Not surprisingly, head coach Joe Gibbs is not looking forward to playing the Redskins' 2006 schedule. He spoke with reporters on Thursday, a few hours after the NFL released the regular-season schedule.
"I will be honest and say that I've never seen a schedule I like," Gibbs said.
Gibbs targeted the first two weeks of the season as particularly tough. The Redskins open with a Monday night game against the Minnesota Vikings at FedExField, then turn around and play a Sunday night game at Dallas in Week 2. Both games will be on national television.
"I'd love to have a rule where if you play on Monday night, you have to play at home the following Sunday," Gibbs said. "It's tough to operate on a short work week like that."
Gibbs said he always looks at where the NFC East teams are situated on the yearly schedule.
"Philly's been dominating the division before this year, so you have to figure they're going to come back mad," he said. "You know about Dallas and the Giants and what kind of job they do. I think they've helped themselves this offseason. Our division is extremely tough and this will be a real challenge."
Gibbs commented that the November stretch of games, starting with Dallas at FedExField on Nov. 5, at Philadelphia on Nov. 12, at Tampa Bay on Nov. 19, and Carolina at FedExField on Nov. 26, looked to be extremely difficult
Is it all bad? Gibbs did see some positives in the schedule.
"I do like that fact that the bye is in the middle of the season," Gibbs said. "I think that's the best place to have it. I like that once we get past the [season-opening] Monday night game, they're all Sundays and evenly spread out that way until we get to that last Saturday night."
Regarding the bye week coming in Week 8, Gibbs added: "I thought last year, when you have a bye that early, [it's not good]. You need a break and a breath of fresh air halfway, I think. I'm glad that we have a bye roughly halfway there."