It lasted only three days, hardly time enough to form permanent impressions. But center Bob Kuziel came out of the Redskins' initial minicamp under Coach Joe Gibbs certain of one thing: the new staff is intent on teaching the players how to win again.
"I think we forgot what it took to win around here last year, I really do." Kuziel said. "But we know these coaches all are winners. They come from winning programs and we are coming off a losing record. It would be dumb for us not to listen to them. You can't argue with success and I believe everyone here wants to be successful. No one liked what happened to us last year."
To say the entire squad has embraced Gibbs and his assistants as enthusiastically as Kuziel may be an exaggeration, but at least the players are approaching the new staff with an open mind, a point that Gibbs also has noticed.
"I thought they had a good attitude," he said yesterday after the final camp practice."No one was laying back or not buying what we were trying to sell. As a coach, you can sense when things aren't going right. Everyone came here wanting to learn. It left me with a good overall feeling."
The camp served as an introduction to what life will be like for the Redskins at training camp. Practices will be crisp, instruction will be intense and players will be corrected repeatedly, yet apparently patiently, when they make mistakes.
Gibbs, who actively participates in practices instead of watching from the sidelines, said the coaching staff and team scouts planned to sit down yesterday afternoon to go over the specific needs of the squad.
"That way, we'll know exactly what we think we need from the draft," he said. "Then we can go out into the field and find those players."
Gibbs said those team needs really haven't changed in his mind since before camp. "The only exception would be tight end. We're in better shape there than I thought. Rick Walker had a good camp, and Don Warren, Bob Raba and Phil DuBois all did well. I feel better about that. Otherwise, we have some depth problems in both lines and at linebacker."
Gibbs was able to install one-third of the offense, thanks in part to the play of quarterback Joe Theismann.
"Joe's attitude and approach to everything was terrific," Gibbs said. "He wants to do the absolute best he can. It's a real professional approach, but it's going to take a while to evaluate what he does the best. You need a little pass rush for that."
The lack of contact at the camp -- pads and tackling were banned -- hindered some of the evaulation process. But Gibbs also came away with good feelings about receiver Art Monk, the Redskin secondary and newcomers like running back George Ragsdale.
"It's good to get this behind us," Gibbs said. "Everything had been so abstract before. Now I know what they look like and they know me. That's an important first step."
Cornerback Lemar Parrish, who did not practice yesterday afternoon after a problem over an airplane ticket, returned today. "We talked and worked it out," Gibbs said . . . Gibbs said defensive end Mat Mendenhall, last year's No. 2 draft choice, has increased his strength "and should really take off now."