Gibbs makes Redskins look good

Philip Consuegra

If I learned anything this weekend from watching football, it’s that one or two players really can make a difference in a team.

What I learned about even more, though, is how one coach can make all the difference in the world.

This weekend we were hit hard by some pretty serious stuff. Miami took another game from Bobby Bowden and Florida State in overtime. Notre Dame actually knocked off a much stronger Michigan team, and the Arizona Cardinals almost beat St. Louis in the Gateway City.

We were also hit with the expected. Oklahoma pounded whichever small school they were playing. South Carolina lost to Georgia by less than a touchdown, and the Eagles beat up on the lowly Giants at home, which everyone thinks is a huge win.

But while all of this happened, a monumental event in sports was going on in our nation’s capital.

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Washington Redskins look good. Very, very good.

And it’s not because of Clinton Portis. It’s certainly not because of a mediocre Mark Brunell. And it’s definitely not because of their wide receivers.

The Washington Redskins hired a genius, and he already looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. Simply put, the Redskins instantly got better when they hired Joe Gibbs.

For a team searching for a coach, they got exactly what they were looking for in Gibbs: a coach who doesn’t have the “fun-n-gun” mentality, a leader who manages the game better than anyone else.

Under Gibbs, the Redskins turned Washington into the hardest place to play in the NFL, posting a .773 winning percentage at home. Not to mention a .683 all-time winning percentage, which is the main reason why he’s in the Hall of Fame.

In the eleven years that he coached the Redskins from 1981 to 1992, Gibbs changed the game of football. He used his management skills to not only coach effectively but also manage a football game flawlessly.

His in-game decisions and organization of players changed the way football was coached. With one decision, with one nod of the head, Joe Gibbs could change the tone of a football game.

To quote Shakespeare’s Richard II, “Such is the breath of kings.” I love mixing Shakespeare and football.

Gibbs’ return marks the beginning of a return to discipline, a return to the management of football, not the coaching of football. For the first time since Gibbs’ departure, the Redskins have brought in a proven winner – a guy who just flat-out knows how to win. It’s in his blood. Just let those 140 career wins speak for themselves.

The arrival of Clinton Portis certainly helps his coach’s cause with his 148 rushing yards that carried the team this past Sunday.

The offense is clearly built around his talent, and will be pivotal to a solid season in Washington.

If the running game fails, quarterback protection is obviously something that isn’t hurting Washington, as they allowed no sacks on Brunell all game.

Going up against a team that averaged 2.25 sacks per game last year and has one of the best pass rushers in the game, Simeon Rice, that’s a stat Redskins fans can be proud of. They have a strong offensive line, and if there’s anything this team needed since last year, that was it.

Each year for the past five years, Daniel Snyder has done everything to get his team into contention. Who would have thought that one move would make this team that much better?

I’m not saying Gibbs is the only reason the ‘Skins will make a run at the NFC East and the playoffs, but he certainly is the biggest reason.

Joe, if you’re out there reading this somewhere, welcome back. It was great to watch it, but even better to be able to write about it.