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Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins.
December 27 2004
Dog bites man. The federal budget deficit soars. Dallas beats Washington.
Midway thorough the fourth quarter, it seemed as though 72-point headline news was about to me made. The Redskins were on the verge of beating the Cowboys and a bunch of bad streaks and jinxes were on the verge of vanishing. The 1-13 against Dallas, Gibbs 0-7 vs. Parcells, the Redskins not having won this year without Clinton Portis rushing for 100 yards or turning the ball over more than once or having trailed at any point during a game.
If you want to see the difference between even Joe Gibbs’ most mediocre teams in his first go-around here, you need look no further than here: Starting with 5:26 left to play, three times the Redskins had their hands on the ball with a chance to salt a four-point lead away. One time Antonio Brown fumbled a punt away. The other two times they went three and out.
Without looking it up, I’d venture to say that in the 184 regular-season games that Gibbs coached from 1981 through 1992 and in the 21 playoff games in that time span, they never had three chances to put a win away and failed to do so. I’d do the research, but I’m so sure that I’ll challenge anyone out there to prove me wrong. Certainly on some occasions they blew one offensive chance to protect a lead of more than a field goal with less than five and a half minutes to play. Maybe a handful of times they had two chances to finish off a team and couldn’t do it. But three, never.
You can only ask a defense, even a very good one, to get it done so many times.
Brian Mitchell went off on Sean Taylor and Clinton Portis on Comcast Sports Net’s post game show.
Here is his central rant transcribed:
Players. . .we look and we see things. We’d try something and the coach would say ‘don’t do that’. And then the other guys do it and you let them go and then you say they’re showing favoritism. That begins to separate a football team. . .I played the game and I know how it is.
The Blog intends to ask around to get the impressions of others close to the team on this matter.
I guarantee you there are players on this team that see those guys doing their own thing and nobody is saying anything about it. I talk to a lot of people and I know things and there are people who are sick and tired of it. But they can’t say anything because people who tell them don’t say anything.
The fact is. . .I started here as a Redskin. . .When I played here we busted our butts, we had a lot of tradition and we cared about what we did. . . I’m not going to sit here and let two people come in and think that they’re going to change the whole framework of this organization.
Coach Gibbs, when I was late for a practice in 1991, he told me ‘get you a new alarm clock, you have to do things right--you’re a man now—or you’re going to be going home.’ He had that type of firmness with me and he made me a better player. He needs to the same thing with Clinton Portis and Sean Taylor. They’re not bigger than the team.
The same thing you would preach over and over again to Art Monk and all of us, that no player on that team was bigger than any other. The same thing needs to be said to these guys, or somebody on the team like myself needs to get in their faces and tell them, you’re not bigger than the team, you’re never going to be bigger than the team.
Until you do that, you’re going to have losing seasons and losing games with guys running this team who shouldn’t be.