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Unhappy Gibbs Sends a Message

Head coach Joe Gibbs has been upset before, certainly--but not like Saturday night.

He walked into the post-game press conference room at FedExField, 10 minutes after the Redskins had lost to the New York Jets by a score of 27-14 in a preseason matchup, and was surprisingly terse in his comments.

The day after, Gibbs had calmed down somewhat. But he was still unhappy with his team's showing so far this preseason.

And he wants his players to know it.

"I thought we would play with great effort," Gibbs said on Sunday. "We talked about it, and then we play like that. You get upset about it and you get concerned about it. There's no reason we should play like that."

He added: "If there is good news out of this, it is that we are all together, on offense, defense and special teams. Maybe there is something I can do for everybody to get better."

The Redskins dropped to 0-2 on the preseason. Combined with the team's Aug. 13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington has been outscored 46-17 in both exhibition contests this year.

Asked to assess how well players are picking up the new offense under Al Saunders, Gibbs instead pointed to costly mistakes. In two preseason games, the offense turned the ball over six times, five on interceptions. That's an alarming trend for Gibbs and the Redskins' offensive coaching staff.

"We stepped up in some areas, but one of the biggest things is turning the ball over," he said. "If you turn the ball over three times, you're chances of winning the game is less than 10 percent. If nothing else, it's that one category."

Gibbs said that, in next week's Week 3 preseason game against the New England Patriots, he may look to play starters and first-team units longer. Starters have only played about 13 snaps per game so far this preseason.

"We may look at the time the groups are playing, maybe to get them in longer to get a groove," he said. "But I don't it is scheming or getting it, it's just playing it and making plays."

Gibbs characterized the Redskins' special teams showing as "poor."

The unit allowed an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jets rookie Leon Washington, as well as a 47-yard kickoff return by Justin Miller. Khary Campbell, Nehemiah Broughton and Robert McCune were flagged with penalties on punts and kickoffs.

"We had three penalties on special teams which cost us about 50 yards in field position," Gibbs said. "On kickoff coverage, we were really disappointed in some people there."

The team is looking closely at the punting competition between Derrick Frost and David Lonie--not only for the punting job, but also as the primary kicker on kickoffs.

Frost logged four punts for a 42.0-yard average, including a long of 56 yards. Lonie had one punt for 46 yards.

While Frost was solid at punting, his kickoff to Washington landed at the 13-yard line. It did not have great hang time and allowed Washington to use his speed to break through the Redskins' coverage units. Washington slipped by Frost's would-be tackle and raced down the left sideline for the score.

Defensively, there appears less to worry about. The first-team unit applied steady pressure on Jets' quarterback Patrick Ramsey, sacking him twice with blitzes from the secondary.

Twice, the Redskins' first-team defense was able to knock the Jets' offense out of field goal range. They held the Jets scoreless on their first three drives.

Overall, the defense allowed 216 rushing yards, including a 61-yarder by Brad Smith on a wide receiver reverse. Several defenders over-pursued on the play, drawing the ire of assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams.

The Jets were 9-of-18 on third downs and the Redskins lost time of possession by nearly 16 minutes--two more statistics that worried Gibbs.

"We've had two weeks in a row where we just flat out lost ballgames because we got outplayed," he said. "We have a long ways to go. It's a sobering fact for all of us here. The only way I know how to fix it is to come back and go to work."

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