Gibbs Wants to Work His Way Out of a Job

If anyone doubted that Joe Gibbs would do whatever he thought it would take to make the Redskins better he proved it this offseason by replacing himself as offensive coordinator. Does it feel strange not to be calling the plays for the first time in his head coaching career? We found out after minicamp practice on Friday.

  • Joe Gibbs Audio 06.16.06 Part One
  • Joe Gibbs Audio 06.16.06 Part Two

Joe Gibbs doesn't mind not calling the shots.

After Friday's minicamp session, the Redskins head coach was asked about having given up control of the offense to Al Saunders.

‘My goal is to gradually work myself out of a job," Gibbs said. "I'll get the best assistant coaches that I can, get the best players I can and then go on automatic pilot."

"I'll have someone wake me up every now and then when they want to know if we want to go for a field goal," he added with his trademark, high-pitched laugh.

After the 2005 season, Joe Gibbs looked in the mirror and saw two things that he didn't like. One was a play caller who, while he had his moments, was not quite as effective as he needed to be to win a championship in today's NFL. The other was a team president that didn't have nearly enough hours in the day to deal with the responsibilities that came with that job.

He handled both problems in one fell swoop by bringing Saunders in to take control of the offense. Giving over the keys to the offense was something that Gibbs had never done, but he thought he had to in order to make the team more successful.

"You're looking to be progressive in solving problems and in helping yourself and help the team get better and better," he said. "Up here (in the NFL), that's what happens; either you get better and better or you start digressing."

It is a bit strange to be on the outside looking in when it comes to offensive game planning, Gibbs admitted. "I think it's different. I think you could say that (it's strange). My role is different, but the way I look at it is that every year you're striving to come up with another way that you can help the team. This year I felt like it was something that we could add to the football team there in bringing in Al and Bob (Saunders, Al's son who is an offensive assistant)."

So what does he do now that he's not spending any time in the famed "Submarine", the conference room where he and his assistants would go until nearly dawn designing the offense? Plenty, according to Gibbs. "If you walk in there (to his office), or you try to go on vacation, there won't be a day that I don't get an emergency phone call. I don't care if it's a player, and you've got about 90 of them, a coach, and we have about 20 of those, and you have everything else that can happen with a football team."

He hasn't given up control of some things, however. Earlier this week, Al Saunders said to a reporter that the late-night swapping of old stories wasn't his style and that it wouldn't be going on during game-planning sessions. No so, said Gibbs with a grin. "Stories are still in. That's him (Saunders). I'm the head coach, I get to tell stories. You can ask him about that, I think he'll ‘fess up."


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