It’s “Dallas Week” in Washington, which is a one-week celebration, twice each year when the Redskins play the Cowboys. I despise the Cowboys and everything about them. I don’t care who Tony Romo is dating this week. I don’t care how wonderful Terrell Owens¹ is. I don’t care how this season ranks in the history of seasons in Dallas history. There’s one story line for me: win and we’re in the playoffs.
Obviously there are multiple reasons why this is improbable. Sean Taylor’s death is the largest and longest lingering, of course. The franchise will never be the same. But there’s also the injuries, starting with half the offensive line, and concluding with the loss of quarterback Jason Campbell. Yet, we’re still in position to make the playoffs. For me, there’s one specific reason: Joe Gibbs.
Throughout our recent struggles, many focused on Coach Gibbs’ mistakes. The complaints are valid. But no one is perfect. The point is not that the coach must do everything right. He must be the best person for the job. And Coach Gibbs’ leadership through adversity demonstrates why he’s a Hall of Famer and why he’s still the right man for his job. I will make no calls for his dismissal, now or in the future.
Former Redskin Doc Walker makes the case, via Michael Wilbon’s column:
“They lost the guys who were supposed to be the right side of the offensive line, Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas, essentially for the entire season. Shawn Springs’s father is in a coma and he’s traveling back and forth to see his dad. You’ve got a free agent rookie [Stephon Heyer] starting at right guard. You’ve got the whole team flying to a funeral and playing the Bears three days later. You’ve got your franchise quarterback going down in that very game, then you’ve got the backup quarterback’s wife giving birth . . . on the eve of his first start in 10 years, then coming out and going 0 for 8 but steadying himself to win the game. It’s a movie. We can’t imagine how difficult it is to manage all that. But Joe knows how to manage in the chaos. Go all the way back to his 0-5 start in his very first season as head coach. That was so chaotic. But he believed. Even if you don’t believe initially, he does. And he just doesn’t waver.”
I’ve always believed. Watching him coach through his first tenure made me understand how important it is to not waver in my trust in him. When he took over, the franchise was a mess. We couldn’t win, we had no stability, and the pride in being a Redskin had disappeared. We’re still struggling at times on the first count due to Campbell’s inexperience, although we’re going in the right direction. On the latter two points, there can be no debate that Coach Gibbs has brought those two back to Washington. I’d vote for him for president, if he ran. I’d write his name in next November, except his winning would mean he wouldn’t be head coach of the Redskins any longer. He could do both, though.
In the cruelest misfortune of the week, I had tickets to today’s game. I planned to take my younger brother to the game, his first NFL experience. But I’ve picked up some nasty cold that is not conducive to sitting in rainy 40-degree weather. This team is worth getting sicker for, but I want to be healthy for next week’s showdown with the Seahawks in the playoffs.
If we win, of course. Just win.
¹ He’s so wonderful that he needed to push off the defender – offensive pass interference – to score one of his touchdowns against the Redskins in Dallas. With a referee 10 feet away. That’s official deference to a storyline, not calling the game as it happens. He’s good, but not as good as he’s allowed to be through leaving the yellow flag in the waistband.