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Message to Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins

By Mark Solway | August 27th, 2006

Message to Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins There can be absolutely no way of sugar-coating the obvious: Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins played their worst game of the 2006 preseason against Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots yesterday, August 26. Gibbs’ team played so bad that he said at the press conference held at the end of the game: \x93Offense, defense, special teams, we are in this together. That’s the bad news. It is the good news too.\x94 This is the kind of statement that one expects to hear when he sees such trouble across the board and the collective challenge that it represents to the entire team. How could he not worry? It has been a long while since the Washington Redskins had not only been humiliated to a 41-0 score but plainly played so bad on all sides of the ball. How bad was it? The game was so bad that our offensive line, the backbone of every team coached by Joe Gibbs, gave up, not one, two or three but a total of seven sacks. Joe Bugel’s language or thoughts may not be fit to be published in a PG forum like this one. I know mine are not. Our combined running game resulted in a paltry 76 yards and the largest part of that total number, a monumental 26 yards, was added by the third string QB Jason Campbell. The defense fared not a lot better. It did not have a single sack in the entire game, not even against their third stringers. The combined running game against us accumulated a total of 171 yards, which was only surpassed by their passing game with a total of 294 yards with 10 different receivers according to my operating system’s calculator. This was not certainly the kind of performance that a defense coached by Gregg Williams had played at any game over the last two seasons. Special teams contributed to this defeat with purpose as well. There was that long 36-yard kick-off return. The punting averages of our two punters over a humongous nine tries were inferior to that of the opposing punter. How about any miscues, mental errors and penalties? Far plenty if you ask me. It had been a while that the Redskins had a field goal attempt blocked. Joe Gibbs had pointed out at penalties as a big contribution to our defeat against the Jets. Yesterday’s penalties were an even greater contributor to our humiliating defeat. You name it. The Redskins had it almost all: holding penalties, delays of game, pass interferences, to name a few. In the simple but emphatic words of Coach Gibbs; “We had three games. We didn’t play well.” Are there reasons to worry? You bet. Why? – Simply because our coach is seriously worried. Yes, Joe Gibbs -always- worries, you might add. But this time he is seriously worried. This time he faces the abyss in his third year in what is expected to be a deep run into the playoffs. This time he faces the prospect of at least a slow start to the season in the most competitive Division in the NFL. This year \x93five in a row or we don’t go\x94 just might not be enough to make up for a disastrous beginning of the season. Playoff spots might be very well decided not only by a single victory difference in the standings or face-to-face records but even by point score differentials against our East Conference rivals. Joe Gibbs is worried and we should worry because he knows that this game is as mental as it is physical and the Washington Redskins simply are not playing the game according to his and our expectations up to now. Sure, there is a new offense and several new players have been asked to perform under it. Al Saunders has introduced a new game book and we may not be showing even a small part of it in preseason. But still, execution has been awful. This is certainly not the powerful \x93Air Coryell\x94 or Kansas City offense we expected to watch. I did not see anybody that looked anything close to Dan Fouts, Trent Green or Tony Gonzalez yesterday, even in preseason. Oh! And that defense and those special teams will get fully deserved earfuls from Gregg Williams and Danny Smith, respectively. They really should. Wait a minute! So, what now? Well, first things first: take responsibility. Yes, as usual, Joe Gibbs took ownership and full responsibility for the current state of affairs: \x93I am a big part of that. Any time we don’t play well I have to be the lead guy.\x94 Gregg Williams, Al Sunders and Danny Smith are next in line followed by all of our position coaches and players. But he also passed on to all of us coaches, players and fans a very meaningful message that makes in my mind the most important difference between him and other coaches in the NFL: “The way you get out of that is all of us together. We have a hard-working group. We’re being tested and when you go through a test, you find out what you’re made of. The biggest thing for us is getting out of this.” He expects no less specifically from the fans. He said so in his post-game statement. When Mr. Gibbs comes to Washington we ALL are together in this. Front office, coaches, support staff, players and FANS are together in all victories and all defeats, no matter how one-sided they might be. If you hear anybody say \x93-they- lost\x94, “-they- are awful\x94, and on and on and on, really what they mean is that -they- are not Washington Redskins fans. We win and lose with OUR coaches, with OUR players, with OUR entire team. We look great or awful together with OUR team. OUR coach Joe Gibbs calls us the best fans in the NFL and -if that is true-, we also have to take responsibility to show, as he puts it, what we are made of. He expects nothing less than that from coaches, players and us fans. Message to Coach Gibbs You can count on us the life-long fans of the Washington Redskins to overcome all adversity and support our team regardless of the outcome of any game, and even regardless of the outcome of the entire season. We are Washington Redskins fans for life in victory or defeat. Please remind the coaches and players that we, YOUR fans, are TOGETHER with you on and off the field. Defeats have lessons to teach to everybody in one way or another. In our case as fans, it helps to differentiate who truly bleeds burgundy and gold and who dresses up as clowns for carnival in whatever colours are fashionable at the time. As Coach Joe Gibbs put it last night: \x93If we are going to be in a tough time, I like being in a tough time with this bunch of guys\x94 Hail to the Redskins! Redskin in Canada (Now in NY and…

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