AP Sports Writer Jason White (note: probably not the Heisman winner) needs to be stopped. Yesterday he reported on the Archuleta Speaks issue. And today he's got this: Redskins growing weary of Gibbs' year-round routine. The players are openly questioning Joe Gibbs "voluntary" (strangely 95% of the players volunteer) offseason workouts. And some of that criticism sounds right on, to tell you the truth.
If there's one thing that has made coach Joe Gibbs beam with pride over the last two years, it's been the high attendance record -- above 95 percent -- for the offseason workouts and meetings that usually start in March and run three days per week through mid-June. The sessions are technically voluntary, but the coach made it clear he expected the players to attend in the name of team camaraderie -- not to mention the fact that they allowed the coaches to keep a closer watch over the team's most valuable assets.
This seems reasonable enough. You want the team to mesh with one another, you want to structure their offseason so they aren't off killing people. You want to excercise control over your players even after the season ends.
Players disagree. I kind of sort of side with them. Antwaan Randle-El:
We love this place, we love the staff and all that, but when it's your time, you kind of want to take your time for you... You have to be able to monitor yourself -- because you'll burn yourself out come Week 10 of the following season. And when you really need to turn it on for the next six games and push for that playoff run, you won't have it.
Here we all do the same program, no matter if you're a receiver or a D-lineman... But what I need ain't what Santana Moss needs. I need burst, quickness, reaction-type stuff. I'll do what coach Gibbs asks me to do, but I would be lying if I said I didn't want to go back and do what I need to do to get ready. I was a better player when I was doing my own thing.
So instead of powerlifting in the offseason as he did prior to 2004, he's running sprints? He also blames his recent nagging injuries on the offseason workout.
It seems like the one thing we want to do to make ourselves better is taken away from us... I'm not saying don't be here at all, but just give us that right... I feel like we're professionals... Any guy that wants to make something out of this, they're not going to go throw away their offseason. I'm a guy that's serious about my job, and I know that I've got other people depending on me. If I have a chance to work out myself, I will. But not that peaches and cream. You've got to do what the team allows you to do, and that's what it is.
Also from the article (players emphasized):
Fullback Mike Sellers and kick returner Rock Cartwright said they have to do extra work on the side because they feel the Redskins' program doesn't completely suit their needs.
The only good news is that Joe Gibbs, thankfully, will consider change. At 5-10 clearly something isn't working and, if nothing else, Coach Gibbs is a guy who will do what it takes to win.
"One of the things we've talked about is going through the league, seeing what everybody's doing, see what some of the teams that played real well this year did," Gibbs said. "I think that's part of research. We felt like we had a good little scheme going here, but I'm open to anything right now because of the way we started last year and the way we played this year. Everything's on the table, and that's part of it."
One possibility has Gibbs loosening the requirements for offseason workouts and starting training camp earlier in the summer.
"Obviously you've got to be together for a period of time, but you can adjust that in all sorts of ways," Gibbs said.
Sounds good to me. Just do something
to get the players behind the coaches and this football team so we can win in 2007.