New Year's just another work day for Gibbs


WASHINGTON -- Forget New Year's Eve. Forget New Year's Day.

It may be a holiday for most people, but for coach Joe Gibbs, it's just more time to watch football videotapes.

There's be no horn-blowing at Redskin Park, where Gibbs will spend the holiday.

Gibbs will arrive at Redskin Park today to prepare for the National Football Conference wild-card game at Philadelphia and will stay there until Thursday night.

His usual routine is to sleep Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night in his office, and he won't change his routine for the holiday.

He said jokingly that his wife, Pat, doesn't expect him home for the holiday.

"My wife is used to it. She doesn't want me there, anyway. [If he's there,] she goes, 'Is there something wrong here?' Pat wants to win so she can spend that money," he said.

Gibbs, though, is giving his players off today and tomorrow, even though he expects the game to be played Saturday. The league won't announce until today whether it will be played Saturday or Sunday.

The Redskins usually practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for Sunday games and normally would practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for a Saturday game.

But the players will be off because Gibbs doesn't want them weary from too much practice at the end of a long season.

"I'd rather go with two days' rest, and I'd rather go with preparation for the coaches," he said.

So the coaches will work preparing schemes for coach Buddy Ryan's Eagles while the players have the holiday off.

Ryan will take the Eagles to Tampa, Fla., to prepare for the game.

* Gibbs said publicly for the first time that he isn't working on a new contract, despite a report by Will McDonough of NBC-TV that his contract expired Feb. 1 and that he just added an extension.

McDonough has been reporting since the start of the season that Gibbs' contract expires Feb. 1. Gibbs had refused to comment publicly on his contract.

After yesterday's report, Gibbs finally said he was already under a long-term contract.

"Mr. [Jack Kent] Cooke and I have an agreement," Gibbs said. "It's not anything new. It's been in existence."

A front-office source said Gibbs signed a three-year deal about a year ago.

* Defensive lineman Bruce Smith of the Buffalo Bills was held without a sack and lost the league sack title by one to Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs, who finished with 20.

But Smith came close, getting to quarterback Mark Rypien a few times just after he threw the ball.

"They wanted to give me the opportunity to achieve some personal goals that I had set during the year, and I was having fun out there. When I first went out there, I felt like the world was on my shoulders," Smith said.

Redskins tackle Jim Lachey, who played against Smith and usually got help from tight end Don Warren or guard Reggie McKenzie, said: "He's a great football player. I'm just glad he didn't get the NFL sack record over me."

Smith was pulled in the final period when Buffalo was out of the game, because the Bills didn't want to risk an injury.

"It's pretty hard [to set records] when you are double- or triple-teamed. I think there were only two or three occasions when they left me by myself. I'm just slightly disappointed, but I'm not going to dwell on it," Smith said.

* Gibbs praised defensive lineman Tracy Rocker, who was put on the injured-reserve list for erratic play earlier this year, particularly for jumping offsides in the second New York Giants game.

Gibbs said: "He's worked extremely hard, and I think he's come back a better football player. That's the real mark of a man. Things aren't always going to be good for you. When he got set down, he used it the right way."

Rocker, who had two sacks, said: "I was glad to be back. I wanted to be a Redskin, that's all. It was a difficult time. I wanted to make the best of it."

* Wide receiver Gary Clark finished the regular season 1 yard behind Bobby Mitchell, who is in third place on the Redskins career receiving list with 6,491 yards. Clark passed Mitchell during the game, but fell behind when he caught a pass for a 10-yard loss.

* Clark, who suffered a knee injury, was one of three players on the injured list after the game. The others were Lackey (elbow) and safety Todd Bowles (knee), but they all hope to play against the Eagles.

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