Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, January 9, 2008; 1:00 PM
Washington Post staff writer Jason La Canfora was online Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 1 p.m. ET to take your questions about the Redskins and the resignation of Joe Gibbs.
The transcript follows.
Read Jason's blog,
Jason La Canfora: Hey there everyone. So, let's start dissecting that playoff loss. Guess we're going to be rehashing the fourth quarter in particular, the picks, the crazy kickoff. I'm bracing for the questions about the projected practice squad guys for 2008, also, right? .... What. Wait a minute Jason Reid is tapping me on the shoulder. Gibbs left? When? Yesterday? He was just going to the Morton's in Reston for dinner, right? You mean he's not coming back?
Tyson's Corner, Va.: Hey Jason, how about Dan Snyder's comment they don't need a GM -- "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Who said it isn't broke? Doesn't the smartest person (Joe Gibbs), as part of the Vinny, Danny and Joe player personnel team, leaving break it? As much as I would like to see Gregg get the job, maybe it is better to have Cowher, who will demand more control.
Jason La Canfora: To me that was by far the most telling moment of that press conference in terms of moving forward. If they bring in a guy like Cowher then I could see them giving him a mega title like Gibbs had and keeping their creaky pyramid going in that regard, but let's not forget that Bill Cowher worked with a very stringent and astute front office in Pittsburgh. He was not running the show.
I think many a Skins fan started to cringe and perhaps even dry heave at that point in the press conference.
Falls Church, Va.:
The first time around Snyder should have found the next Joe Gibbs, not Joe Gibbs.
Any chance he will find the next Joe Gibbs this time instead of recycled coaches or is the splash too small?
Jason La Canfora: Wish I knew, but I'm not that smart.
Hard to find that guy and for every 100 failures as a hire you find a Gibbs 1.0 or Belichick 2.0.
It's pretty simple here. If it's all about continuity and if Snyder truly believes this team is close, then it's Gregg's job.
If he goes outside, everything will be blown up and they wll be starting over again and he will have chased the big splash once again.
Ball's in his court. Again.
DC: If Williams doesn't get the job, is it safe to assume that the whole staff is gone next year?
Jason La Canfora: If he goes outside the building for the head guy then the roster and coaching staff will almost certainly enter a state of great upheavel.
Richmond, VA: Russ Grimm would be a great hire. Does he have a legitimate shot?
Jason La Canfora: I think he would certainly merit an interview but as of last night the Redskins had not reached out to him.
We are at the infancy of this process.
If he skins over Williams then I believe it will be for a bigger fish like Cowher or Carroll. If it does not work out with them then I think Grimm would be atop that next category of current NFL assistants to get a look.
They could also flirt with Cowher and Collins and then come back to Williams, too.
Alexandria, Va.: do you really think that Snyder would hire an established/solid college head coach type or is the model really only an NFL guy?
Jason La Canfora: I think Pete Carroll is the only college name sexy enough to fit the profile but most people around the league looking at this situation think it screams Cowher judging by all of Snyder's moves to this point.
And as I said, if he has truly changed his spots and is all about chemistry, then he'll keep this group together.
San Diego: Hey Jason, you do the best job covering the 'Skins. Who do you think should get the job?
Jason La Canfora: I would go with Gregg Williams.
Herndon, Va.: While no one disagrees that Joe Gibbs is a "good man", do you really think anyone feels this is not the best thing for the Redskins given his record the last four years? Besides a four-game winning streak and a five-game winning streak two years ago, what have we had to cheer for?
Wham -- "wake me up before you go-go"
Jason La Canfora: You could certainly make a case that his regime was far from a hit (excuse the pun). Some would say "I gotta have faith," and want to keep Coach Joe around.
Personally, the regime went about as I thought it would given that Gibbs was cast so heavily in a personnel role with the lack of a strong GM or exec with him.
Federal Hill Skins Fan: Tell me the inclusion of Brian Billick on The Post's and ESPN's candidate lists were just for ceremonial purposes, and that there's no chance of him getting hired.
If Billick becomes the next coach of the 'Skins, I might have to start rooting for the Ravens. Ugh.
