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Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

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Old 08-27-2006, 01:00 AM   #1
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Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

Scout.com: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

By: Rich Tandler
Editor-in-Chief
Date: Aug 20, 2006

In Joe Gibbs' next-to-last year with the Redskins, training camp and the presason games were, by any measure, terrible. However, there didn't seem to be much carryover into the 1991 regular season. (NOTE: This is required reading for anyone pressing the panic button--you know who you are.)

If you asked 100 NFL coaches to make a list of they thought the major components to a successful season were, chances are that it wouldn’t take very long before 99 of them came up with some variation of, “We need to have a preseason free of distractions, no holdouts. And, while winning preseason games isn’t that important, we need to look sharp in those games.”

Joe Gibbs certainly would have been counted among the vast majority here; in that respect, he was no different from any other head coach in the league. He was, however, different from the pack in that he was very adept at dealing with the distractions that were a part of life in the National Football League. Perhaps the ultimate disruption is an in-season work stoppage. There have been two such events in NFL history, in 1982 and again in 1987. Gibbs’ Redskins won the Super Bowl both of those seasons.

Going into the 1991 season Gibbs’ ability to deal with turmoil was again put to the test. While no strike was being threatened, not all of the players were present in training camp. Most notably, starting quarterback Mark Rypien was absent due to a contract dispute.

He missed ten days of camp before agreeing on a deal to report. Rypien wasn’t a fan favorite before his holdout and his late arrival to camp in Carlisle, Pennsylvania did nothing to endear him to the spectators at Biddle Field. Every errant throw—and there were a lot of those as Rypien wasn’t very sharp—drew boos from the stands, a sound almost never heard in camp.

The spectators weren’t the only ones who expressed their displeasure with Rypien. A team official ripped Ryp to the Washington Post, saying that the quarterback was “in for a long year. This holdout was a terrible mistake. He has put all kinds of pressure on himself.”

Rypien wasn’t the only one whose ability was being questioned. There was a core of players who had spearheaded the team through its run of success, players such as Art Monk, Jeff Bostic, Joe Jacoby and Monte Coleman. Many observers wondered aloud about how much they had left in the tank.

One of those questioning the makeup of the team was owner Jack Kent Cooke. He challenged the makeup of Gibbs’ team, even to the point of saying that he preferred the team that Jimmy Johnson had put together in Dallas. The coach assured the owner that he could win with the group that he had.

The team’s performance on the field during the preseason did nothing to justify the coach’s confidence. All phases of the game looked suspect as they were 1-2 going into the last preseason game against the New York Jets in Columbia, South Carolina. The exhibition should have been a final tune-up; instead, the performance was one of a unit that appeared to be in need of a major overhaul.

In particularly bad shape was the secondary. In three quarters of play, with most of each team’s first units on the field, Jet quarterback Ken O’Brien completed 20 of 29 passes for 194 yards. Cornerback Martin Mayhew played so poorly he was benched in the second half.

Defensive coordinator Richie Petitbon was characteristically blunt, saying, “We're just terrible right now.”

Rypien didn’t have particularly bad numbers in his three quarters, but he did throw an interception that led to a New York field goal.

"I think this is the poorest we've played since my first year here," Gibbs said after the 13-9 loss. "It's just an across-the-board thing. We're not smooth in any area. I don't know what else to say. We've been like this for a couple of weeks now, and I'm not sure why."

Answers had to come quickly. In the hours after the game, the final cutdown had to be made. The team would open up against the Detroit Lions, who were practitioners of the Run-and-Shoot offense, a wide-open passing scheme that put pressure on the secondary, which just so happened to be the team’s worst-performing unit.

Gibbs, as was his custom, fretted as he addressed the media in the days prior to the opener, lamenting everything from injuries to tough roster decisions to the poor preseason play. He did show a glint of optimism when he said, “Maybe we can bounce out of it. It's going to take a great effort every week, with us fighting our guts out. . . . Maybe that's the kind of year it's going to be.”

Bounce out of it the Redskins did. A little over a week after their dreadful performance in South Carolina, they dominated the Lions 45-0. They never looked back, going 17-2 and winning Super Bowl XXVI. The MVP in that game? Mark Rypien, of course.
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Old 08-27-2006, 01:04 AM   #2
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

Things like this tell me not to lose hope YET!
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Old 08-27-2006, 01:05 AM   #3
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyJoeGibbs View Post
And historically, I've seen too many Joe Gibbs-coached teams look blah in the preseason and then light it up in the real season. In fact, during the Gibbs I era the Redskins went 0-4 in the 1982 preseason and 1-3 in the 1991 preseason. And guess what they did both years? Ah, they won the Super Bowl
Enough Alarm For a Wakeup Call
U serious!? I wasnt born till 86 so I WOULDENT KNOW!
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Old 08-27-2006, 01:05 AM   #4
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

For good measure, wow about a look at Gibbs' preseason record:

His preseason record in those nine playoff seasons is 16-21. In 1982, the Redskins won the Super Bowl after a 0-4 preseason. In 1991, they won the Super Bowl after a 1-3 preseason. Last year, the Redskins advanced to the second round of the playoffs after going 1-3 in preseason.

