are unreasonable where we couldn't make that investment in one player because it effects the rest of the group. But we're very aggressive there. It matters to us and we're already working hard on it.

Q: What's your biggest offseason need?
A: I won't get into individual sections -- everyone gets upset about it. There's a real evaluation process that we'll go through on offense. We didn't score the points we wanted.

Q: There are a lot of guys on your roster who haven't won before. How many guys do you think are talented, but, for lack of a better word, are losers?
A: Not many. I'd have a tough time finding one. I think we've done a really good job of that. If the guy's a jerk, you'd see it in things like practice. As always, when you're dealing with talent, there's the talent side and there's the person side. How much talent does he got? How far can you go with him? It's one of those things. We see coaches all the time who gamble on guys. They say, 'He's a great talent and I'm gonna try it.' Then somewhere in there you say, 'No.' I've had other guys who played for me and I've said to them, 'I've got to tell you, I hate you Monday through Saturday, but I love you on Sunday. What are we gonna do here?' It's evaluating people. Can they be a good team person? We spend a lot of meetings with certain guys. Other guys we never have to say a word to them. They're never in a meeting because they're doing what they're supposed to do. Here's what we tell the other guys in those meetings: 'If you're that kind of person, here's what you're doing to yourself: You might play six years when you could play 12; you might play three when you could play six.' You can talk to them until you're blue in the face but it doesn't matter because they're not going to change themselves. That's the general rule. A scout says you can change them. No, I can't. The player has spent 20 years getting to that point, I can't fix it in three months.

Q: How long does it take for you to know?
A: After you live with them for a full season you know. I watch them in there. I give them the lectures. I see you back there not taking notes and that makes an impression on me. I've had talks here with guys and say, 'What a shame for you and your family.' I just had one like that two weeks ago. I told the guy, 'The coaches tell me you could go to the Pro Bowl, but you're not going to go because you don't want to go to the Pro Bowl. What you're gonna do is bounce from team to team and you'll wind up a mess unless you get into gear.'

Q: Was that a last straw for that player?
A: No. It's, 'Here's what we see. Unless you fix it, I feel sorry for you and your family.' He has a little girl and he loves that girl so we tell him, 'You're either gonna play six years and she'll have to figure out where she's going to college or you play 12 years and she never has to worry about those things for the rest of your life.' Sometimes it works.

Q: It's so easy to make wholesale changes with so many players available. When you look back to last year, is there any thought that if you had gone slower and not tried to do everything the first year and learned more about the team, then this offseason you could have made more of the changes you need to make?
A: I think about this group here, that we got last year. Phillip Daniels, free agent; Cornelius Griffin, free agent; Walt Harris, free agent; Cory Raymer, free agent; Joe Salave'a, free agent; Shawn Springs, free agent; Tom Tupa, free agent; Marcus Washington, free agent; and I know you guys want me to list this one, Walter Rasby, free agent; Mike Barrow, free agent. And I think about the offseason trades. We traded for Brunell, which you guys have one opinion and I have another. Clinton Portis and James Thrash. And in the draft we drafted Chris Cooley, Jim Molinaro, Sean Taylor -- there's no telling how good he can be -- and Mark Wilson. I challenge you to go through the league to find someone else who's done that good. There won't be that many. Vinny deserves a lot of the credit, and the scouts and coaches with Dan's help. That's a pretty stout offseason. I point to that and I'm excited. Here's what it says: What we did worked. You can argue with that but not many people would. But what we did worked. I feel great about that and we'll try to do it again. When I came back to football everyone said a lot had changed and the one thing that changed was free agency. I love that. Go get 10 players? You couldn't do that when I was here before. We're gonna go down this road again and do the same thing we did there.

Q: There were some good signings, but a lot of money was spent and doesn't that restrict your ability to spend in the future?
A: Everyone keeps saying that. I think we were judicious. At times in there, I won't list the player, but we had to make a decision to spend a ton of money or get those two guys. And two of those guys we got in one deal could go to the Pro Bowl before it's all said and done. We made a decision where we didn't spend a ton of money. You guys probably know who some were. We could have gotten some of them. We had coaches on our staff that said, 'I can get this guy.' The other thing is, it's a three-year decision on what we can spend. Everyone has the opinion that because the Redskins spend a lot of money, and we do, that we could get in trouble. We feel good where we are and have a good three-year plan. We estimated where the cap was gonna be. We know what contracts we have to redo. We feel good where we are and we can add some players. I hate to think what we would have done without some of these guys.


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