Jason La Canfora: It would be a complete longshot, but let's look at who is out there with serious head coach credentials.
The group of guys getting head coaching interviews is hardly filled with over-qualified guys.
There's not much out there my friend and given how Snyder likes to roll - or at least how he has always rolled to this point - you're not talking about much.
Bro, remember back in the winter of 2004, if Gibbs didn't say yes you were talking about guys like Dennis Greene and Jim Fassel. Not exactly the next wave of young dynamic coaches.
Los Angeles: Why didn't a single reporter at the press conference yesterday have the stones to tell Snyder that the front office is in fact broken, even with Joe at the helm (as evidenced by the Lloyd, Randle El, Duckett, Archuleta signings and trading of draft picks)? I find it incredulous that every single person in the room allowed Snyder to get away with that comment -- when no one calls him to the carpet it only serves to perpetuate his delusional state.
Jason La Canfora: dude, I have made a crappy career out of calling out all of the madness around here. I make my points in print and not by trying to upstage a classy man trying to retire from the game gracefully.
Everyone knows this franchise has the worst personnel record in football in terms of bang for the buck. Anyone paying attention at all can see that.
The owner is entitled to say whatever he wants.
His record speaks for itself.
Rockville, Md.: Whats your estimate on how long the search for a new coach will take. I think if it's going to be Cowher they will have him locked up by next week.
Jason La Canfora: If it's in house, then we're talking days not weeks.
If not, it could be weeks before they have the guy, and then you're talking several more weeks until they get the new staff together and start tearing the roster apart.
Joe Bugel: What should I do?
Jason La Canfora: Come over my house for a brat and an IC Lite.
I didn't get a chance to chat with you as much as I normally do this season and wanted to thank you for your time and help in dealing with me the last four years.
Baltimore: I thought Sally Jenkin's
Jason La Canfora: Sally is the bomb. She rocks.
We are lucky to have her and she is without a doubt one of the best in the business.
Short Pump, Va. (yes, Short Pump): Assuming Gregg Williams is the next head coach of the Redskins, which assistants do you see staying ?
Jason La Canfora: In that case I think there would be some changes on offense, no doubt, and regardless of the next coach I think guys like Bugel, Breaux, Simmons and Burns have a lot to consider and some may be ready perhaps to join Joe Gibbs in retirement either way.
Silver Spring, Md.: I don't understand why folks think it is absolutely necessary for the Redskins to hire a GM. Look at the track record of Bobby Bethard, Charles Casserly and Vinnie Cerrato. They all were "great" GMs before the salary cap era with owners who had deep pockets. Bethard and Casserly failed miserably in San Diego (Ryan Leach) and with the Texans, respectively. Compare those records with Joe Gibbs 2.0, and you will find not much of a difference in success and failures, actually 2.0 probably compares favorably.
Jason La Canfora: I think you are the first person to ever try to equate Bobbby and Charley with Vinny.
You lost me right there.
Vinny's never even had a GM title.
Too Early?: Hey JLC,
Wasn't the decision and announcement a little hasty on Joe's part? Seems to me that you wait at least a week to let the dust and emotions settle a bit before making such a huge life decision. I doubt he will, but I hope he doesn't regret the decision in a month from now.
Got the Pod going today?
Jason La Canfora: No IPOD today, have too much going on and am on the phone way too much. Can't afford not to have my ears.
Some GMs I spoke to said they took his quick departure as a sign that next guy probably isn't coming from his staff, because if that's the case he's going to give Dan as quick a jump as possible to see what's out there and start to potnetially compete with the other clubs interviewing for head coaching vacancies.
Just their theory.
Seattle Loss: OK JLC, when the Skins failed to come away with some points when up by 1 with 1st and 14 to go for a touchdown, that was the turning point. I even think a field goal keeps the momentum for the Skins and they win the game. What think ye?
Jason La Canfora: I think football is a game of many swing plays - especially the Redskins of the past 4 years - and that was a huge won.
