…and I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing.
One part of me thinks it is for the best…he has family health issues, he is 67, the last month or so has been stressful but the way he carried the Redskins through the Sean Taylor tragedy to the playoffs resuscitated his rep as a leader. There have been issues with certain mechanical issues of coaching (clock management, the Buffalo 2-time out thing, etc.). Gibbs has never been a personnel maven, and his greatest successes happened with someone else picking players (see Archuletta and Lloyd). Maybe it is just a good time to leave.
On the other hand he has yet again established that he is the guy that these players will go to the wall for. He can get that extra effort from them. The team is loaded with “Joe Gibbs” guys…all of whom are ready and raring to go for 2008. Plus it is my understanding that the Redskins salary cap situation for 2008 is not pretty…so who will want to coach a team with (a) a bad salary cap situation and (b) an owner who wants to win, but is renowned for a lack of patience and making knee-jerk decisions?
Personally, I rather he finish out his contract. By the same token, I reckon if Joe Gibbs wants to go he has earned the right…plus, if he is burned out or exhausted it does no one any good for him to stay.
The good news is that in retiring he has done it early. When Gibbs I retired it was in March, teams were already ramping up for the next season, and Jack Kent Cooke was virtually forced to go with Richie Pettibon…and we know how that ended.
Now there is time to be in the mix, although my best guess is that Snyder will tab Gregg Williams to be the head coach. He is in house, he was Sean Taylor’s mentor on the team and can carry on the bond and emotion that has developed in the wake of that tragedy. Beyond going to a former ‘skin like Russ Grimm, I don’t know that you will do well going outside the team for a coach and risk upsetting the team chemistry that seemingly developed in the last portion of the year.
That is part of the challenge for Dan Snyder. This team seemed to develop an identity in the last month. If it is a real chemistry and team spirit, do you risk it and go outside for a coach, or do you stay inside the family with either Williams or Al Saunders and keep the chemistry?
But before we over analyze…take a moment and think kind thoughts for Tom Boswell, who this morning published a column that stated that certainly Gibbs would be back and wanted an extension, that he hesitated only because of the vagaries and dance steps that are part of contract negotiation.
Vaya con Dios, Joe Gibbs…thank for what you are and what you have accomplished! You will be missed.
It has been pointed out in several mediums that the presence of the “Rooney Rule” requiring the interviewing of miniority candidates for head coaching positions means the Redskins can only announce Williams this PM at the risk of league action, fines, etc. Also, Brother Boswell has withdrawn his earlier certitude about Gibbs and 2008 with this piece.