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Joe Gibbs Introductory Press Conference


"Tonight is one of the most exciting days of my life. As a lifelong Redskin fan, it should be for all of us. First off, I'd like to say thank you very much to Pat and Joe Gibbs--welcome home. I know my Dad is smiling down on this--I know you're there smiling on this. This is some day. I'd just like to introduce the head coach and team president of the Washington Redskins, Joe Gibbs."


Opening Statement:

"First of all, I'm nervous and excited, so if I make a few mistakes, try and bear with me. I want to thank everybody for the welcome. To see the people out front, I tried to stop and say thanks to each one of them.

"I really have to say to all of you: I had all the fun. Everyone's thanking me, I'm the one who's had all the fun. I just really appreciate the welcome and I'm embarrassed by so much attention. But thanks to everyone who was out there--all of those Redskins fan, they gave me the memories again.

"Daniel mentioned Pat. I have to tell you, my wife probably has more courage than any person I know. So I have to start out by thanking Pat. She's always there when the boys and I were chasing some dream, knowing it's going to be extremely hard for her. So I have to start by saying a big thanks to Pat.

"The other thing I wanted to do is, things have changed since my years here. The best part of it is all of our new additions to our family. Today we brought J.D. and his wife Melissa. We have Jackson, my namesake, he can get anything he wants. Miller is here running around someplace, as is little Jason. And then we have Coy, and Coy's wife is Heather. We have a little guy, Ty, running around here. And we have a fifth child on the way from Heather. I'm very excited about that.

"I have to tell you all, I'm a very small part of this. There is no way we can accomplish what we want without a great coaching staff. Daniel and I have been working non-stop since we signed on to take the job. We've been working as hard as we can to round up a terrific coaching staff.

"Three of those guys are here today: Don Breaux is one. We have Joe Bugel and we have Jack Burns. There were some other guys who have committed to being on the coaching staff and weren't able to be here because they're working on trying to help us get other coaches. So we have all of that going and it's a real process in the NFL.

"Next I have to tell you Daniel and Tanya Snyder--I really appreciate this opportunity. I want to stop for a minute and say, here's what I know about Daniel so far: We got together several times, I asked him to do several things for my youth home, Youth for Tomorrow. As you know, nobody gets paid--it's strictly voluntary.

"I had Daniel come down and stand in front of 100 people and get his picture taken. He didn't have to do that. He gave of his resources and everything. The first time I really got to know Daniel is in that situation. And then to see what he thought of this franchise and that he was willing to do all he could do financially to try and buy this great franchise. I saw that.

"And then of course the thing that probably impressed me as much as anything was the way he treated his family. To see the way Daniel treated his mother and father--it meant a lot to me. I wish Gerald could be here. And I know Daniel does. To see that really impressed me.

"So what we're doing, the owner and head coach, is forming a partnership and the partnership is going to have to be this: It's going to be one that has to overcome a lot of adversity that's going to happen to us as we try and move the team forward. So we're trying to form a partnership and we're just getting started.

"I will say this, besides those other things that I had a chance to witness, over the last four days it's been about as intense as could be. Daniel and I have been working the last four days on recruiting the coaches and all things it takes with that. It's already hit us. We've faced some adversity in that process. To see the way he has stepped up already is really important.

"You talk about this challenge. Here's how I kind of look at it. I didn't wear my Super Bowl ring. I got one, but here's the way I look at it really. This is all new. This is different for us. We're trying to go forward with our players and a whole new group of people, and from this point on, the past doesn't buy us much, other than relationships. We got great relationships.

"I do know a lot about the town, so we'll get to that in a minute, but really we're focused on the future. We want to try to do something great here. That's the way I'm looking at it. It's a whole new deal for me. I got to prove myself, and all the coaches, we've got to prove ourselves all over again, and that's the way I'm approaching it.

"Okay, this new challenge. Here's what it takes. It takes a great team effort, and we all know that. We've got one crucial part covered, and that's the fans. I think back, and I think the one thing when I started coaching, I'll tell you what affected me. I think back to the stadium. I think back to all the things that happened there. I think back to our fans and the fact that when I would go in that stadium, I don't care how cold it was, I don't care what the situation was, they were always there, and they were always ready.

