- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ASHBURN, Va. | Joe Gibbs approves of the Washington Redskins’ choice of Mike Shanahan as coach.

Gibbs and Shanahan, the two living coaches who have won Super Bowls and worked for the Redskins, stood together Wednesday at Redskins Park for the first time.

“We’re all excited about Mike coming on board … a proven guy,” Gibbs said. “He’s got a formula. He’s got a scheme that he believes in that’s been super-successful. I’ve always had great respect for him.”

Indeed, Shanahan is second among active coaches with 154 victories, seven of which came in the 1997 and 1998 playoffs when he directed the Denver Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl triumphs. New England’s Bill Belichick is the only other coach to win two in a row during the salary cap era.

Gibbs, another of the 10 NFL coaches to win multiple Super Bowls — three in Washington — also led the Redskins to four conference titles and 10 playoff appearances during his 14 seasons (1981-92 and 2004-07). Shanahan coached the Los Angeles Raiders (1998-89) and Broncos (1995-2008) for 16 seasons, reaching the playoffs seven times.

Gibbs said he hasn’t offered Shanahan any football advice, instead talking about working for Redskins owner Dan Snyder as well as the challenges of coaching in the nation’s capital, a city with such a passionate fan base.

“The one thing that unites everybody is the football team,” said Gibbs, who flew in from his North Carolina home to attend a banquet for the Youth For Tomorrow group home he founded in 1986. “For all of us, the last couple of years were extremely hard. I told (Mike) what I thought he had in Dan, somebody that has a burning desire to win. I never had any excuses when I was here. We lost football games, it was my fault, because Dan did anything he could to support me.”

Shanahan, who replaced Gibbs’ successor Jim Zorn in January, recalled visiting the Redskins as a first-year Broncos assistant in 1984.

“Any time you win three Super Bowls, people expect a very high standard,” Shanahan said. “Hopefully, that’s what I’m here for: to add to it.”

In hopes of doing so, Shanahan has signed five free agents in 13 days, with Wednesday’s addition of quarterback Rex Grossman. Grossman played last year for the Houston Texans under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Mike’s son who now holds the same job with the Redskins. None of the five newcomers was a starter last season, although Grossman, running back Larry Johnson, guard Artis Hicks and nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu have all been regulars in previous years.

“We’re going to try to work every day to find the right guy,” Shanahan said. “We want competition.”

Shanahan said he has been very pleased with the high percentage of players participating in the offseason conditioning program, which began Monday.

“I like what we have (seen) so far, but it’s a long offseason,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep it going.”

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