Family first (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday January 8, 2008 11:15AM; Updated: Tuesday January 8, 2008 12:38PM
Gibbs was 140-65 in his first run as Redskin coach, when the franchise won three Super Bowls. His 31-36 record in his second tenure, over four seasons, ended with a 1-2 playoff record. It's sad that his second time around wasn't as great as the first, and I thought he'd do better.
What he has done, I believe, is make Snyder focus more on the long-term solution and less on the quick free-agency, big-money fix. And if you're a Redskins fan, I think that's an important thing to realize when you ask yourself whether the second coming of Gibbs was worth it. I think it was, even if the record suggests otherwise.
Re: candidates to succeed Gibbs, I expect Snyder to seriously consider assistant head coach Gregg Williams. But it's also likely Snyder will inquire about Bill Cowher, who spent the year in the CBS studio and has told friends he definitely will do the same in 2008 while his youngest daughter completes high school in North Carolina. It'll be interesting to see if Snyder will try to use his millions to change Cowher's mind.
BOBBY LIKES GARRARD. From Bobby B of Santa Fe, N.M.: "Thanks for the piece on the Jags and David Garrard. They are a team that you might not be a fan of but you can't help but root for. Garrard is like that. When I see him in interviews he seems like such a quiet unassuming guy. His demeanor is nothing like what you generally expect from an NFL quarterback. His anecdote about the quarterback draw call was interesting to me: with the success of Peyton Manning and to a (not much) lesser degree, Tom Brady, do you think we'll go back to letting quarterbacks call their own plays?''
Garrard didn't call that play, though obviously he wanted to. I don't think we'll see quarterbacks call their own plays in the foreseeable future, because coaches in the press box and on the sidelines see more, collectively, than the quarterback can see, particularly with Polaroids before every snap showing formations and defensive trends.
BRUNO DOESN'T LIKE TOMLIN. From Bruno of Long Branch, N.J.: "The third-and-6 QB run by Pittsburgh in the fourth quarter was the most gutless call in recent playoff memory. Mike Tomlin showed no faith in Ben Roethlisberger or his offense and they deserved to lose for making such a call, not to mention that he got a do-over on the two-point conversion call and still goes for it from the 12-yard line. Why is this guy a head coach?''
He's a damn good head coach and the Steelers are fortunate to have him. Yes, going for two from the 12 was a brainlock call. And I assume Bruce Arians, the offensive coordinator, called the end sweep by Big Ben. I didn't like that call either. Two points: left tackle Trai Essex blocked air instead of a Jaguar, and his was the key block on this play. If he doesn't make the block, the play surely fails. I agree, though, that they should have thrown the ball.
I WONDER IF SEAN'S A STEELER FAN. From Sean Pritchard of Cleveland: "Hi Peter. I love your work and respect the hard work you put into your columns. However, I wanted to chime in on the "hole" Garrard had to run through on fourth-and-2. I would bet you have access to NFL films. Check the replay on Casey Hampton. No one pancakes someone who is five-foot-10 and 320 pounds. He was tackled to the ground, as was Larry Foote. Garrard only made it since the refs put their whistles in their pockets for this game. The bigger issue, is what should the NFL do to correct the atrocious calls by the referees this year?''
Officiating czar Mike Pereira has stressed to officials that they've got to visually see holding, not just what appears to be holding, in order to make the call. Did you see Hampton being held and wrestled to the ground? Or did you see Hampton falling to the ground and you assumed it was a hold? I have watched the replay several times, not from coach's tape but from TV replays, and I don't see a hold. I'm not saying there wasn't a hold, but I didn't see it.
ANYONE OUT THERE HAVE A NON-STEELER QUESTION? From Rob Parker, of Saddle Brook, N.J.: "I consistently hear people say how much better Ben Roethlisberger is this year, but I never hear anyone mention his new quarterback coach, Ken Anderson. Being a lifelong Bengals fan (suffering), it kills me to see Anderson on the Steeler sideline, but I would think he had a lot to do with it.''
Anderson's a good man and a good technical coach. Good observation, Rob.
WHY DO COACHES INTERVIEW FOR HEAD COACHING JOBS? From Herbert Kay, of Manhattan Beach, Calif.: "You have never given an explanation why it is necessary to interview for a head-coaching job. It is not as if there is not a body of work out there to judge candidates by. It is a lot like combines. Why have scouting combines if you have game film? Biggest waste of time imaginable.''
Are you telling me that without talking to a coach face-to-face that you'd put the future of your organization and the hopes of your team's fans in his hands? It seems like Business 101, and Sports 101, that you'd interview a coach before handing him your football team.
GOOD POINT, JAMES. From James Sweet, of Rochester, N.Y.: "I'm not sure how much (if at all) you should beat yourself up over the relatively low rankings of Adrian Peterson, Fred Taylor, Marion Barber in your preseason top 500. Over the last few years, I feel it has become apparent that it's all about the O-line. Not to take away from these guys at all, but I'm not convinced there aren't half a dozen guys in just about every draft class who could achieve the same thing given the right linemen blocking for them under the right scheme.''
Couldn't have said it better. But Peterson, in particular, is the kind of difference-maker I wish I'd recognized in August.
DONNIE BRASCO GETS SOME WELL-DESERVED PUB. From Gilbert Medrano, of Houston: "Don Banks mentioned a 12-team playoff format for the postseason that ignores a team's conference. It seems like an interesting idea to me, which could make for better matchups in the Super Bowl. What are your thoughts and would it ever be possible?''
I love the idea. Don's right. We barely recognize the difference between conferences this year, and imagine the fun if a playoff matchup in the wild-card round wasn't a rerun of Washington-Seattle from two years ago but rather Washington-San Diego or Jacksonville-Tampa Bay? I think it's something the league should consider, but it won't because too many veterans inside the league want to keep the AFC-NFC "history'' alive.
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