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Redskins Playing Football Gibbs’ Way

Dec 22, 2005, 8:11 AM EDT

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As I was watching the game on Tivo the other night, that play reminded me of something I’d seen a long time ago. So, tonight I pulled out my bootleg DVD copy of the 1982 NFC championship game. On the Redskins first offensive play, John Riggins took a handoff and headed towards a similar moving wall. Riggo slammed into the mass of humanity and picked up a gain of six. That also set the tone for the physical domination that the Redskins would enjoy all day long.

What this says is that towards the end of his second season, this is finally a Joe Gibbs team. He started as an offensive line coach and, to him, that’s where offense begins. When most teams design a pass play the emphasis is on pass patterns and timing; for Gibbs, it’s how to protect the quarterback. That’s when passing is necessary, of course. He would rather run the ball and when Jansen, Dockery, Thomas, Rabach, Samuels and, now, Ray Brown are firing out and pushing the other team back, it’s not hard to have a heavy dose of that in the game plan.

A month ago, the Redskins were on pace to give up as many sacks this season as they did in 2003, when Steve Spurrier’s pass protection schemes drew so much criticism. You don’t hear that talk any more after three straight games that were essentially sack-free. The one sack against the Redskins’ record came on that safety in St. Louis, a miscue between Portis and Mark Brunell more than a leak in the O-line.

Gibbs has been back for a while now. It has taken almost two seasons for his teams to catch up with him. Now, to the rest of  the NFL, Gibbs is ba-ack.

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