Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: dcsportsbog and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Joe Gibbs and Don Coryell


(1996 AP photo.)


When Joe Gibbs was hired as the Redskins' 17th head coach in January of 1981, there was one other coaching name in every story: Don Coryell, who died this week at the age of 85. Here's from The Post's A1 story announcing, via sources, that Gibbs was the guy.

It was Gibbs' close professional relationship with Coryell, the Chargers' exciting offense and Gibbs' reputation around the league that attracted the Redskins. Gibbs is an intense, outgoing man with a reputation as a hard worker.

[Jack Kent] Cooke was disenchanted with the Redskins' inconsistent offense this season. He believes the San Diego offense, which capitalizes on new NFL defensive rules, will become standard in the league within a couple of years. Hiring Gibbs, Cooke believes, would get the Redskins into this new, pass-oriented philosophy....

While Coryell is given credit for developing the foundation of that passing offense, Gibbs is considered the man who has refined it to take advantage of the rule changes.

That story listed a host of other coaches who had been considered by the Skins, including John Madden, John Robinson, Tom Bass, Howard Schnellenberger, Darryl Rogers and Floyd Peters Detroit Lions. But Gibbs -- a man who played tight end, linebacker and guard for Coryell at San Diego State, was his backfield coach in St. Louis and then his offensive coordinator in San Diego -- got the call

I'm not going to pretend to be some sort of expert on their relationship -- I was four years old when Gibbs was hired. Coryell presented Gibbs as his Hall of Fame induction in 1996, but that was before I lived in D.C. Gibbs was hired as the genius behind the high-flying San Diego passing attack, and he first found Washington success with the Riggo Drill. But if you've ever listened to Gibbs talk about football, you've likely heard Coryell's name.

"He showed tremendous intensity. He got ready for every game just like he was going to play in it," Gibbs told the AP in 1986. "I watched him from being run-oriented in college to passing almost every down in the pros. Don could adjust to his talent. He'd try anything, make any change. It was a quality I learned from him."

(UPDATE: Gibbs has released a statement about Coryell's death, saying Coryell "truly was an icon in the coaching profession.")

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 2, 2010; 9:41 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Horn Guy talks vuvuzelas
Next: Another dancing Nyjer Morgan interview

Comments

"That story listed a host of other coaches who had been considered by the Skins, including John Madden, John Robinson, Tom Bass, Howard Schnellenberger, Darryl Rogers and Detroit Lions."

Is there really a person named Detroit Lions?

Posted by: 202character | July 2, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I didn't realize the age gap between the two was only 15 years.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 2, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

It's no coincidence that a coach known for a passing attack had great success with the run. A strong, credible downfield threat creates more opportunities for running. For those first few months when Zorn was successful, it was the same - the redskins ran the ball well because, not in spite of, their passing threats.

Posted by: Section406 | July 2, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

202character, I was thinking that the squire felt that perhaps the redskins needed a whole team to coach them.

Posted by: spotter | July 2, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Here is a question, if Dan Snyder had been the owner at the time and was looking to hire a head coach, choosing between: John Madden, John Robinson, Tom Bass, Howard Schnellenberger, Darryl Rogers,Floyd Peters and the unknown Gibbs who would he have chosen. Certainly not Gibbs, probably Madden, Robinson, or Schnellenberger. To me that clearly articulates the problem with Snyder and his decision making and management style.

Posted by: cabraman | July 2, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

>>>Here is a question, if Dan Snyder had been the owner at the time and was looking to hire a head coach, choosing between: John Madden, John Robinson, Tom Bass, Howard Schnellenberger, Darryl Rogers,Floyd Peters and the unknown Gibbs who would he have chosen.

Interesting, but more likely Danny would have hired whomever "blew him away in the interview," and had zero experience as an offensive or defensive coordinator. :D

Posted by: blackjack65 | July 2, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"I watched him from being run-oriented in college to passing almost every down in the pros. Don could adjust to his talent. He'd try anything, make any change. It was a quality I learned from him."
----------------------------------------------------
My, my, the good old days of Don Coryell and Joe Gibbs, coaches that adjusted their game plans to best use their talent. That doesn't work these days, does it Jim Zorn?

Posted by: Lazarus40 | July 2, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company