But if they march right back down the field and answer the Seattle TD, then it's a new ballgame, so the 78-yard return by Tufant was huge, too, and that put the game away with a 14 point lead on the road in that rowdy stadium with time running out.
But also, if they do at least get the 3 there then the Seahawks might wilt and that momentum swing might have put the game away then too.
Charlotte: I am just gonna throw out a name that no one is talking about.
Jason La Canfora: Man, would be a reach.
He's got the ridiculous contract there and the bloom has definitely come off that rose the last few years.
But trust me, with this team I rule nothing out.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Hey Jason, you da best!
Which players do you think will be gone by the time when the season starts? Thanks
Jason La Canfora: Uzbek in the house! Awesome.
Wish I could answer this but all bets are off now. Until we know the coach and front office structure the system they will be using on the field, it's all up in the air.
That process isn't even going on at Redskins Park. Everything is on hold until they find their next leader.
Some of the kids this regime fell in love with could be replaceable spare parts in the eyes of the next coach.
That person, if he comes from the outside, is going to to want his players who fit his system and he is comfortable, just like most of the guys acquired early on in 2004 by Gibbs's new staff had ties to those coaches in one way or another.
Washington, D.C.: There have been some questionable personnel moves in Gibbs' tenure. But some of the better ones seem to be on defense (i.e. a younger D-line this year, signing London Fletcher, the draft picks have made an impact) do you think Greg Williams was behind those decisions and may have a better sense of personnel than Gibbs did?
Jason La Canfora: Gregg and his staff were vital in those moves, both good and bad (the Archuleta debacle), and I agree that the bulk of the shred signings and trades would without a doubt on that side of the ball by a landslide.
Washington, D.C.: Jason you mentioned that any new coach like Cowher would come in and blow up the team? Given the cap situation, how much blowing up can one expect with a new coach? Won't they take a bigger cap hit by cutting players as oppose to the standard restructuring of contracts they typically do?
Thanks, love the blogs!
Jason La Canfora: Yep, that's the rub.
Wrote about this a bit on the blog last night - redskins insider.com.
It's cheaper to restructe many of these vets than just cut them and being already $20 million over the cap, they've clearly built this thing predicated on redoing about 10 contracts.
That will be a most interesting subplot to all of this. Guys like Jansen, Portis, Thomas would not have built up all the good will with a coach from the outside and another coach might see younger, cheaper alternatives who fit better with his system provided he was running a scheme quite different than what we saw under Gibbs 2.0
DC: With respect to the people that remain at Redskins Park... it sounded as if ex-coach Joe had lost a little faith in JC... thoughts?
Jason La Canfora: Oh yeah, it definitely did.
I will never figure out why he was so over-joyed to praise a QB who is out of contract - Collins - and speak about a potential competition, and not say more about the injured potential franchise QB that he and Snyder traded two first round picks to acquire.
He did anything but give Jason a big vote of confidence on the way. He talked for 50 odd minutes Tuesday and as best I recall never went out of his way to mention Jason at all.
New York, NY: Any chance a new coaching regime could impact Campbell's development? For the positive? Negative? Any chance a big fish could come in here and take the ball out of the kid's hands and find the old pro akin to Gibbs chasing Brunell?
Jason La Canfora: It's impossible to rule anything out right now.
Football is a game of differing comfort and observation.
Coaches want their own guys around them and someone who might shine for a spell in one system, like Collins, would not even get a whiff in other locales.
Bottom line is if they go outside, whoever they bring in will not have draft Jason, investing time and energy in Jason and it would be like the 7th new system for Jason in the 9 years ... none of that is good for development.
We all saw how much faith Gibbs had in the young first-round pick QB he inherited, right?
What was his name? Patrick something? Think he might have last 17 minutes as the starter back in '05.
Adams, Va.: Is there anyway they try to go after the Pats' Scott Pioloi?
Jason La Canfora: If Snyder told a boldface lie Tuesday about his desire for a GM, then no. And you know what, if actually did an about face and landed a Pioli he would get lauded by everyone.
That's part of the business and deception is part of his job.
But the message Snyder sent explicitly to Redskins coaches, players and fans during his press conferfence yesterday was that the front office structure is essentially the best part of the organization.
