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Old 09-21-2004, 02:20 PM   #1
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WPost Email: Gibbs Starting Over

Joe Gibbs was billed as a savior by Washington Redskins fans when he announced his stunning return to the NFL. In his first news conference in January, Gibbs insisted that his past glory -- three Super Bowls -- wouldn't be any help this time. He turned down the opportunity to be on the Redskins' media guide. Instead, there is a Redskins insignia with a burgundy background.

Gibbs has been flattered by the overflow crowds that flocked to Redskins Park merely to watch his team practice during training camp. However, after Washington's 20-14 debacle against the New York Giants Sunday, Gibbs expressed irritation at being considered a savior.

"I've got to tell you the truth, I'm kind of fed up with that," Gibbs said. "Me coming back here, I'm starting over. Coaches in this league 12 years have been doing great things.

"I haven't been. I'm going to work as hard as I can and put together a good football team. But to think a coach is going to make a difference -- good players make a difference."

"They'll go off on how we play. We didn't play a good football game. We didn't play a smart game. My part is a small part of it. I think people know that, most people out there. At least that's what I hope and feel."

Defensive Rotation Continues

Gregg Williams, Washington assistant head coach of defense, continues to rotate his players in such a rate that it's difficult to figure out when a starter will feel like a starter. Strong safety Matt Bowen starred in the season opening 16-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Bucaneers. But Sunday against the Giants, Bowen's play was reduced sharply, especially after he was burned on a touchdown.

"You'll be hard-pressed all year long to figure out who our starters are," Williams said. "You're a starter if you make this football team because you're going to play about 16 or 17 packages of people. A lot of it has to do is who is the other team bringing out on the field."

Williams plans to use four-linebacker rotations, and occasionally five.

"It's tough to rush the passer in the two-minute drill at the end of the ballgame unless you're fresh," Williams said. "So there's a chance to rotate a bunch of guys in there, keeping everybody fresh. But it also does cause a little bit of a communication and a protection problem for the offense."

Jason La Canfora
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