- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 26, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS — Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs took a practice-what-you-preach philosophy to rationalize giving up the primary play-calling duties and hiring Al Saunders as associate head coach last month.

“If I’m somebody that says the team is important and the players and coaches need to sacrifice and I then see an opportunity to help the football team and don’t do it — I would be going against the basic principal of what I preach,” Gibbs said yesterday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Saunders will direct the offensive staff, allowing Gibbs to float around to other aspects of the organization.

“It will allow me to focus on things where I can help the football team,” Gibbs said. “It’s tough when you’re in meetings and the coaches are waiting on you. I can already see that we’re farther down the road on some things by doing what we’re doing.”

Before coming to Indianapolis, the Redskins offensive staff began the process of adapting the playbook to Saunders and vice versa.

“We’re working our way through the terminology and getting on the same page language-wise and how we’re going to call things,” offensive coordinator Don Breaux said. “Some of the terminology is the same, but other times it’s the same word but as different meanings. But it’s not going to be a problem.”

Gibbs reiterated that Saunders is a “natural fit” for the Redskins.

“Al’s a big proponent of Don Coryell’s numbering system and structure of offense. I felt we made a big jump on offense this year, and meshing what Al’s doing, hopefully it will help us.”

No races for Sinorice

Miami (Fla.) receiver Sinorice Moss said he hasn’t raced his older brother, Redskins receiver Santana Moss, since the two were in junior high.

“[Santana] would give us a head start and still catch us,” Sinorice said.

Sinorice is only 5-foot-8, 185 pounds but said the performance of Santana and Carolina’s Steve Smith will open doors for smaller receivers.

“They showed that small receivers can make big plays and do the same kinds of things as the guys who are 6-2 and 6-3,” he said. “Smaller receivers can get the job done, too.”

Around the combine

Louisville defensive lineman Elvis Dumeril said Virginia Tech’s Marcus Vick approached him this weekend to apologize for stomping on his calf in last month’s Gator Bowl. “We talked about it, and I have a lot of respect for him coming up to me,” Dumeril said. …

Offensive linemen and running backs worked out yesterday. Among the linemen, Oklahoma’s Chris Chester ran the best 40-yard time (4.88 seconds), and UCLA’s Maurice Drew led the backs with a 4.39-second mark. …

Gibbs has been by far the most popular coach among autograph seekers. Twice yesterday he spent considerable time walking and signing, and security guards were summoned to control the crowd.

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