Burke, Va: You've been on the phone all day, so what are the latest rumblings that you have heard about possible replacements?
Jason La Canfora: Way too soon to know my man.
24 hours in a day.
When I have any news it'll be on the blog first - redskins insider
Reston, Va: I guess the Washington Post doesn't have a dress code for when their reporters appear on camera, because jeans and a sweatshirt certainly aren't appropriate attire for a professional such as yourself. Do you not care one iota about your image?
Jason La Canfora: I care about doing the best job possible for The Washington Post, my employer.
Since your a fashion critic and undoubtedly a real suave dude, I was working all morning and running my daughter to preschool, and planned to run a few errands and do some work from home before cleaning up and going to Redskins Park.
I got a call about Joe at here preschool. So I immediately started driving to Redskins Park and dictating a story for the website and reporting and threw myself into the story.
If Comcast wants to put me on TV, that's on them. I guess they thought it wasn't so offense, seeing as athletes and people of all sorts are on their air in similar attire all the time.
I'm worried about busting my butt for my newspaper. I'm a reporter not glamour queen.
Next time I'll make sure I run home and comb my hair and try to look as pretty as I can for you.
Maybe you could start a fund for me to get a shower and dressing room installed in my Jetta.
Washington, DC: I know there is a love-fest for Joe Gibbs right now, but I think we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about how this is the second time that he leaves the Redskins in the lurch. He resigned very abruptly the first time around, and left a team in salary cap trouble with no clear plan. This time he also leaves abruptly, leaves a team with salary cap problems, apparently leaves no clear coaching successor, AND undermine the potential franchise QB as he goes out the door.
Jason La Canfora: Make no mistake this is a time of great uncertainy at Redskins Park fot everyone, including his longtime friends in coaching.
We spoke to Earnest Byner and Jerry Gray today and they spoke the obvious fact that none of them has any idea about what's in store for them.
That's part of the business, and happens around the league, but this organization was definitely thrown for a loop.
Woodley Park, DC: Every player interviewed seems to want Gregg Williams to get the job. Does this have any effect at all on Snyder's decision? Do we really need another rebuilding year?
Jason La Canfora: When I asked him directly about this yesterday he didn't give Gregg a ringing endorsement, talking about the "process" they need to go through.
He said that he knows how the players feel about all the coaches but certainly did not make a point to stress the weight of that or prop up his inhouse candidates in any way.
Could mean nothing at all, but he definitely had the perfect opportunity to send that message to players, coaches and fans on several occasions during that press conference and didn't go there.
Anonymous Were you a tad disappointed Gibbs didn't make more a push for Williams?
Jason La Canfora: That to me was telling as well.
I can understand him not wanting to be seen as getting too involved in the process or telling Dan what to do, but yes it is definitely something I noticed.
South Amboy, N.J.: Is it true that Gregg Williams will receive $1 million if he is passed over as the head coach? If so, he seems like he will be the next Redskins coach because I don't see Snyder giving away $1 million to anyone.
Jason La Canfora: The Redskins are denying that he would get that payment if passed over.
Sarasota, Fla.: JLC,
This to the reader in Herndon RE: "what have we had to cheer for?" I was fortunate enough to grow up during Gibbs I and got spoiled by success. I know that during Gibbs II they made some mistakes but going to the playoffs twice in four years is pretty good considering the 'Skins only went to the playoffs once in the 11 years between Gibbs I and Gibss II.
Jason La Canfora: Good points as well.
I guess it all comes down to what your expectations were, what you thought of the job they did on the field and as a front office and if you got enough bang for your buck as a Redskins fan, because we all know being a Redskin fan is anything but cheap.
Richmond, VA: Why is Snyder so enamored with Vinny Cerrato and so reluctant to go with one of the current up and coming assistant GM's around the league?
Jason La Canfora: They have a close personal relationship, Vinny was kind of Dan's guy to show him around the league a bit at the beginning and he can trusty Vinny totally and completely.
He knows he has a loyal guy who will do whatever he wants and who is indebted to him.