"I felt like we had one of the most miserable places in the world for anybody else to try to play. They didn't like coming here, and it's because of our fans and their interest. I know football is important here, so the first part of this teamwork that it's going to take to make us a good football team is already in place. I want to say thank you to every single one of you. I remember all those days and am looking forward to more. So the fans are here.

"I want to share one little thing with you. We played a Monday Night game here, I think it was 1984 and we got off to a horrible start. I think we were 1-2. I just want to share this with you. I always talk to the team the night before the game, and before I walked out on that Monday night, we had the team prayer. For some reason, I just said this: 'If any of you guys have anything to give the Washington Redskins, give it tonight. We're in trouble.' I said that prayer, I stood back up and I'll tell you what I witnessed. A lot of those Redskins had tears coming out of their eyes. That's what it takes. You have to have players like that. I'm so excited about getting started with new relationships with all of the players. I was blessed before with some great guys who laid it on the line. The players, I'll just say to you, I think we're coaching and playing in a place where football is really important and it's exciting to be a part of.

"The coaching staff--I'm so excited about the guys we have lined up. The most important thing for a player is, you want somebody to help you to be your best. That's what we're going to do. So the coaches are excited.

"It takes a great front office and great ownership. I'm looking forward to working with everybody here--the scouting department with Vinny Cerrato. I'm looking forward to that relationship and moving things ahead.

"It takes teamwork. It's not one person. And I'm a small part of it. It's all of us together, every single person of the Washington Redskins, that's what it's going to take for us to win games.

"The only component of all this that I think has proven itself is our fans. We have a lot of work to do.

"I come here with the most humble spirit. I really truly believe my part is a small part. I'm anxious to be a part of this. I'm coming into this with my eyes wide open. Here's the deal: We're going to probably go into what I think is one of the toughest divisions, if not the toughest division, in football.

"You stop and think about it. We're going to play Philly, who has done a dominant job. Andy Reid, I've got a lot of respect for him. He has an extremely well-coached team. They probably have a chance this year to win the Super Bowl. They've got home-field advantage in the NFC.

"You turn around, and you got nightmares. We've got to play Bill Parcells and the Dallas Cowboys. The very first year they jump out, they're No. 1 in defense. You start worrying about, we may not make a yard, so I got that buried in the back of my mind. And then of course you've got the Giants and Tom Coughlin coming in there. That's going to be a whole new deal. They're excited. If there's anyplace you don't want to go and play, it's Giants Stadium.

"I look at that with eyes wide open and say that we're really going to have to be special to play in this division and do what we want to do and to win football games.

"So I'm excited. Obviously, I've got a lot of things to get caught up on. I want to make a fast pace, try to be a good learner, dive back in here, get everybody here to try to help us move this thing forward, so I'm all excited about that.

"Last thing I want to say is, I'm probably the most fortunate guy in the world to have the opportunities I've had. I look at this as a great opportunity and I have to tell you, the Lord has absolutely blessed me beyond belief. And so I'm just excited about going forward."

On how and when he decided to come back to Washington and coach the Redskins:

"It was a long process for me. [My wife] Pat and I started talking. It was family-oriented. Other years, there really hadn't been something there. I think it was a long process that Pat and I kind of started together.

"I remember the very first night I was going down a list. I made this real prepared deal because Pat now can say, "Read my lips." But anyway, I was going down the list, and I hadn't got to the coaches yet, and I got down there, and when I go to the coaches, she looked over at me, and she went, 'Oh my gosh.'

"She went like that, so it started with that, and it kind of moved forward, and then really, no one thought this was going to be something that would happen, so it was kind of a long process. I can't really recall how long, but it was several weeks."

On what will be his biggest adjustment:

"I think the biggest adjustment for me, and obviously the game has moved at a very fast pace, it's been so long since I've been here. I can't wait to dive into the film room. I'm curious about all the new things that are going on on the field. I also think we have the cap system. We're already heavily trying to work real hard on figuring that out.

