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Gibbs 'Comfortable' With Team, Role

During the Redskins' June 16-18 mini-camp, head coach Joe Gibbs was asked how he was adjusting to giving up control of the team's offense to Al Saunders.

"It's different," Gibbs admitted. "I guess you could say it's strange. My role is different. But I look at it as, every year you're trying to find new ways to help the team."

Gibbs, who is also team president, wanted to spend more time on the administrative side, including player personnel. He wanted to be more involved in special teams and defense so that there was a greater sense of cohesion in all phases of the organization.

Six weeks later, Gibbs once again discussed his role, this time during his season-opening press conference on Sunday at Redskins Park. Gibbs said he felt the team was "more settled" entering training camp than in the last two years.

-- The Redskins sought to fill holes during the offseason. They brought in Saunders to run the offense and added established talent in wide receivers Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd, safety Adam Archuleta and defensive end Andre Carter.

-- Now, with training camp getting underway on Monday, there are just two positions that could be labeled as a question mark: weak-side linebacker and punter.

-- Those players returning from injury, including quarterback Mark Brunell, defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn and offensive linemen Casey Rabach, Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas, are expected to be ready on the first day of camp.

-- Second-round draft pick Rocky McIntosh, who signed his rookie contract on Sunday night, has also recovered from minor arthroscopic knee surgery in early June. He is expected to practice on Monday.

-- Brunell is Gibbs' starting quarterback heading into the season. Meantime, Todd Collins is a veteran backup and Jason Campbell is young and has plenty of potential. Gibbs said Campbell should see plenty of action this preseason, although he probably would not start a game.

-- Sean Taylor's legal situation in Miami is resolved, for the most part. Gibbs said the team awaits word from the NFL on whether Sean Taylor will be reprimanded by the league for his involvement in the case.

Suddenly, there seems to be very little drama at Redskins Park. And perhaps one reason why is Gibbs, as team president, has put his stamp on the organization as a whole.

"I feel much more comfortable than I did the first year," Gibbs said. "We can build a lot on that. Last year, in the middle of the season, we were in real trouble and then we turned it around and won six games at the end. We saw leadership with the team.

"You have a real good feeling about what kind of individuals you have on the team. We are going to lean on them. The coaching staff is going to help them be the best they can be, but certainly for us, it's sink or swim with your players. I feel good about this group and we love working with them."

Gibbs said the Redskins will have the shortest training camps among all 32 NFL teams: July 31-Aug. 15. The reason? Players put in time during OTAs and offseason work, which is all voluntary, and coaches want to reward them, Gibbs said.

"I told the guys, 'If you do a great job in our off-season program, then I'll have you [report] to camp as late as I can,'" he said.

The Redskins will hold just three two-a-day practice sessions during training camp--hardly the norm for most teams. Practices are typically scheduled for early morning or late afternoon so that players aren't working in excessive heat.

"We practice as late as we can and as early as we can, giving players a break in the middle of the day," Gibbs said.

Under Gibbs, no detail is overlooked and every aspect of the football team is given consideration.

Even though Gibbs has given up control of the offense--his offense for many years--he is doing everything he can to keep the team prepared and focused on winning games.

"I think we have an outstanding group of players and we know that our responsibility in the end is trying to win games," Gibbs said. "That is how you are judged up here--that's the good thing about what we do. It doesn't matter what you think is smart, or what you think is the best way of doing something--it's about winning football games."

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