Trust means everything to Snyder and Vinny is definitely a Snyder guy.
Vienna, Va: Do you think Tom Cruise has asked Dan to consider hiring Craig T. Nelson(his coach in the movie All the Right Moves) ?
Jason La Canfora: Great idea. He also played a football coach on that sitcom, too, didn't he?
I was thinking Cruise could coach the team and Katie could have Prada design new uniforms for them. Portis for one would be cool with that.
Washington, DC: Re: timing. Daytona 500 is five weeks from Saturday and Joe Gibbs racing is switching from Chevy to Toyota. Lot of uncertainty for his NASCAR operation that requires immediate attention
Jason La Canfora: I'll take your word for it my man. I don't speak NASCAR.
Alexandria, VA: So are you saying that if Gibbs was given a better support structure -- liek a Tom Heckert type as GM-lite, he might've stayed? Sounds like he was simply overloaded.
There's clearly no one out there coaching wise , given the other searches by NFL clubs. Maybe there would be a way to convince him to gut out one or two more years with additional personnel staff, or is Snyder too pig-headed for this?
Jason La Canfora: I don't think that would have made him stay longer; I do think it would have helped him sustain some success and build a better team and ultimately win more games.
It also would have freed him of his heavy, heavy front office duties and allowed him to focus entirely on what got him to the Hall of Fame in the first place.
Dallas: Hi. Do you think Gibbs was gently pushed out? During the press conference yesterday he sure didn't sound like a man that wanted to leave his team -- how he would be there next year because he wanted to see it through. Perhaps he wanted a different extension and Snyder wouldn't give him what he wanted so that made the decision easier for Gibbs. I know everyone says no but could it be possible? Thanks.
Jason La Canfora: I don't buy that for one second.
Now, could he have gone into that meeting seeking for one thing that might able to make him stay - coaching changes, changes to the personnel staff, a new structure, certain extensions for other member of the coaching staff ... I guess perhaps that could have been a possibility of some sort, maybe.
But Gibbs went out of his way to say it wasn't about money - and I have to take him at his word on that - and he made it pretty clear his mind was basically made up when he sat down with Snyder.
Dan wanted to give him two more years and he did not want that.
San Diego: Jason - Any feeling that Joe's decision was driven by his Grandson and a potentially worsening condition? He made many overtures about his "family situation."
Jason La Canfora: Oh, there is no doubt about it.
I have been answering questions about Joe leaving/staying weekly for all 4 years he was here and I have always said that until he meets with his family every Jan. there is no way to know. Joe himself does not know.
Go back and read any of these chats all season and you will see may say that Taylor's condition is paramount in all of this and if Joe goes to North Carolina after the season and believes it is best to stay there, then that's how it will go down.
And that's essentially what happened.
That's why all the speculation and error-filled reports you may have read or heard about, in the Washington Times a few weeks back and elsewhere, was so laughable. There was no way Joe was signing an extension during the season, because he wouldn't even entertain the idea until he sat down with Pat, JD and Coy.
Cary, N.C.,: I realize no decision has been made regarding the next head coach, but IF it's Williams, what are the chances that Saunders is let go? If I recall correctly, prior to Saunders's hire, Williams wasn't too fond of Saunders's offense and the pressure it placed on the same team's defense.
Jason La Canfora: I think Gregg might want a different scheme, that's entirely possible. His defense has been carrying the offense for the better part of four years.
This is a complicated situation and changes will be made, even if it stays in house with Williams or Saunders.
That's the nature of the business and it's inevitable.
Al and Gregg and cordial but not close. I think either would want his own guy running the other side of the ball, as, again, is the norm up here.
Oh man, just realized we lost all our Gibbs-ism. Fight your guts out. Super smart. Up here.
Damn. That's kinda sad.
Jason La Canfora: Alright guys, duty calls. Back to the chain gang here and the plight that is covering a coaching search (a beat writer's nightmare).
As always, email me at email@example.com at any time and I'm always on the blog as well. Hope you all have a great week and I'm sure we'll be doing this again, as this party has just begun.
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