"Of course, we've got great people here along with Dan [Snyder], they're going to figure that out. I think I've got great support there. That's a huge deal. I can tell you this. If you win, you win with a core group of guys that really believe in the Redskins, and that's what we're going to try to do, preserve those guys in that group.

"I think there are issues like the cap, there are new things on the field, and I got a steep learning curve here. I need to really get to work and bury myself in the film rooms and get caught up. Obviously, I'm going to be way down the road, I think we're going to have a great coaching staff, and that's really super important to me. There's probably too many to mention."

On why he decided to come back at this point in his life:

"Let me mention one other thing I left out. Obviously, the race team has been a huge deal for us. The race team is one of the biggest thing our family has. Obviously, it's our thing that we'll always honor.

"What happened, I think, is we started a process down there 12 years ago. It was fun for me. It was exciting, thrilling. We were building a family business in a race team, and today, the reason why I feel so good about where I am today and why I could do this, my J.D. has been kind of hands on running the race team.

"We've got a great management team in place down there. I think that's part of the answer. It kind of moved to a point where they were ready to roll me out in the corner someplace. I knew the first time that J.D. said, "No, we're not doing that," that I was in trouble. I had to go someplace where they would listen to me.'

"I think the fact that Coy got back into and he decided he wanted to come back in and coach--that had a lot to do with it. So I think there were a lot of things going on in my life."

On whether his approach would change given that he burned out the last time he was a coach:

"I'm sure people can say burned out, but I didn't feel that. I felt like what had happened was the family had changed. If you remember, when I first came here, both boys, of course J.D. and Coy, they'd come to training camp with me. Pat would come on the weekends.

"Gradually, J.D. graduated and went off, so I got separated from him. Didn't get a chance to see him play much. Coy then took off, went to Stanford. Now I came a football recluse. I go to camp, and Pat would go see them. And I think what had happened there, there came a point when there was two years left with Coy playing, there were a lot of things going on personally, family-wise, and I said, "You know, I'm going to miss a lot here."

"It was kind of things changed in life. I never thought any of that would happen or dreamed about it. So, I think that was a big issue. As far as changing things, I want to be as creative as we can. Any new thing that's out there--we got a tremendous help from things like computers now. I want to try to get caught up on all of it, try to make the best decisions we can.

"Obviously, it takes a great effort, but hopefully it's something we can manage. But there's no getting around it. In football, you've got to bust it. The coaches and players have to."

On whether he talked to Dick Vermeil and Bill Parcells and whether their success had anything to do with his return:

"No, we're trying to beat them. I certainly probably should have, but I did not. I saw those guys. You see Vermeil over there having a lot of fun. I think you look at all that, and you say sure. I think another thing is I reached a point in my life where, hey, you love the thrill of trying to do something that's almost undoable. Certainly this is probably as close to that as you can get. It's going to be super hard."

On how much he watched the Redskins last season and how big of a project this team is:

"I did not get to watch many games at all--I was traveling a lot almost all of the time. I always stayed a big Redskin fan, even though I was in a situation down in Atlanta helping out down there. I think I may have watched TV tapes of probably four games, just trying to get some ideas. But I don't have a good feel yet. But I'm convinced we have some real good football players and it'll be a matter of going in there to evaluate things."

On how fast he thinks he can turn this team around:

"I wouldn't be coming here if I didn't think we could. Like I said, I know some of the players by reputation, talking to people, and I haven't had a chance to meet hardly any, but I'm excited about the few that I have met. I think certainly I'm optimistic about it. We all got to be realistic about it.

"One thing about the fans here in Washington, they've been there forever. Those guys that have those tickets, it wasn't somebody who came in here late and grabbed one. And that fan base, what I loved about it, most of them knew more about the Redskins when I came here last time.

"They're realistic I think, and so hopefully that's the best thing we've got going for ourselves. We've got a fan base there that really understands what the Redskins are all about. They've been there year in and year out. They know good football, they know bad football. They're going to let you know it when they don't like it, and they're also going to make that stadium, if we're doing our part playing and coaching, they'll make that stadium a place that other teams will have a tough time in."

On whether he considered the Atlanta Falcons coaching job:

"No, I think what happened there is, originally, I was down there of course and became real good friends with Arthur Blank, really felt a lot about him. He invited me into that situation there with the ownership thing in a little bitty way, so we were real good friends.

