Laveranues Coles has established himself as one of the NFL's elite receivers the last two seasons, so transitioning to a new coaching staff shouldn't be too much of a burden. Entering his second season in Washington, he will be playing for his fourth different coaching staff in five NFL seasons.
The lack of coaching continuity in his career is not something Coles can control, but he says it is making his adjustment to Joe Gibbs and the new Redskins coaching staff a bit smoother.
"We all have a fresh start here, but we know that Coach Gibbs is going to expect a lot from us," Coles said. "All of the coaches have let us know that, whichever player does it best, that's the player who's going to be doing it on game days."
Based on his performance the last two seasons, Coles should have no problem in earning playing time this year. In 2002, he finished his third season with the New York Jets by logging 89 catches for 1,264 yards. Last year, with the Redskins, he recorded 82 catches for 1,204 yards, a 14.7 yards-per-catch average and six touchdowns. His efforts earned him his first Pro Bowl appearance.
The 5-11, 193-pound former Florida State standout last year broke a NFL mark when he caught at least five passes in his 19th consecutive game. The streak began in 2002 when Coles was a Jet and ended last season on Week 4 against Tampa Bay.
Regarding the new coaching staff in Washington, Coles said he has been impressed with the attentiveness to detail.
"They're giving us a lot of repetitions so that there's not going to be a situation where they haven't prepared us for," he said. "That's what they're harping on and that's what they're all about.
"Right now I'm just trying to learn the terminology and the pass routes. Most teams have pretty much the same plays, but they call it something different. And they call different plays in different situations, so you have to be prepared for that."
Coles played through a right toe injury most of last season. Gibbs said trainers have put Coles on a different workout program that will allow him to continue his off-season conditioning while not putting too much stress on the toe.
"He's such a hard worker, he'll work himself silly, so if anything you have to be a little careful there," Gibbs said.
Last season, Coles established a solid rapport with quarterback Patrick Ramsey. In fact, 55 of his receptions last year came with Ramsey at the helm, including a career-high 11 catches for 180 yards in the Week 2 win at Atlanta.
This season, Coles also must establish a rapport with newcomer Mark Brunell, the 11-year veteran QB who came to the Redskins via trade last March. Ramsey and Brunell are expected to compete for the starting QB job heading into training camp.
"He throws a pretty good ball," Coles said of Brunell. "We haven't had a great deal of time yet to really get our connection down, but we'll get it. He shows his leadership in the huddle. You can see he's going to be somebody who takes control when he's out there on the field."