Gibbs will meet with 'left out' Walton

January 28, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

MINNEAPOLIS -- Washington coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday he plans to meet with Redskins strong safety Alvin Walton soon to discuss his future.

Walton was unhappy when he was taken off the roster for the Super Bowl and said he wants to be traded or put on Plan B if he no longer fits into Washington's plans.

"I think he is unhappy," Gibbs said. "I don't blame him. That's a tough thing to go through. But I think we've just got to sit down. I'll talk with him and see if he really wants to go somewhere else. We'll just have to work our way through it."

Explaining how Walton went from a starter before he injured his shoulder to a player who can't make the 47-man roster, Gibbs said, "What's happening to us is we're playing a lot of run-and-shoot, three wide receivers, four wide receivers, and a big hitter at strong safety doesn't play a lot. He does play a lot of NFC East football."

Comparing him to Matt Millen, who wasn't activated for any of the three playoff games, Gibbs said: "Matt and Alvin don't get to play in these games so you wind up going without them. Of course that upsets him. We'll see if we can smooth it over. If we can't, we'll have to deal with it."

Walton's agent, Tony Agnone, doesn't think Gibbs can smooth it over unless Walton is told he has a chance to get his starting job back. Walton wants to start or leave. Danny Copeland won the starting job while Walton was injured.

"It's going to take a lot of talking to convince him he's still a part of their future," Agnone said.

* Gibbs said during his news conference he was pleased that Plan B was postponed until March 1 so he'd have more time to prepare the list.

A few hours later, the league announced it will go on as scheduled on Feb. 1 so he'll have to prepare his 37-man protected list this week.

He also said he has to worry about losing assistant coaches. He said he expects to be asked permission to talk to some of his assistants. Rod Dowhower, one of his offensive assistants, is being mentioned as a candidate for an offensive coordinator's job by several teams.

* Gibbs said a key to stopping the no-huddle was deciding how much time the Bills took between plays. He said it was hard to figure because the videotapes of the games stop between each play.

"We computed that somewhere between 18 to 22 seconds between plays is about the fastest they could do it. We timed ourselves in practice against our defense. We'd have Ryp [Mark Rypien] take six plays and leave the camera running. I was actually spotting the ball in practice," he said.

Gibbs said he has advice for teams in the Bills division.

"I wouldn't shut the camera off [between plays] so you'd have a good idea," he said.

Gibbs said a team can go as fast as it wants to go on a pass play, but said if it goes too fast on a running play, a team can run into the wrong front.

"You really have to slow down a little bit if you're going to be organized and really try to hit the right places," he said.

Gibbs also said the Redskins would continue to use more no-huddle of their own.

"Anything that works, we're going to use it. If there's something we can steal, we'll steal it," he said.

* Gibbs wouldn't take any shots at Thurman Thomas for losing his helmet and missing two plays at the start of the game. He said he once wanted to activate a player, but found out the equipment man hadn't brought his equipment along.

"Sometimes the best-laid plans, particularly in football, sometimes you think it's so well organized. It's probably a lot like a lot of the businesses or papers out there. Sometimes, it's not really well organized. We used to sit around in the service complaining about everything that goes wrong. I found out it's that way in everything. That's the reason I never wanted to be miked on the sidelines. Everybody thinks that's really well organized, too," he said.

* Coach Marv Levy of the Bills quoted Churchill in defeat Sunday night so Gibbs was asked if he'd like to quote Churchill in victory.

"I'm a P.E. [physical education] major. I'm not a history buff," Gibbs said with a smile.

Gibbs also laughed when somebody suggested he's football latest genius.

"There's only been two [geniuses] in history and they weren't in football. Michaelangelo and somebody else I forgot who he was. He wasn't in the football field."

* Gibbs, 51, repeated he has no interest in walking away from coaching.

"I love what I'm doing. It's a lot like running an emotional marathon. You've got to be ready every year. You've got to be well rested and you have your jaw set before you start because it's going to wear you down. As long as I can get excited about it and be set emotionally, I'm going to continue to do it.

* Gibbs will have to determine the future of veterans who've been a part of the team for so long.

"I think the toughest thing we'll have to deal with is we've got about eight guys who are up there and played nine, 10, 11 or 12 years. We've got to look at that real closely. But some of those guys had their best years. If we get those guys to come back, we should be OK.

* Gibbs will soon turn his attention to the Gibbs racing team, which hopes to qualify for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16.

"Now I've got another pressure deal," he said.

Because he has a new team, his car was run 125 miles to qualify for the race.

* Gibbs got his biggest laugh when a reporter from Baltimore asked him about avoiding the 7-9 season he had as defending champion.

Gibbs said, "You see the reason why I have a tough time coaching. Guys like that. They throw cold water on me."

The laugh came when he added, "You guys hurry up and get a team in Baltimore. I told the commissioner we have to have a team in Baltimore."

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