"I mentioned to Arthur after everything, after Dan Reeves's situation, after everything had been completed--I kind of said, "I've been thinking about this." And he immediately lit up. We talked some. It was more talk at that point of just kind of going through a process. I sat down with him and [GM] Rich McKay at one time, but really it was me asking them questions about the league, how it's changed and all that and getting advice.

"I've known Rich since he was eight years old and had real good conversations with him and really asking of Arthur and Rich, 'Hey, tell me something about the NFL.'

"Obviously, when this job came open, I felt like it didn't really matter what team or what place. Obviously, I think the world of Dan, but for me it was more just the Redskins. This where I had those times. I had friends. We have the Youth Home. We've got a lot of people here, the fan base and everything, that I really just think a lot about. So the answer is I couldn't coach anywhere else."

On whether his duties as team president will interfere with time from coaching:

"No. We were very specific about that very conversation. My deal is, 'Hey, I'm a coach.' Obviously, I work a lot with the offense, but having said that, I know that the heart of your team is special teams and defense leads you to playoffs. Even though I coached and tried to stay on the offense because that's where I felt like I could help the most, I envision all that being just the same.

"I'm not going to try to take on other duties. I'm a coach. I just want to coach. I want to be a part of a real team here in the front office that helps us get players, that helps us keep players. It takes a tremendous amount of support for me because I'm buried in the film room most of the time, so I don't anticipate any change. There's nothing I'm going to do other than just coach."

On whether he had any reservations about coaching in a place where he has had so much success:

"Absolutely. I will say this. I told Pat, "There is no net." I am hanging. There is nothing down there. There's nothing going to catch us. And that may be the biggest thrill. Knowing how hard it is, but getting a chance to do something that's super hard. Hey listen, it's probably going to be one of the toughest deals you can imagine, but I think as part of that too that there's a thrill of saying it's that hard and getting a chance to do it."

On the process of how he was hired as head coach:

"I think from the time Dan called me, it went real quick. We had two meetings, and at one point, the first point we called, it was a real quick meeting right after that. It was a quick process. I think our last process lasted nine hours, and we went over everything in the world you can think, and I talked it all out."

On the sales pitch from Daniel Snyder to convince him to become Redskins head coach:

"I think one of the things, the franchise--it means so much to Daniel. I heard him say before that the most important thing here is the franchise. Yes, he owns it now, but it's us taking care of it, and at some point in the future, whether it's his kids or whatever. I think as far as the sales pitch, I think it was more or less just us talking over everything.

"Like I mentioned to you, there were several times that we'd been together, and it had nothing to do with football. I kind of saw the friends he had, the way he treated people. I had already experienced some of that. So, I think when we started talking, like I said, we hadn't worked with each other, didn't know, said hey we want a partnership here. We want to take off on this.

"Daniel described his part of it, and I described my part on how it would work, and it's kind of one of those things where you step out in faith. And like I said, we've already experienced a lot of things. The bullets had been flying. I've had to go back and say, 'Hey, say look, we're going after these coaches.' I did step over the budget. There were a couple of those things. I think it's just a work in progress. As far as selling me, it was obviously very impressive from what I saw when we went about it."

On whether he was discouraged to see how the Redskins struggled last season:

"I think anytime you see a team struggle, I think you want things to go well. But I also have a sense of knowing how hard it was. I can probably sympathize with that than a lot of other people. Because I know. We went to the Super Bowl 1987 and in 1988 we had our worst year. It can happen in a heartbeat."

On whether he would have a cot in his office:

"Yeah, I probably will. I'll probably dive into this. First of all, I made a promise to Pat that I would come home whatever time it is. I'll probably live by that. I don't know. I'm not kidding myself, this job is very hard. One thing I remember, when it was 3:30 in the morning and we're all in a meeting and the guy is dumping the trash out back here, then it's time to say, 'It's time to go to bed, guys. That's it for the game plan.'"

