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It could have been worse, Part 2

It could have been worse, Part 2

The last time the Washington Redskins played the Jets in the preseason was in 2006. If you thought last night was ugly, this might put things in perceptive. The Redskins fell behind 27-7 and looked awful in doing so. Read my live game blog from FedEx Field here. Following is my blog entry dated 06.20.06 about Joe Gibbs' reaction to the debacle:

Joe Gibbs: Anger Management

At just two minutes and 52 seconds, it really wasn't much of a sound bite. It was more like a nibble--one that was delivered with very sharp teeth.

Joe Gibbs' postgame press conference after Saturday night's 27-14 loss to the Jets in a preseason game at FedEx Field was one of the shortest such sessions that anyone can remember him giving. One of the reasons that it was so brief was that it wasn't necessary for those of us there to ask any questions about what he thought of the team's performance. He was, as he made perfectly clear, concerned.

"I'm concerned all the way across the board," Gibbs said. "That's where I am right now. When we show up and do that kind of stuff at home, I take it real serious. I think our players, do, too. We have to do something about it."

"I'm really concerned -- let's put it that way," he continued. "We need to take a serious, hard look at all of this and I know I have to from my standpoint. I'm sure I haven't done my job."

Anything positive to take out it, coach?

"There will be some positives and I'm sure some guys did some good things -- you can analyze it that way," Gibbs said.

"But I'm concerned about the team," he continued, with an emphasis on the team. We have to play good and we're not."

This had virtually everyone who was observing this somewhat stunned. This wasn't the sarcastic Bill Parcells here or the blunt Tom Coughlin. This was the mild-mannered Gibbs, who generally praises in public and criticizes in private. Fretting is Gibbs' nature, anger is not. And, make no mistake about it, Gibbs was angry.

Since Gibbs doesn't tend to get mad every often, it generally has a great effect on his players when he does. Just days before his first Super Bowl appearance in January of 1983 some players and coaches were late to a pre-practice meeting because they drove to the facility rather than taking the team bus. Gibbs was livid and immediately laid down the law—taking the bus to practice was mandatory.

"He chewed us out good," said linebacker Neal Olkewicz, who was not one of the players who was late.

"It's no problem," said Dave Btuz. "It's been pointed out to us quite verbally by Coach Gibbs.

There were no tardiness issues the rest of the week and the Redskins earned their first Lombardi Trophy that Sunday.

Perhaps Gibbs' most famous tirade came at halftime of the last game of the 1986 regular season. The game had only slightly more meaning than Saturday's meeting with the Jets had. Washington was locked in to the top Wild Card playoff spot regardless of the outcome of the game against the Eagles at Veterans Stadium. After sleepwalking through the first half the Redskins went into the locker room trailing 14-0.

Chairs were flipped. The coach's arms were waving. His voice went several octaves higher than his normal, calm tone.

"Screechy," was the way linebacker Neal Olkewicz described Gibbs' voice. "Definitely screechy."

"I thought maybe Coach Gibbs had been fired, and Mike Ditka (coach of the Chicago Bears) had been hired at halftime," free safety Curtis Jordan said.

But, no, it was Gibbs, riled by his team's lack of intensity in the first half. "There were veins sticking out of his neck," said linebacker Rich Milot.

There was evidence that this was a very controlled rage. "He never used any four-letter words," said Milot.

Planned or not, controlled or not, the tirade apparently worked. The Redskins scored 21 fourth-quarter points and went into the playoffs on a winning note with a 21-14 victory.

We will see if his anger following Saturday night's events has similar benefits.

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!