- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2004

Washington Redskins assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams said yesterday he plans to remain with the club in his current role for some time, and has no current aspirations to become an NFL head coach again.

“From the very first day I got here, I told the guys I’m here — I’m here for as long as [owner] Dan [Snyder] wants me to be here,” Williams said. “I can’t say how many years, but I’m going to be here for quite awhile. I’ve got kids in school in this community that are more important to me than picking up and going around the league and coaching everywhere else.”

Head coach of the Buffalo Bills for three seasons before joining Joe Gibbs in Washington, Williams has been receiving national attention for his work with the Redskins’ injury-plagued defense. Entering Sunday’s game against Cincinnati, the unit ranks first in the NFL in total defense, first in average yards a play, first in third-down efficiency and third in scoring defense. All this despite lingering injuries to linebackers LaVar Arrington and Mike Barrow, defensive end Phillip Daniels and safety Matt Bowen.

Though his name has yet to come up in regards to any specific head jobs, Williams is likely to be the subject of rumors once the season ends and positions become open.

The situation bears some resemblance to the one Marvin Lewis faced two years ago when he left the Redskins after one season as defensive coordinator to become the Bengals’ head coach. Williams insists he is not using his current job as a steppingstone to something bigger and that he wants to be on Gibbs’ staff as long as the Hall of Fame coach remains in Washington.

“This organization needs continuity,” said Williams, who some players have privately suggested could succeed Gibbs when the latter retires. “That’s why they hired Joe Gibbs. And quite honestly, that was one of the things behind the scenes that Joe and I talked long and hard about — the continuity with him and I.”

Roster loophole

The Redskins signed wide receiver Gari Scott to the practice squad and released defensive back Omare Lowe late yesterday afternoon, a seemingly insignificant transaction that actually brought to light a tactic the club has discovered to get around the league’s roster regulations.

Several onlookers at practice were surprised to find both Scott and Lowe in uniform two days after the club announced it had released Scott. That gave the Redskins nine players on what by NFL rules is supposed to be an eight-man practice squad.

The club, though, has found a loophole in the league’s roster rules that allows it to carry an extra man. According to team officials, an unsigned player can participate in the daily afternoon workout so long as he is officially signed to the roster (and another player released) by 4p.m. EST.

Thus, the Redskins were able to dress nine practice squad players yesterday before formally whittling it down to the required eight-man limit at the end of the day by cutting Lowe.

The only catch? Washington must be willing to pay for the services of the extra man. Practice squad players make $73,950 a year, so Lowe received 1/17th of that ($4,350) for what amounted to two days of work.

The Redskins have used this tactic several times this season, signing and releasing players to their practice squad nearly every week in an effort to put extra bodies in uniform.

NFL officials did not return phone calls seeking confirmation of the obscure roster rule.

O-lineman plays D-line

Rookie offensive tackle Jim Molinaro saw his first professional action on a play from scrimmage in Sunday’s 17-10 win over Detroit. Molinaro, though, made his debut in a most unlikely place: on defense.

After starting defensive end Phillip Daniels went down with a groin injury during the game, the Redskins found themselves short a defensive lineman. Since Williams often uses five down linemen in goal-line situations, he had no choice but to summon Molinaro to play nose tackle on a fourth-quarter play at the 1-yard line.

“My job is pretty easy: I just line up at the nose, hit the gaps and keep the linemen off the linebackers,” said Molinaro, a sixth-round pick from Notre Dame. “I played defense my first three years in college. But I never thought my first actual, regular game [in the NFL] would come on the D-line.”

Molinaro’s time on defense was brief. Lions quarterback Joey Harrington tossed a touchdown pass to fullback Cory Schlesinger on first down, and Molinaro returned to the sideline after that.w

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