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Gibbs Says He'll Take On More Varied Role

With the addition of associate head coach-offense Al Saunders to the Redskins' coaching staff, head coach Joe Gibbs said on Monday that he would take on a more varied role in the organization.

Gibbs, the Hall of Fame coach who also serves as team president, clarified his role during a press conference to introduce Saunders.

"I'll probably be able to re-focus on some things now," Gibbs said. "I'm freed up to do some other things and look at some other areas."

Asked to elaborate, Gibbs replied: "[I'll re-focus on] a lot of things that go on here, in the organization. I could have probably done a better job assisting [special teams coordinator] Danny [Smith] on special teams and spending more attention there. [Assistant head coach-defense] Gregg [Williams] and the defensive guys--they don't need much help on that side, but I think certainly there are a number of places inside the organization where I can help."

Gibbs also said he would assist vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato in player personnel matters.

"Obviously, my job this time is a little different than what it was when I was here before," he said. "There were times last year where I was in tons of meetings just on some of the player things that happen in the offseason."

Saunders, a 24-year NFL coaching veteran, likened Gibbs' position to that of Dick Vermeil, the former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976-82, St. Louis Rams from 1997-99 and Kansas City Chiefs from 2001-05.

Vermeil recently retired as head coach of the Chiefs, a move that helped spur Saunders to come to Washington.

"When Dick came back the first couple of years in St. Louis, he tried to run the offense and do all of those things," Saunders said. "He found that the personnel issues are so extensive with free agency and the draft that he wasn't able to devote more time to the entire organization and running the football team. He was just like coach, an offensive guy involved in the offense all the way through.

"I think he would tell you that he became a better football coach [when he relinquished some of his coaching responsibilities] because he could focus on the overall landscape and the overall picture of the entire football team.

"I think Joe will enjoy being in that special teams meeting every once in a while or go in and sit on the defensive meeting and have enough confidence in us as offensive coaches that we will go in the direction he wants to take this football team."

Gibbs emphasized that he expects to stay closely involved with the offense. And the legendary late-night hours he puts in? That'll continue, too.

"I'll be here every bit," he said. "I'll be pounding it right with the guys. It's always going to be the same for me. I know how hard Al goes after it. I don't plan on any real change for me. I plan on being here every bit, the hours and the minutes it takes. To me, that's the way football is. That's the only way you can do it."

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