For as long as Joe Gibbs does interviews that include the word “football,” he will be asked about Dan Snyder’s level of involvement in the Redskins’ football operations.
It happened again last week, when Gibbs was on ESPN 980 to talk about the playoffs, and Kevin Sheehan eventually asked him about the perception that Snyder is now less involved in personnel decisions than in the past. Long answer follows.
“I’m not there to see today what the current operation is,” Gibbs began. “I can tell you this: When I was there, Dan was always supportive. Give you an example, we’d be up for free agency, and it’d be 12 o’clock, 12:01 [a.m.], and Dan was right there with me. And we’d stay up all night, calling players.
“He’s got a great reputation with the agents, and that’s a big deal in the NFL today. You’ve got to have a great relationship with the agents, because many times they’re making the calls for the players believe it or not. And he had a great reputation with them; they knew that they could strike a deal with him.
“He was always there supporting; he was NEVER in the process of evaluating players, he NEVER did that. I know we’ve heard some people say did he get involved with that; never. He was always very supportive....I’ve said that over and over again. I think sometimes you don’t know how the rumors get started on different things, but I’m giving you the straight scoop.
“I’m not there today, but I can tell you this: he’s very smart, very sharp, has a great relationship with the agents, he loves the Redskins, he loves that community, the charitable work and everything he does there is awesome. Can you imagine an owner of an NFL team, a player gets hurt, in our playoff game, he sends his wife to the hospital and she stays there with him until they get him back in a situation where he can travel and come back? Renaldo Wynn, for us when we played the playoff game in Tampa.
“I mean Dan has really, over and over again, reached out in different times, trying to help different people and players. I just say that because it’s important to me and it’s important I think for the fan base there to understand that they have an owner that really cares a lot about the team, and he’s gonna do whatever it takes. So I’m excited where we are, to be quite truthful. I know we’ve struggled here, but sometimes that happens, and I think there’ll be some good decisions made here in the offseason, and we’ll get back rolling.”
The other Snyder question concerned whether the owner would have the patience to see the Mike Shanahan Era through.
“I think he will definitely have the patience,” Gibbs said. “I think he knows he has a proven product in Mike. Mike has led teams to Super Bowls; he’s very smart from a personnel standpoint in acquiring talent. I think he’s got a system and a scheme and a way of going about things. When you see his teams, they look a certain way. When you see him go after talent, he’s got a formula. And so I think that one is easy; I think they’re gonna go the distance, and Mike’s gonna get them back headed where they want to go, going back into the playoffs and hopefully to Super Bowls.”
Gibbs was also asked about the 2011 Redskins, the latest Washington team to fall somewhat short of expectations.
“Ok, here’s first of all: those teams played hard,” Gibbs said. “I thought the Redskins played hard. I think that is something that’s a tribute to Mike and the coaching staff, and I felt like they had some great efforts. Now, they wound up not winning football games. I think this: you’ve got a proven guy. I don’t think there is a question about Mike. I think he’s got a good partner in Bruce, I think they’ll make good decisions on personnel. Solving the quarterback situation, that’s a high priority for them.
“I would say that what we have there — me being one of the biggest Redskins fans around — is a proven product, proven guys in the front office, and I think we just need to say it takes time. And I know we don’t like that. We all want to win right now, but that’s just part of the process in the NFL. You’ve got to go through that.
“But I have no questions whatsoever that we’re gonna get the job done. I love Mike, and I think we’ve got a great setup there. And of course everybody kind of knows how I feel about Dan. When I was there and we lost football games, it was my fault. Not Dan’s. He gave me every single thing that I asked for. He was a great partner when I was there.”