- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2008

A month ago, Greg Blache was contemplating retirement following his 36th season of coaching.

Yesterday, Blache said his intense passion for coaching and affinity for his players brought him back to the Washington Redskins and in a new role — defensive coordinator replacing the fired Gregg Williams.

Blache, 58, spoke publicly for the first time since January 2006 and said the Redskins will not change their scheme. He also said he wants cornerback Shawn Springs to return and is encouraged by cornerback Carlos Rogers’ rehabilitation from knee surgery.

Most of all, he heaped praise on new Redskins coach Jim Zorn.

“Awesome,” Blache said. “We have common friends, and what they alluded to is true. Everybody I talked to, they don’t say, ‘good guy.’ They say, ‘great guy.’ They don’t say, ‘good coach.’ They say, ‘great coach.’ And meeting with him, he comes across that way.”

Blache was hired Jan. 26 to replace Williams, the same day Zorn officially replaced Al Saunders. It was a somewhat surprising decision by Blache considering he had not committed to coaching anywhere in 2008 and didn’t know who his boss would be.

“I considered it because when you get to be my age, you always evaluate your life and see where you are and what you want to do,” he said. “I love coaching. If I could only coach football, I’d do it until I was 80 or 90. It’s the other things — time with your family, other things you like to do — that you miss.

“Retirement was possible, but I love my players, I love what I do and I want to come back and spend time with them and continue what we’re doing.”

Blache coached the Redskins’ defensive line the last four years and was Chicago’s defensive coordinator for five seasons. He found the time coaching a position to be gratifying.

“I had so much fun the last four years coaching guys as opposed to standing around and being an administrator,” he said. “I’ll be a hands-off coordinator. I’ll step back from the drills, and it will be hard to not put my two cents in during those D-line drills.”

Zorn said Blache will have complete control of the defense, much like Williams did with Joe Gibbs.

“Greg will control the entire defense,” Zorn said. “He and I will work together, and I’m looking forward to his scheme. He’s got his ideas, and he’s going to bring ideas from what he’s had before he got here, meld them together and I can’t wait to see what he’s got in store. I’m going to leave that alone.”

An early decision for Zorn and Blache to make — and it may not be in their hands — is Springs’ future. If he returns, the Redskins would like to cut his salary. But with Rogers working his way back and few affordable free agent options, the team may not have a choice but to let Springs play out the final year of his contract.

“I would love to have Shawn Springs back,” Blache said. “He’s one of the first guys I called when I got the position. I have great respect for him. He had one of the great seasons of his career.”

Blache’s philosophy with the Bears didn’t include a lot of blitzing. Williams didn’t blitz as much during the 2007 season, either.

“We’ll continue to do what we’ve done to be successful,” Blache said. “I’m not a big stats guy. I look at each game as a fight. Sometimes you have to bob, sometimes you have to weave and sometimes you have to knock that sucker out.

“To say there will be more or less blitzing, I can’t answer that right now. … Some weeks, it may be more blitzes; other weeks, it may be more zone.”

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