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Gibbs Evaluates Effort, Finds Room to Improve

By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 15, 2005

For about four hours yesterday morning, Coach Joe Gibbs huddled with his assistants to scrutinize film of Saturday's 28-10 preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers. The coaches tracked -- and detailed -- each play before writing a summary with grades for each player.

The process provides Gibbs a clearer picture of the outcome than when he's viewing the action live and then addressing the media after the game. After yesterday's film session, a report was photocopied and given to players.

"This scrimmage is a good example of some guys stepping up," Gibbs said, "some guys stepping back."

Although preseason games are far less significant than regular season games, Gibbs said he still looks for the same things.

"I don't think there's much difference," said Gibbs, whose team will play its second preseason game Friday against the Cincinnati Bengals at FedEx Field. "For your quarterback, you're looking for very good solid play. What we do on every single play is how we grade the play. And then we write out the person's name and the mistake he made, or the person's name and the good things he did, something exceptional. That's a real grading sheet that pretty much tells the story of the game for each one of them."

The offense didn't move well under quarterback Patrick Ramsey, failing to muster any points in five drives. But the biggest negatives, Gibbs said yesterday, were Washington's four turnovers -- two interceptions and two lost fumbles. Gibbs expressed unhappiness with the overall outcome, but said that preseason games provide an opportunity to correct mistakes.

"Any time you don't win the game and you don't put a lot of points on the board, I think you'd have to say you're unhappy," said Gibbs, who added that he had planned to leave his starters in for almost the entire first half. "You also have got to do a good job of analyzing it, and saying what you did good and what you did bad. And we tried to do that. We did some things very good and some things we need a big improvement on."

Although the team's new wide receivers caught few long passes, Gibbs said the Redskins produced five plays of 20 yards or more. "Six [on average] will probably lead the league next year," Gibbs said.

Gibbs didn't need the film for an instructional lesson to safety Sean Taylor, who recovered a blocked kick (by defensive lineman Ryan Boschetti) at the 24-yard line late in the second quarter. He made a dazzling return to the 42-yard line, but was called for an illegal lateral after he tried to pitch the ball to safety Matt Bowen. Later, Bowen tried to lateral the ball and lost it to the Panthers. But the penalty on Taylor superseded the play.

"If Sean Taylor gets his hands on the ball, don't give it to anybody," Gibbs said. "That would be a simple way of stating that. Don't go throwing it around out there. We want him to be the guy that winds up with it."

Daniels Aims to Play

Defensive end Phillip Daniels said yesterday that he intends to play Friday after sitting out the preseason opener as a precautionary measure. After missing five games last season because of groin and wrist injuries, Daniels practiced regularly during training camp.

"There was some soreness in my wrist, so they just wanted to be safe," he said. "I guess they also looked at me being a 10-year vet. I know this defense, and they don't need to risk anything. But I'm hoping to play Friday."

Extra Points

The only injury in the game was Walt Harris's calf strain. . . . Gibbs said he was pleased with Washington's pass protection, particularly against Carolina's formidable line. . . . Gibbs said his team didn't have enough total rushes (21) or yards per carry (3.1) and that the punting distance (average 28 yards) and hang time were insufficient.

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