The House of Joe
By: Les Barnhart 
Posted: 2004-10-06
Category: Washington Redskins News
(built by The Home Depot)

I thought it would be later in the season (or perhaps never) that I would become so disgusted with my fellow Redskin “fans”. You know the ones I am talking about. The ones you had not heard from in years, who came out in droves after the announcement that Coach Gibbs was returning to the sidelines for the beloved Redskins. They brought with them the stories of Gibbs’ first tenure... they said that the team would instantly be returned to the lost glory of days past. With the coaching staff that Gibbs assembled, we would have 200+ years of coaching experience on our sidelines. Some were saying that the Redskins would make the playoffs in Gibbs first year with this team. The team and its beleaguered owner, Dan Snyder, finally had the support of the fans and more importantly, they had respectability and credibility. Yes, that burgundy and gold bandwagon that many of us have been riding for some time suddenly felt crowded.

The jury is still out on the Redskins season. At 1-3 and already losing 2 division games, they certainly haven’t made life easy on themselves. The idea of playoffs seems far off, but then again, you have to walk before you can run. The team that Gibbs and Co. inherited was not a great team, nor was it a “Gibbs” team. Key members of the team had just endured the “Spurrier Experiment” which had left them, the fans and the franchise reeling in terms of the quality of football that was being put on the field. Things were not good in the Redskin Nation. Bringing Gibbs back was a step in the right direction for a franchise that had seemingly lost their way since the day he ended his first tenure. This was a good move for the fans, the franchise and even for the league. However, from a team or player standpoint, Gibbs’ return was like slapping a coat of paint on a condemned house and selling it off as a mansion. For it is what is inside that makes the house. So when Gibbs’ inherited the team, the first thing he did was get rid of the pretty decorations that were collected over the years but really don’t serve a purpose. In their place he put in the essential components that every house needs. Not the shiniest things on the shelf but rather the ones that you can get dirty and use everyday. But like anything else, when you tear something down in order to build it back up, you can do it one of two ways.

The first is, you can just keep throwing money at it and stock the house with everything that money can buy. But in the end, that just leaves you with a bunch of overpriced collectables that don’t really fit in anywhere in the grand scheme of things. The second way is the correct way in that you have one big yard sale followed by a big dumpster being dropped in the driveway. What doesn’t sell at the yard sale goes into the dumpster. But along the way, you find a collectable or two that you feel could be salvaged and used as something productive. Everything else, goes the way of the stale pizza and ugly Christmas sweaters.

Gibbs is one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, that is a fact that can not be disputed. You could try but he has a bust in Canton, Ohio that would prove my point. Anyway, the fact that Gibbs is a great coach is not the question, his needing to be a miracle worker might be. So much pressure has been put on a team with a new coaching staff and a number of new starters that it seems if the Redskins don’t make the playoffs (something they have done only once since Gibbs last coached), the season could be a disappointment. What? A disappointment? The realists that follow this team would call an 8 win season something to brag about. Just beating the skirts off those damn Cowboys would be considered a huge success at this point.

Give Gibbs and his staff some time to mold this team and I believe what we will get will be truly something special. I am not a Redskin apologist by any means and I am ready for a return to the glory we once enjoyed, but nothing worth having ever came easy. We as fans once enjoyed the view from the penthouse and will again someday, for the House of Joe is being built and we will have the best house on the block once again.


--Wingman
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