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Predictably, Joe Gibbs hates the schedule

Which surprises no one, as he always hates the schedule. Per a busy Mark Maske in this morning's Post:

The NFL released its regular season schedule yesterday and Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs, as always, regarded the development as bad news...

"I always kind of start out saying, 'I never saw one I liked,' " Gibbs said at Redskins Park soon after the schedule was unveiled.

What specifically irked Coach? You can watch his press conference at the official site (as of right now it is the top link on Redskins TV on the frontpage). He doesn't like opening two of the three first games against NFC East opponents, he doesn't like closing two of three against NFC East opponents, and he doesn't like the Bye Week after just three games.

Given that nearly 40% of our games necessarily are against NFC East opponents, I don't think there's really any satisfactory way to schedule those games. If we had one to open and one to close, Gibbs would likely express frustration with the clumping of games in mid season. That said, on a personal note I much prefer a skeptical, unhappy Coach to one who is overly confident. Although often times last year the product on the field didn't suggest it to be the case, Joe Gibbs took every game seriously and viewed it as a legitimate challenge. Even while the rest of the team was proclaiming itself Super Bowl champions, Gibbs' optimism remained muted throughout.

Coach did stress starting strong, which is a good move in my opinion. Despite struggling mid season, the 2005 postseason Redskins did open 3-0. Fans place differing levels of emphasis on the mental aspect of a Football season, though count me firmly among the ranks of those that think confidence is built and accumulated and has a noticeable effect on a team's production.

We'll see a change in how this team approaches the Preseason (emphasis mine):

He gave his players a relatively light training camp workload last summer, and that was followed by a winless preseason and a sluggish start to a 5-11 season. This time around, Gibbs is vowing to change everything. He is allowing players to have their offseason workouts away from Redskins Park if they choose, but he and his assistants are planning a more strenuous training camp that starts earlier, and Gibbs might push his players harder during the exhibition season.

"It will certainly be important for us to start a lot better than we did last year," Gibbs said yesterday. "We kind of got ourselves in a mess last year."

Speculation begin! Will CP be forced to play in the preseason again? What would happen if he sustained a major injury? Again? I'm interested to see where this goes specifically on the field, and look forward to hopefully entering the 2007 regular season anything but 0-4. A quick search of Hogs Haven archives reveals my ominous insouciant dismissal of the preseason. Never again.