On how he will take care of himself physically:

"Yes. I made a promise to Pat. One thing I'll say up front is that I'm diabetic. To tell you the truth, it's probably one of the better things that happened to me because I watch my diet now. I used to have a snack run and a sweets run late at night. I can't do that now. I figured that if I'm going to torture myself every other way, I might as well eat. Looking at the old film, I was rather flabby. Basically it was work like a horse, eat like a horse, look like a horse."

On his learning process coming back to the NFL after a long absence:

"I think there's a lot I need to get in. I want to have officials to discuss the officiating portion of the game. The salary cap is huge. We talked about that. Daniel said we'll spend hours on that so that I have a working understanding of the cap from a coaching standpoint. I'm not going to be the guy doing the cap, but I'm convinced if there's any way under the cap system to keep our players happy, we're going to do it.

"It's kind of across the board. I'm not kidding myself. I really have a lot to learn. I went into this realizing that some of the guys standing on the other sideline have been here and I'm probably going to need a lot of people to help me cover that. I realize that I have a lot to learn."

On whether he will hire an offensive coordinator and whether he will call plays:

"To tell you the truth, we haven't even talked about that. Isn't that amazing?"

On where training camp will be held this summer:

"Good question. I'm extremely comfortable here at Redskin Park, if we want to stay here. I understand it's very nice. I think it's something we'll talk about and talk through. But I'm real comfortable staying here in Washington."

On whether his fundamental beliefs about football have changed over the years:

"First of all, you win with good people. If we can get the right players who have the right character, it starts with that, and the right smarts and the right ability like we had before, then we have a good chance to win. I'll have to get caught up on the technical side of things, but more than anything, it's people. Hopefully, I don't think that part of the game has changed."

On the Redskins competing better in the NFC East:

"This division is extremely tough and I expect it to get a lot tougher. You saw what happened in Bill Parcells' first year and Tom Coughlin is coming up in his first year. I think these teams are only going to get better and the other teams have good coaching staffs.

"Having said that, when you're in that kind of division, which we felt like we were in before with Dallas and New York and Philly and at that time the Cardinals...if you can get out of your division, you're going to be battle-tested. So I think hopefully to win in this division will be the same basic principles. Getting the right guys and being able to adjust to your players and making good sound decisions. I don't think it's going to be easy and I think we have our work cut out for us."

On whether he knew Gregg Williams, who is expected to serve as Redskins' defensive coordinator under Gibbs, previously:

"No, I didn't. I have some real good friends who coached with him. I knew his reputation, and when he became available, I think almost everyone was talking to him. Me and Don Breaux and Coy got on a plane [to Buffalo], I think we got home at five in the morning that night. It reminded me of the old days when we were recruiting and out there trying to sell somebody on a job. I really enjoyed that. Obviously we need to stop them [defensively], and he can help us do that."


On the thought of returning to coaching before being contacted by the Redskins:

"I kind of started a process a little bit before that. Like I mentioned, there were a number of things I started thinking about. I had real peace for all those years and then all of a sudden, the process started again."

"All our grandbabies are going to be right there in town and all of us are going to be together. Then Coy surprised us by saying he wanted to go back and coach, so that meant moving and kind of got a process started. One thing led to another really."

On his son Coy's role on the coaching staff:

"He'll probably start on quality control or something like that. Start the learning process, working on quality control on offense. He spent a lot of time on defense playing that and he kind of wants to get a view of both sides."

On the role of the personnel department:

"I think it's going to be kind of close to what it was before. Obviously, I coach and I can't be traveling. I think we are going to lean heavily on integrating the scouts with the coaches here.

"The process we are going to try and follow with Vinny Cerrato is going to be a real teamwork thing so there will be a real discussion process. Not one group doing one thing and giving it to someone else. Here's the deal: When we take a player, we want to say that's our player, all of us. It's not the scouting department, not the coaching department it's all of us. If we make a mistake, it's our mistake and I think that's really important. That's kind of what we had before.

"I'll have the final say on the roster. I think any coach has to control who stays. That's really important."

On the process for the next couple days:

"Right now I'm so nervous, I want to get this coaching staff. Everyone knows it's the lifeblood of what we're doing. It's a hard process now with all the rules in place and every minute that goes by, I won't feel comfortable until we get all that finished."

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