Friday, October 23, 2009

Return of Joe Gibbs: DO NOT WANT

We really need you to be... there, for us.

Boy Redskinsland is really becoming more like Hollywood by the day if the measured lifecycle of a rumor is any indication.

Bit less than a week ago Rich Tandler opined that wearing black at games and boycotting merchandise were perhaps not as effective measures of protest than appealing to higher football power, possibly to include Joe Gibbs, the thought being that owner Dan Snyder has such deep respect for coach Gibbs that if Joe were to come to Dan for a sit down and tell him what he needed to do that Dan would become the obedient son and do it.

I disagreed with this notion on the grounds that Joe Gibbs was a million miles awat from the Redskins in his mind at this point in his life and besides, forcing Dan Snyder to hear boos every time he goes out for the figurative morning paper is a more populist solution than hoping for a proxy to bail us out.

But I have a deeper disagreement with the notion of Joe Gibbs returning, more on that in a moment, first the lifecycle of a Joe Gibbs rumor:

Yesterday morning published rumors started circulating that Joe Gibbs could come back to the Redskins as some sort of team president, either in an uber general managerish role or as a sort of head of search committee for a new general manager and or head coach. It was an intense day of rumor mongering with the Washington Post even getting hold of former Redskins glory days general manager Bobby Beathard who thinks coach Gibbs has the management skills to take on a senior operations role in Washington similar to that of Bill Parcells in Miami, Bill is over both Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Tony Soprano Sparano.

Barely two hours later Jason Reid at the Washington Post found a source close to coach Gibbs who doubted he would return to the team and I think that characterization is generous at best.

Within just another couple of hours everyone was repeating the WaPo story of doubt, Pro Football Talk, USA Today, the Washington Times and Washington Examiner, Mark Newgent's piece for the Examiner even quotes official Redskins media writer Larry Weisman as saying it is a no go.

Ok so that rumor was in and out in about two hours and has now enjoyed another 24 hours of stretch as dirty bloggers like myself and respectable journalists like John Keim find ways to keep it alive. The short life and intensity of this rumor is a sure sign of how bad things are in Washington and how hope is still barely alive, like Ted Williams in cryostorage.

Then why is Joe Gibbs running the team a bad idea? Three reasons:

1. The Bill Parcells model is too many cooks. Things are destined to go south in Miami, having a coach report to a general manager who in turn reports to Bill Parcells? The minute these guys stray from the Bill Parcells Way it will start to get uncomfortable in the halls, a guy like Bill is too rigid to let Tony Soprano Sparano and Jeff Ireland find their voices and paths to success, it will be Bill's way or the highway. It may never get to that point though as Bill usually walks away from a challenge these days.

Joe Gibbs may have the opposite tendency these days but it would create the same problem, coach Gibbs put together a coaching staff in his second tenure that was too large with too many voices and he assumed they would come together as professionals and respect the chain of command. That never really happened, even adults need marching orders and rules of engagement and Joe is not authoritarian enough any more to make that happen. He would be unable to moderate internal struggles and would ultimately come off weak, leading the owner right back into his usual decision making role.

2. We already did the team president thing with Joe Gibbs. Coach Gibbs was also team president in his second run with the team and was supposably in charge of all football operations. The fact that he was not was laughably obvious and I still persist that Joe Gibbs was paid five million dollars a year to take the fall for Dan Snyder's poor management, something Joe Gibbs did well, assuming responsibility time after time for poor quality of play, poor game management and lack of talent.

The dynamic between Joe Gibbs and Dan Snyder is already established and we would get nothing new; Dan is the owner who signs the checks and makes the decisions behind the scenes and Joe Gibbs is the guy that provides air cover for that owner. It was no doubt always unspoken in personnel meetings that no matter what Joe Gibbs had to say, at the end of the meeting everyone was coming to the owner's consensus because he was in charge no matter what the job description on the nameplate read. I will even bet Dan Snyder had some good despicable Napoleonic laughs to himself with his inner circle about how awesome it was that Joe Gibbs was working for the Redskins so Dan could finally fire Joe Gibbs if he really wanted.

3. As Ryan O'Halloran at the Washington Times wrote yesterday, personnel was never Joe Gibbs' strong suit (op. cit.). I hate to keep harping on it but Desmond Howard? Bobby Beathard had left Washington and the roster was starting to reflect Charley Casserly's infuence and Charley was more or less a pushover to Joe Gibbs who really wanted Desmond. The Redskins receivers were getting up there though age and injury was a much larger problem in other areas of the team and coach Gibbs influenced Charley to select Desmond over say, offensive tackles Bob Whitfield and Leon Searcy to rejuvenate what was an aging pair of tackles in Jim Lachey and Joe Jacoby at that point having eighteen years in the league between them. We all know how Desmond worked out, you can forgive the failure of Desmond, what is harder to forgive is that the team wasted a pick on a position it did not really need upgraded. Sound familiar?

Moving to Joe Gibbs' second tenure, he was nominally in charge of player selection though if you read the Washington Post's Lost Season series on the 5-11 2006 season then you see that hypothesis shot full of holes, Adam Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, Christian Fauria, gack! And while the players the team drafted were generally good enough to keep, the offensive line was ignored in the upper rounds and the big coup was using a top ten pick to select a hard hitting rangey safety... when the team already had a hard hitting rangey safety selected with a top ten pick from just three years earlier.

And for the huddled masses waiting for Bobby Beathard to come back and save the day, forget about it, dude is 72 years old, even if the plan was just to bring him back for executive search I do not believe Bobby would want his name associated with what the Redskins have become.

Dan Snyder is on his own, there is no calvary coming.

Joe Gibbs: Getty Images from here.