Saying he was looking forward to forming a "partnership" with Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs returned to the Redskins franchise Thursday with exuberance, a touch of nostalgia and a commitment to winning.
"It's going to take a great team effort--we all know that," Gibbs said upon being introduced as head coach and team president before a packed press conference at Redskin Park. "We've got one crucial part covered, and that's the fans."
Gibbs officially returned to the Redskins after 11 seasons in which he won three Super Bowl championships in the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons and recorded an overall 124-60 regular-season record.
"I kind of look at this challenge as different for us--we're trying to go forward with our players and a whole new group of players," he said. "I have to prove myself and all the coaches have to prove themselves all over again. That's the way I'll approach it."
Said Snyder: "This is one of the most exciting days of my life--as a lifelong Redskin fan, it should be for all of us."
Gibbs announced that three of his former offensive coaches--Joe Bugel, Don Breaux and Jack Burns--would return to the organization. Bugel will serve as assistant head coach and may coach the offensive line as well. Breaux is expected to serve as running backs coach and Burns is expected to be the quarterbacks coach.
Gibbs' son Coy will also serve as an offensive assistant, although in what capacity has yet to be determined, Gibbs indicated. It was his son's interest in coaching that may have helped spur Gibbs' return to the NFL.
Have the fundamentals of his offensive philosophy changed over the years since Gibbs last coached in the NFL? And will his philosophy still translate to the new NFL?
"First of all, you win with good people," he sad. "If we can get the right players who have the right character and the right smarts and the right ability, then we have a good chance to win. So it's people. Hopefully, I don't think that's changed."
As for Gibbs' legendary work ethic, which included sleeping overnight at Redskin Park and studying game film until the early hours of the morning, he said he would curtail that a bit. Just a bit, though.
"In football, you have to bust it--there's no getting around it," he said. "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, and get everybody here to try to help us move this thing forward."
Asked about the current makeup of the Redskins roster, Gibbs admitted that he didn't have a great feel for the players yet.
"I'm convinced we have some real good football players," he said. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we could turn this around. I'm optimistic about it."
More than 200 print, television and online media were in attendance, as well as Redskin players Jeremiah Trotter, Darnerien McCants, Lennie Friedman and Brandon Noble.
Among the Redskins greats to turn out for the press conference were Darrell Green, Art Monk, Gary Clark, Joe Jacoby, Neil Olkewicz and Rick "Doc" Walker.