- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2006

Eighteen years ago, when the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins were taking turns dominating the NFL in general, Mike Holmgren almost jumped from west to east.

Holmgren, whose Seattle Seahawks play host to the Redskins tomorrow in an NFC Divisional playoff game, said this week that after the 49ers’ Super Bowl win from the 1988 season, he was prepared to fly to the Washington area and interview with Joe Gibbs to coach the quarterbacks. He held the same position with the 49ers.

“But before I could get on the plane, San Francisco offered me the offensive coordinator’s job,” Holmgren said. “All of our contracts were up after the Super Bowl and Coach [Bill] Walsh had just retired. So we didn’t know what was going to happen and I was in a panic. When George Seifert was hired as coach, he called me and offered me the [coordinator] job.”

Holmgren won another Super Bowl with the 49ers the next season, became a head coach in Green Bay in 1992 and won his only Super Bowl as a head coach in the 1996 season.

Gibbs and Holmgren have combined for 26 playoff wins and four Super Bowl titles (three for Gibbs).

Gibbs eventually hired Jack Burns as the quarterbacks coach, and Burns is currently an offensive assistant for the Redskins.

Gibbs’ and Holmgren’s paths first crossed in 1969 at Southern Cal when Gibbs was an assistant coach and Holmgren a senior.

“Anytime someone wants to compare me to Joe Gibbs, it’s a compliment,” Holmgren said. “He’s one off the guys that if I could pattern my coaching after, he would certainly be one of the guys I’ve admired for a long, long time. He’s one of the best ever.”

Prioleau finds niche

The play of Redskins safety Pierson Prioleau has gone largely unnoticed this season. That’s the way it goes when you play the same position as headliner Sean Taylor and play a lot of special teams.

Prioleau played in 15 regular-season games, starting six. He had 42 tackles and added five last week against Tampa Bay after Taylor was ejected. Prioleau is fourth on the team with 18 special teams tackles.

“There were no promises made to me when I came here,” he said. “I knew the secondary was pretty good and had a whole bunch of safeties that could play the game. If I was a starter, I would take that with open arms and if my role was as a substitute or situational player and special teams leader, I would love that, too. I’m satisfied with how things have gone.”

Prioleau, 28, joined the Redskins during the offseason after spending the last four seasons with Buffalo, where he played for current assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams and safeties coach Steve Jackson.

“He’s one of those guys that hopefully people will really find out about because he’s extremely professional and has great preparation,” Gibbs said. “He knows the game plan inside and out. He got thrown in there [last week] and played a lot for us in tough situations.”

Prioleau started the season’s first two games, but injured his hamstring early in the Dallas game in Week 2, causing him to miss the Redskins’ win over Seattle. He was a fill-in starter for Ryan Clark against Kansas City and Taylor in the regular-season loss to Tampa Bay.

“When I was injured, it set me back a little bit,” Prioleau said. “I wasn’t playing as much on special teams or defense. But as I became healthier, I got the chance to play more teams and work my way back into the scheme a little more.”

Extra points

The Redskins were scheduled to have a 90-minute practice/walkthrough at their facility yesterday before flying to Seattle and arriving around 8 p.m. PST. …

The Redskins have won four consecutive road games for the first time since 2001. They are 5-4 on the road and, not including the 36-0 stinker at the Giants, the other three defeats have been by a combined 10 points. “We couldn’t close games out last year on the road,” linebacker Marcus Washington said. “We’ve done a little better this year and it’s a tribute to the way we work. We have a different attitude when we got out there.” …

Since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990, the top seed in the NFC is 15-0 in the Divisional round.

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