Two hours later the door to the Redskin Park film room opened, at last, and the Hogs' blowout session was over.
One by one, the Washington Redskins' offensive linemen walked out, looking like so many scolded children heading for the stool in the corner.
"I'm a veteran and I've been around long enough to know when not to talk," right guard Ken Huff said.
"I'm not saying anything," said right tackle Mark May. "The only thing I want to do is get better."
All-pro left guard Russ Grimm didn't offer a word, either. He walked away from a reporter. A bit later, Joe Bugel sat on a desk and the assistant head coach known as Boss Hog said, "I'll be honest with you. Right now, I'm sick to my stomach. We've got good players. There is no excuse for us to lose like that.
"Our intensity was bad and it showed up on the game film . . . Right now, we're going through some tough times. I'm a very bad loser. And I'm a worse loser when we're making technical errors because that's a reflection on the coaches.
"I must have run each play (on the projector) five times, once for each down lineman. I started with May and told him his corrections. I went to Huff, then to (center Rick) Donnalley, then to Grimm and to (left tackle Joe) Jacoby and made sure they all understood things and to see if they had any questions. I wanted them to understand where I was coming from."
Truth be told, Bugel was coming from anger. He is accustomed to seeing plays like 50-Gut powering fullback John Riggins through the Hogs right into the Super Bowl. It's happened that way for the last two seasons.
Sunday, however, the New York Giants beat the Redskins, 37-13, in the Meadowlands and the Hogs seemed nearly submissive. Worst of all, the Redskins' running game netted just 79 yards on 23 carries.
"It wasn't so much what the Giants did to us," Bugel said. "It was what we did to ourselves. Everybody on the whole offensive team: one guy would miss a block, one guy would miss a pass. It was just one guy would do one thing wrong on every single play."
Bugel is 44. He crafted the offensive line at Houston (1977-80) that helped Earl Campbell make his legend. Since, Bugel has shaped the line that allowed Riggins to score his NFL-record 24 touchdowns last year and to post his career-best numbers in the autumn of his career.
The last few weeks have provided Bugel's ultimate test. All-pro center Jeff Bostic's season was ended by a knee injury in St. Louis two weeks ago. He was replaced by Donnalley, who was acquired from Pittsbugh in late August. Right tackle George Starke, 36, has had knee troubles that have precipitated the long-expected move of May from right guard to right tackle and Huff into the lineup at right guard.
Although Starke's knee should be well enough for him to play Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons in RFK Stadium, according to Coach Joe Gibbs, Bugel said Starke won't start. In fact, Bugel added, barring further injuries Starke will become a backup tackle to Jacoby and May.
Loyalty to his Hogs is the cornerstone of Bugel's coaching. There is no such thing as demotion, just rearrangement. He said, "Here's my thinking: May is healthy, Huff is healthy. I'm going to play the healthy guys. Until George gets totally healthy, he's going to be a backup, the swing man. I'm not going to play a guy with a bad knee.
"I think that Mark May's (best) position is tackle . . . I think if we played George in just certain periods, I think he could play two to three more years. He's a valuable asset to our football team . . . I explained that to George. He knows his role."
Bugel also is worried about Grimm, who has been bothered by a groin pull since the Dallas game three weeks ago. "That groin injury has not healed and it's going to take rest," the coach said. "We're going to have to make a decision on how much practice time he will get. He's not playing 100 percent. He's been playing in pain. The thing keeps swelling on him."
Most of all, Bugel said, he wants to limit the line changes. "We've got to stabilize this thing," he said. "It's bad enough to lose a center (Bostic). I don't want to play checkers now."
Bugel said he was pleased with Donnalley's performance Sunday. "I think he'll fill that position admirably for us."
He said he was not disappointed in the pass-blocking, either. Quarterback Joe Theismann was sacked three times, which, perhaps, is to be expected when he throws 41 passes. In fact, the Hogs have yielded 18 sacks in nine games, a ratio superior to their average in each of the last two seasons, when they allowed 40 in 13 games in 1982 and 44 in 19 games last season.
It's the run blocking that concerns Bugel. The Redskins have the No. 2-ranked rush offense in the league now, averaging 157 yards per game. Only Chicago averages more.
The Giants frustrated the Redskins with a new defensive alignment. Instead of their normal 3-4 formation, they pinched their two inside linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage and let outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor rove.
The Redskins' counterstrategy was not the problem, Bugel said. The problem was the players trying to carry it out. They didn't.
"The things we did to combat that (new defensive alignment) were excellent, but the guys just did not do the job," Bugel said. "I think the Giants tried to confuse the schemes. We're a very big zone (blocking) team; we (the Hogs) help each other a lot.
"When the Giants covered everybody (on the line) and put an extra (fifth) guy in there, too, it breaks down our zone-blocking theories and now it's all one-on-one blocking. They also put (Taylor) in an advantageous position where we didn't have a chance to get to him.
"But we actually had better plays called where we could have outexecuted their defense. That's what upsets us. I'll show you the film to back it up. We missed three (run) plays that could have gotten 45 yards each and instead of 45 we got six yards on them. We didn't want six. We wanted 40. We get those three plays and it's a different game."
Bugel shook his head. "I'm bitter," he said. "I don't think we should have lost the game."