In the only two losing seasons during Gibbs' tenure in Washington, the Redskins were 3-1 in 1988 and 3-2 in 2004.
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Old 08-27-2006, 02:50 AM   #5
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

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U serious!? I wasnt born till 86 so I WOULDENT KNOW!

You were born in 86 and you didn't know about all the team politics and internal turmoil before the 91 season? I mean you were 5 years old. You couldn't pick up a paper at 5?

No that's ok, Joe Gibbs didn't know who Oliver North was at the height of the Iran Contra scandal, he was so absorbed in his job as coach.

But surely you know all about the Iran Contra scandal in 1987 - you were after all a full year old.
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Old 08-27-2006, 03:26 AM   #6
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

I'm not one of those people who are ready to write the season off.
But I am Concerned.

You can’t compare the 91 and 06 redskins.

The 91 redskins team had been together for a long time. Bostic, Mckenzie, Jacoby, Simmons, Warren, Monk, Clark, Sanders, and Rypien(if you watch the 88 SB again, You will see him on the side lines. But he wasn’t active roster) were all on the superbowl team of 88.
They had the same playbook, The same coaches and the same people next to them every year.

The 06 Redskins team has two new WR’s. Their starting QB is playing like he did his first year with the redskins. Come on, Someone tell me he doesn’t look hurt? Last year he looked decent in the preseason. Not this year.
All offensive players have to learn a new 700 page playbook.
Cooley is kind of in between positions TE to H-back to what ever he is now.

Our QB’s are not comfortable with the system. I’m worried that it might take them a year. I’m worried that Brunell is hiding an injury again. I’m worried that portis might have shoulder problems all year.


Im worried that angelina jolies boobies are going to start sagging

Life is horrible right now
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Old 08-27-2006, 03:33 AM   #7
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

Did the 91 team get beat by 41 in the preseason. It is not a good sign when you loose that bad. San Fran could of gave the Pats a better game then we did. Lets just hope that things change PDQ.
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Old 08-27-2006, 03:56 AM   #8
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

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Originally Posted by Oakland Red View Post
You were born in 86 and you didn't know about all the team politics and internal turmoil before the 91 season? I mean you were 5 years old. You couldn't pick up a paper at 5?

No that's ok, Joe Gibbs didn't know who Oliver North was at the height of the Iran Contra scandal, he was so absorbed in his job as coach.

But surely you know all about the Iran Contra scandal in 1987 - you were after all a full year old.
I didnt understand the politics at 5......that and..My mom had just got back from the gulf.....so yeah. I meant are u serious that we did so poorly in preseason and went on to win a superbowl!
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Old 08-27-2006, 04:07 AM   #9
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

Life is too short to worry about preseason but I tell you what, I hope Williams is experimenting or some-such. I know he subscribes to the "Attack and Attack Some More" mentality but come on, compensate a little for some of our weakness. Try a little "Bend But Don't Break."

When the Pats audibled we did nothing to counter it. Pretty stupid thing to do if you ask me, especially since they were picking us apart. Lord help us if we pull the sort of thing we pulled today when we face the Colts. Payton's gonna murder us.
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Old 08-27-2006, 04:11 AM   #10
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

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Life is too short to worry about preseason but I tell you what, I hope Williams is experimenting or some-such. I know he subscribes to the "Attack and Attack Some More" mentality but come on, compensate a little for some of our weakness. Try a little "Bend But Don't Break."

