The Washington Times - January 10, 2008, 12:18PM
Redskins

\ 1. Joe Gibbs will never coach another NFL game. When he finished his season-ending briefing on Monday night, what was your gut take - he’s simply negotiating an extension for him and his staff or he’s really thinking about retirement?\

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\ Lindsay: Once the Redskins beat Minnesota, I had a gut feeling that this would be it for Coach. I can’t say why but seeing him after that win, I felt like he had a different ease about him and that’s when I came to my personal conclusion that no matter what happened from there on out, he could walk away from the game and feel great about what his team had done (at that point, winning three in a row). So on Monday, when he was non-committal, I really thought he was going to announce his retirement. I didn’t expect him to do it the next morning, but I felt like it would be the final scene in the end of the Hollywood movie that should be made about this season: Coach, saying “thanks, but no thanks” with a big smile on his face.\

\ Ryan: Not until I got official word Tuesday around 9 a.m. did I really think he was going to retire. I was always of the opinion that Joe would coach out his contract barring a personal health scare. But as Earnest Byner said yesterday, looking back, there were indicators. Joe really talked about spending time with his family and those precious moments in the last few months - that should have been a sign he’s thinking about retirement. And even though the Redskins rebounded from the Timeout Debacle, that could have also been a sign to Joe that it was time. Giving credit where it’s due, Lindsay correctly predicted Monday afternoon at the Park that Joe was retiring - in 2-4 weeks. A bet was made and I lost … again.\

\ 2. What were your impressions of the 54-minute press conference on Tuesday. Was anything surprising said or not said?\

\ Lindsay: I felt surprised that I had sympathy for Dan Snyder because I can’t begin to imagine how disappointing this must be for him. I was both happy and shocked that Coach seemed so clearly at peace and excited about his decision. I not even once thought that he wasn’t doing exactly what he wanted and knew he should be doing. He was so in command. I was surprised that Snyder said the last time he talked to Bill Cowher was six years ago.\

\ Ryan: I feel shocked/stunned that Lindsay had sympathy for The Danny. I, well, didn’t. He’s just so non-impressive as a public speaker and given the chance to pontificate about the state of the franchise, he gave us a story about how he and Joe’s wife text message. So the heck what. It wasn’t surprising that Joe didn’t give an endorsement of Gregg Williams because he didn’t want to hang The Danny out to dry in case he doesn\0x2019t choose Williams. It was also amusing that The Danny said the front office structure wasn’t broke. Two playoff wins in 10 years. A 31-36 record the last four seasons. OK.\

\ 3. The players have overwhelming endorsed Gregg Williams to be Gibbs’ successor. How poor a decision would it be for The Danny to hire somebody from outside the team?\

\ Lindsay: It would be a grand mistake. I think this is a time when continuity is a must and I’m concerned that if someone else comes in, Gregg Williams gets a job somewhere else and I do not want to see him leave this team. I don’t want to see a change in defensive scheme but also I think he is a real motivator. I want to know more about the dynamic between Williams and Saunders because I want to see them both stay. Ultimately, I don’t think this team needs an overhaul and that is my fear with someone coming in from the outside. You keep it internal, you have no excuses, you give the new coach power of personnel and you have a team that has grown in a unique way and will make a run to the playoffs.\

\ Ryan: It would be a blunder … except if they can get Bill Cowher. If The Danny can lure Cowher away from television and North Carolina a year before he was expected to return to the NFL, then you have to look at that. But when Cowher says no thanks, the best option is Williams. And that’s not because he’ll become the next Belichick. It’s the best thing to do right now. Jason Campbell doesn’t need to learn a new system. The defense needs to stay in a 4-3 scheme. I think the dynamic between Williams and Saunders would work - Gregg the head coach would give Al the offensive play caller more freedom to be aggressive and wouldn’t meddle as much as Joe did. I would not give Gregg last call on personnel \0x2013 it has to remain a collaborative effort since a GM isn’t likely to be hired in the near future.\

\ 4. Two-parter - A) You’re the owner - who do you hire. B) You’re the coach - which key assistants do you retain?\

\ Lindsay: I love this game!!!! A) If I’m the owner, I hire Gregg Williams as my head coach and I look long and hard at linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti at the spot of defensive coordinator. B) If I’m the coach, I retain the majority of my staff, including Al Saunders. I need a new linebackers coach since I bump up K.O. as they call him to coordinator.\ \0xA0

\ Ryan: A) Hire Williams. But I also make major changes to the front office and work with Williams to find a personnel chief that can take care of the behind-the-scenes stuff. That would require some house-cleaning. B) As the coach, I would definitely keep Saunders and Bill Lazor on offense because they’re key to Campbell’s development. I’d probably keep Joe Bugel. On defense, I’d try and steal Dick LeBeau from Pittsburgh but when the Steelers balk, I’d promote Jerry Gray to run the defense.\

\ 5. A question about the Seattle game: When the Redskins led 14-13 and then recovered a pooch kickoff, were you thinking in the press box, “I should start looking at flights to Dallas,” or “Another fourth-quarter flop is looming.”?\ \0xA0

\ Lindsay: I was amongst the media texting our office to say “never mind” to cutting the plays that we had selected to describe the Redskins loss. What began the momentum shift for me was the Cooley catch and then, when I saw Landry make those two picks, I couldn’t help but think that this was another one for Sean. When Santana Moss got the touchdown, I thought it was a done deal. I have to say though, that when the Redskins lost, I found it so symbolic of the season. The string of great plays to put them in position to beat the Seahawks only to be stopped in their tracks. They looked especially worn out to me at the end and I thought this team deserved to feel proud for what they’d accomplished, despite the loss. \

\ Ryan: I had already booked my travel to Dallas since I was heading there regardless of the result but had the Redskins scored a touchdown after the recovered kickoff, it would have been 21-13 and that would have been enough for them to hold on. But when Shaun Suisham missed a field goal and it remained 14-13, I figured it was over. Like Lindsay said, the story of this Redskins team on the field is that they\0x2019re good enough to put themselves into position to win but not great enough to actually cash in on all of those opportunities.\

\ BONUS 6. The new coach will have some personnel decisions to make with free agents and those with high salary cap numbers. Staying or going - Collins, Cartwright, Springs, Griffin, Jansen, Thomas, Daniels, Godfrey, Caldwell, Prioleau?\

\ Lindsay: Staying - Cartwright, Springs, Griffin, Daniels, Jansen should be a definite as far as I’m concerned. I think Collins will be hard to retain because anyone can see it was no “fluke” that he did so well last season. The others, I could see remaining, but am not certain.\

\ Ryan: All bets are off if Williams doesn’t get the job. But assuming he does … Cartwright will get more money elsewhere and depart. Collins stays when nobody offers him a legitimate chance to win a starting job. Griffin and Daniels re-work their deals to stay. Springs hangs around because he\0x2019s loyal to Gregg. Caldwell and Prioleau won\0x2019t return. Tough decisions need to be made on Jansen and Thomas but I think they ultimately are asked back.\ \0xA0

\ BONUS 7. Who you got in this weekend’s playoff games - Seahawks-Packers, Jaguars-Patriots, Chargers-Colts and Giants-Cowboys?\

\ Lindsay: Seahawks over Packers (love the Brett Favre story, but I’m on Hasselbeck’s bandwagon). Patriots over Jags, Colts over Chargers and Giants over Cowboys (cut Eli a break!!!!)\

\ Ryan: Packers (close), Patriots (by 10 or more), Colts (in a rout) and Giants (in a high-scoring game).