Jun 16, 2008, 8:21 AM EDT
Notes on the News
Gibbs’ departure allows the world to be let in on a little secret: Bugel really isn’t a night owl. All those infamous late-night meetings when Gibbs would meet with the coaching staff until the garbage truck arrived at Redskins Park in the wee hours of the morning? That’s not Bugel’s style.
‘I like early bird,’ Bugel said. ‘I get here about 5:30, quarter to 6 every morning. I have an easy time getting up. Joe didn’t like to start until 9 or 10 o’ clock.’
That meshes well with Zorn, who gets to work early and plans to goes home at a decent hour.
‘This is an early bunch,’ Bugel said, ‘and I kind of like it.’
So, now it’s out. All of those years, Joe Gibbs kept the meetings going until nearly dawn and all the while Joe Bugel was wanting to hit the sack.
I thought that it was a forgone conclusion that when Gibbs left, Buges would go back into retirement as well. For his first couple of years back, I was thinking that he should have stayed retired. He was given two 2004 draft picks to develop in Mark Wilson and Jim Molinaro. Neither one panned out. Jon Jansen went out during the first preseason game with an Achilles tear and the team had to pull Ray Brown out of retirement to play right tackle. The nickname he came up with for his charges, The Dirtbags, never took hold because they didn’t accomplish anything worthy of gaining a moniker.
Bugel had failed to do what a coach is paid to do, develop talent and make things work when things aren’t going well.
The last couple of years, however, he has regained his form. Ladell Betts was able to gain 1,000 yards rushing in a little more than half a season when Clinton Portis was injured in 2006. Last year he coached up rookie free agent Stephon Heyer to the point where he filled in ably for an again-injured Jansen. Jason Fabini moved inside to guard to replace injured Randy Thomas and held his own.
This year, Bugel has the highest rookie o-line draft pick he’s had since he’s been back in Chad Reinhart plus some rookie free agents with potential in Kerry Brown and Andrew Crummey. A couple of years ago, my confidence that he could make players out of the potential would have been very limited. Now, there is hope.
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