Kurt Gouveia is undoubtedly one of the best middle linebackers in Redskin history. His most memorable play came in Super Bowl XXVI, when he intercepted Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, killing any momentum the Bills brought out of the locker room.
It was plays like that in pass defense that set Gouveia apart from his peers. He effectively revolutionized the position by incorporating his experience as a cornerback into his style of play. “Look at the linebackers today. They are my size when I started playing, and they can run and now they move so much faster”, Gouveia told THN, adding: “I really respected and looked up to Neal Olkewicz. Now he was a run stopper – a very good one. He would take on centers, the fullback and he was a true run-stopper, but not quite as good in his coverage. I think I was way ahead of my time, because I could do both. Now you look at the NFL and there are linebackers who can run-stop and cover the pass.”
Having left the playing field, Gouveia is looking to give back to the game from the sidelines. “What I’d like really to do is to come back to Washington, because I did my internship there last fall, and I’d like to come back and work again this fall.”
Coach Gouveia sees a lot of potential to learn from a great coaching staff in Washington. It doesn’t hurt that it’s the team and coach he shared his finest moments in professional football with.
Gouveia likes what he sees on the defensive side of the ball since Coach Williams joined the Redskins. “Gregg Williams does a great job. From watching the whole season and how the defense had played, they played very well and very aggressive, and hard. It’ll take another year for them to click everything together I think. They are on the right path.”
He also disagrees with the pundits who have taken issue with the drastic change in off-season philosophy, brought on by Coach Gibbs’ return. “I agree with every move he makes. He’s very traditional and he knows what he wants and what kind of personality he wants the team to have, and he’s going to work anyway he can to accomplish that. I’ve got the utmost of faith in him to do that and to bring back that tradition that we had back then.”
Currently, Coach Gouveia is crafting his trade in Berlin, helping D’Marco Farr coach the linebacking corps on the second ranked defense in NFL – Europe. The Thunder’s middle linebacker Rich Scanlon leads the league in tackles (66) – the second-leading tackler is Rhein Fire’s Tony Gilbert with 50.
It is surely no coincidence that Gouveia is his coach. “With players like [Rich Scanlon] it’s easy to coach them: such good athletes and good players that know football. It makes the coaching job easier.”
With three games remaining in the season, the Thunder finds them selves tied atop the standings with Cologne, and the two teams face-off in the final week of the season. Many think that game will be a preview of the World Bowl, but Coach Gouveia isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Right now we are talking about the three-game playoff”, Gouveia said. “We have three games left of our season and three playoff games. We don’t even want to try to look forward to the World Bowl. We have to try to take care of what we need to take care of first, and then the World Bowl will take care of itself. We need to really take one week at a time, one game at a time and hopefully we will be able to peak at the right time and hit on all cylinders when we get to the nitty-gritty.”
If the Thunder does get to the World Bowl, Gouveia’s experience is certainly is atleast partially responsible. Gouveia has had remarkable success on every level. He led Waianae High School to three consecutive state championships as the team’s starting quarterback and cornerback. After high school, Gouveia played his college ball at BYU, winning a national championship in 1984. Then of course, came his run with the Washington Redskins, winning Super Bowls XXII and XXVI.
“I think that’s what they expect from a guy like me that’s been there and done it”, Gouveia stated. “This is what we get paid for, to get to the main level that is that bowl game, and the only way to do it is by hard work, discipline and error free football; no mistakes at the end, doing everything right.”
Doing things the right way is not always easy. Gouveia and the rest of the coaching staff are doing what they can to ensure that their players do not get too caught up in hoopla and lose focus on the games remaining. “This week we were very edgy about assignments and techniques. Within the locker room, if we let go a lot of errors … as the weeks go on and we are fighting for that World Bowl spot, it will only get worse I think.” Gouveia added, laughing: “Those players already hate me; they are going to hate me more.”
Winning a World Bowl title will certainly change that feeling.
Scott Hurrey is a Senior Writer for www.theHogs.net. Scott can be contacted via email at JansenFan@theHogs.net
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey