The Redskins started 2-1, but Williams then suffered acute apendicitis. As a result, Mark Rypien made his NFL debut. Neither quarterback, however, had a great season, and neither got much running support. The Redskins went to 6-4 and were still in the playoff hunt, but they lost five of their last six to finish 7-9 the only losing season in Gibbs' career.
The next year would end with more important departures and arrivals. It would be the last year for Dexter Manley, an important part of the 1980s miracle. In and out of drug rehabilitation, he had violated the NFL's drug policy. He later would go to prison.
Then, in May of 1989, Beathard resigned. His departure had been rumored for months. Beathard, then 52, cited a desire to return to Southern California. But, ironically, he also had had tensions with Gibbs, the coach he had recommended for the job after winning his battle with Jack Pardee nearly a decade earlier.
Beathard and his scouts had brought in players in consultation with the coaches, but Gibbs decided who made the team, and that served as a point of conflict.