When the Pats audibled we did nothing to counter it. Pretty stupid thing to do if you ask me, especially since they were picking us apart. Lord help us if we pull the sort of thing we pulled today when we face the Colts. Payton's gonna murder us.
I think its a case of we couldent beat any afc team last year..........and the fact that the pats might just be that damn good like the colts...
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Old 08-27-2006, 07:17 AM   #11
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

if everyone here is in agreement that we have the best coaching staff of all time, then everyone needs to calm down. i remember 1991 and people were predicting doom for the skins because of the preseason. we are probably not as good as that team but we are definitely not as bad as last nights game, either
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:50 AM   #12
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

All I know is, its 2006. Not 1991, and we've looked terrible. I know were not doomed and I could see us, just out of pure belief that we go out and roll the Vikings....but we've shown absolutley nothing on the feild to back up any positive thoughts, and thats where it counts.
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:13 AM   #13
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

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Originally Posted by Gmanc711 View Post
All I know is, its 2006. Not 1991, and we've looked terrible. I know were not doomed and I could see us, just out of pure belief that we go out and roll the Vikings....but we've shown absolutley nothing on the feild to back up any positive thoughts, and thats where it counts.
The point is though, it doesn't matter what year it is, historically speaking, preseason is not a good measure as to what team you have in the regular season, at least according to Joe Gibbs. This is why Matty and myself say not to get all up in arms over a losing preseason. It's just like what we've been saying ever since Gibbs arrived back in Washington. Gibbs pays attention to so many little details that we obviously don't pay attention to. We're looking at the overall amount of points scored, allowed, etc... Gibbs and company look at the very fine details in preseason, because it is those very fine details that decide whether if your team is going to come out ahead by season's end or not. We might be getting our tails kicked 41-0 in preseason, but I'd rather this team get a butt whoopin' like that and to give our second stringers and "others" playing time so we can have type of depth come week one, rather than to put our first stringers in and our game plan displayed for all other teams to see, so that we can risk having injuries to our starters, our offense exposed, and back-ups who have not been evaluated properly.

How many times have people on this board screamed the sky is falling, only to have egg on their face? Quite a bit in Gibbs II. Just relax and prepare for the season opener.
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:44 AM   #14
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Angry Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

Going 0 for 4 is not a good predictor of how the team will perform in the regular season, in spite of what happened in '91. And yes, the whole preseason isn't a good predictor either. That cliche "It matters not if you win or lose, but how you play the game" was invented for preseason. How they are playing the game is the concern.

The coaches aren't game planning the opponents. They call plays to see how individuals cope in a game situation, situations they will never set up in a real game. They, and we, are looking for execution. I'm looking for blocking. Does the QB get 3 seconds to make a play? Do the running backs average 4+ yards per carry? Do the receivers hang on to the ball? Is the first team D near the same level as last season? Can the new guys in the secondary play? I'm not seeing a lot of that. I wouldn't care about 0-3 if I saw something. I don't see preseason play on a par with Dallas or Philadelphia. The Giants, playing poorly, did enough to win two games. McNabb, with no one to throw to, has a preseason 112 QB rating.

With this division this year, it helps to get off to a fast start. To get to the Super Bowl, you have to win the division and get at least one home playoff game. Yeah, I know, it didn't help the Giants last year; but they weren't the "real" division champs. So, that's my distress, that it looks like it might take some time to shake things out when I hoped for a fast start. Wide open offenses poorly executed won't get you points.

I like the encouraging talk, but it's cheap. What happened in '91 shows what can happen. That's no guarantee that it will. The best predictor is play in the field. The sky isn't falling, but the sun ain't shining either.

I probably sound like a P-O'd season ticket holder with 3 grand invested in this team.

"The past doesn't buy you much." -- Coach-in-chief Joe Gibbs
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:55 AM   #15
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Re: Preseason 1991: Team Turmoil

Quote:
Originally Posted by skinsguy View Post
The point is though, it doesn't matter what year it is, historically speaking, preseason is not a good measure as to what team you have in the regular season, at least according to Joe Gibbs. This is why Matty and myself say not to get all up in arms over a losing preseason. It's just like what we've been saying ever since Gibbs arrived back in Washington. Gibbs pays attention to so many little details that we obviously don't pay attention to. We're looking at the overall amount of points scored, allowed, etc... Gibbs and company look at the very fine details in preseason, because it is those very fine details that decide whether if your team is going to come out ahead by season's end or not. We might be getting our tails kicked 41-0 in preseason, but I'd rather this team get a butt whoopin' like that and to give our second stringers and "others" playing time so we can have type of depth come week one, rather than to put our first stringers in and our game plan displayed for all other teams to see, so that we can risk having injuries to our starters, our offense exposed, and back-ups who have not been evaluated properly.

How many times have people on this board screamed the sky is falling, only to have egg on their face? Quite a bit in Gibbs II. Just relax and prepare for the season opener.
I know, I understand your position. A very very small part of me wants to think its ok because of the past preseason records, and i'll tell myself that somtimes, but I just dont see anything on the feild that is making me feel better. After Cinci I was just like whatever, I really dont care its just preaseason. After the Jets, I was concerned, not worried. Now I'm worried.
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