Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Get Used to It

Funny they picked a photo of Joe Gibbs standing alone to run with the article about his top two coaches staying by his side

We now know one of four things for next season. Al Saunders and Gregg Williams are returning. Joe is certainly loyal, to a fault at times, and he thinks this was all an aberration. Here is the evidence that tends to indicate this is a defensible position:

Al Saunders
Was in charge of the Rams offense in 1999 under Dick Vermiel, the birth of the Greatest Show on Turf. That team led the league in total yards (the Redskins were #2), points (the Redskins were #2, but distantly, by 83 points) touchdowns (the Redskins were #2), passing yards, passing TDs, had the 9th fewest INTs, had the 7th most rush yards and the 12th most rush TDs (14; the Redskins were #1 with 23).

Later, Saunders went on to run the Chiefs offense from 2001 to 2005, also under Vermiel. Some free samples:
2001: 4th fewest penalties, 5th pass yards, 6th rush yards, 4th rush average, 5th rush TDs
2002: 4th offense yards/game, 1st yards/play, fewest penalties, 4th passing TDs, 3rd rush yards, 2nd rush average, 2nd rush TDs, 4th in run plays over 20 yards
2003: 2nd offense yards/game, 2nd yards/play, 2nd fewest penalties, 4th completion percentage, 2nd passing yards, 5th fewest INTs, 4th fewest sacks, 1st rush TDs
2004: 1st total offensive plays, 1st yards/game, 3rd yards/play, 3rd average time of possession, 5th rush yards, 3rd rush average, 1st rush TDs
2005: 3rd total offensive plays, 1st offensive yards/game, 1st yards/play, 3rd average time of possession, 6th passing yards, 3rd fewest INTs, 6th rush attempts, 4th rush yards, 5th rush average, 2nd rush TDs, 1st rush plays over 20 yards

The guy has chops. Let's hope they can get it together and the gadgety, dink-dank-dunk and too-clever-by-half feel of the offense this season is put to rest next season because this is the guy that will be running the offense.

Gregg Williams (Tom Friend used to be up on the Redskins)
Learned at the feet of Buddy Ryan but has never offered bounties that I know of:
1994: the Oilers defense, for which he was linebackers coach through 1996, allows the fewest pass completions and pass yards
1995: 5th fewest total yards, 3rd fewest pass yards
1996: 2nd fewest rush yards, 3rd fewest rush TDs
In 1997, Williams is promoted to defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Oilers: 3rd fewest rush yards
1998: 7th fewest TDs allowed
1999: 10th fewest rush yards and rush TDs
2000: 2nd in points allowed, fewest yards allowed, fewest pass completions allowed, fewest pass yards allowed, fewest pass TDs allowed, 3rd fewest rush yards allowed, 3rd fewest rush TDs allowed
In 2001, Williams is hired as head coach of the Bills: 3rd most INTs
2002: 2nd fewest pass completions
2003: 2nd fewest yards/game, 3rd fewest yards/play, 2nd fewest passing yards, 5th lowest rush average,
In 2004, Williams is hired as Redskins defensive Earl of Raljon: 3rd fewest yards/game, 2nd fewest yards/play, 4th fewest penalties, 2nd fewest rush yards, lowest rush average, 3rd fewest rush TDs
2005: lowest pass completion percentage, 4th fewest TDs, 2nd fewest first downs

The guy is clearly more comfortable as a coordinator than a coach, and no one will be snapping him up this offseason. His numbers vary through strong against the run to strong against the pass, leading one to believe he has the chops. Let's hope all this stuff about benching multi-million dollar free agents and playing generally lousy pass coverage is out of his system and he goes back to worrying about playing tough defense, fires any assistants that are in the way and goes back to basics.

This is not the sudden appearance of the Curly R Appreciation Society for Al Saunders and Gregg Williams. They have let us down this year, and in spectacular and dramatic fashion. Almost as if I thought I was going to the wrap party for the Victoria's Secret fashion show and woke up naked, beaten and disoriented on the side of the road in southern Maryland.

No, this is just pointing out, since we know they will be back, that these guys have the ability. This isn't Ron Lynn or Dave Shula or Rick Venturi or Ray Handley.

Here are the other three things we do not know yet: which under-contract players and free agents the team will retain, which players the team will sign or acquire and which players the team will draft.

We should have a good idea of the first by the end of January, the second by March and the third by April.


Curly R sends best wishes to Shawn Springs' father Ron, who can still count on his teammates after 20 years.

Joe Gibbs: John McDonnell / Washington Post