- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Good health, great weather and career-high years by skill players brought the best season by the Washington Redskins since 1992.
And yet, fans will long remember how one bad snap ended the Super Bowl hopes. Dan Turk becomes Bill Buckner.
Coach Norv Turner stays another year. So does cornerback Darrell Green. Three first-round picks await. Plenty of fantasy league moves by owner Dan Snyder are being plotted. The Redskins will not go gently into the offseason.
The Monday Morning Quarterback makes a final delivery on a Wednesday.
Q: If Washington survived Tampa Bay, would it have beaten St. Louis in the NFC Championship?
A: The Redskins would have lost the NFC Championship 42-24. Not that fans wouldn't have minded another week, but the Redskins would have ended short of the "Dance."
Q: What about next year? How good will the Redskins be in 2000?
A: Get ready for a step back. The early look is 8-8 at best. The non-division schedule is a killer that could easily be 2-6.
Q: What? The team finally starts to get good, and you're saying it won't last?
A: Think of all the breaks the Redskins gained this season. They lost a combined 10 games to injuries by starters. That's impossible to repeat. At least one of the stars will get hurt, but usually several are missing. The weather was perfect. The two times it rained the team played in domes. The ball bounced the Redskins' way too often, and they won most of the instant replay challenges. Running back Stephen Davis, receivers Albert Connell and Michael Westbrook, quarterback Brad Johnson and defensive end Marco Coleman all enjoyed career-best years. Next year, that crew is another year older and isn't likely to match this season's production.
Q: But what about the three first-round draft picks? What about Snyder's pledge to get better?
A: You'll never see the three picks reach draft day. The team will trade two of them for either a veteran or higher pick. Getting San Francisco's third pick overall for the Redskins' 12th and 24th picks would be a good move for both teams, but it's going to take more than that. Maybe quarterback Rodney Peete or linebacker Shawn Barber thrown in the deal. If that unlikely deal happens, it's an eleventh-hour trade. As for a trade, two first-rounders are probably too much to pay and shouldn't be done.
Q: But shouldn't the draft plug in some help? Won't they become needed starters?
A: It's always a gamble. Heath Shuler and Desmond Howard were busts. Champ Bailey and Jon Jansen were hits this season. Certainly, the second pick should bring an impact player like Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington, but who knows how long it takes to adjust to the NFL.
Q: How about signing some big-name free agents? Last summer, it seemed like Snyder wanted to trade for every disgruntled player. Certainly, there are some bargains out there.
A: If you want to know who Snyder likes, just read the entire free agent list because you'll start hearing all the names soon enough. The Redskins will be fortunate to re-sign all of their own free agents and have money left for two good free agents.
Q: Will Davis be re-signed? What about the other seven unrestricted starters?
A: The team will label Davis a franchise player, but that's probably going to cost more than $4 million. Too bad they didn't sign Davis to $3 million over three years last summer, a deal that Snyder nixed. As for the others, safety Leomont Evans and offensive tackle Andy Heck won't return. The rest aren't so marketable that the Redskins can't afford to keep them.
Q: Will Green return next season? Will he continue to be a capable corner at 40 years old?
A: Every time Green looks to be slipping, he follows with a good game. Obviously, Green isn't the same player of even five years ago, but he's better than anyone else the Redskins have. It may be the last year for Green, but expect him to return.
Q: What about returner Brian Mitchell? Does he have another year in him?
A: That 100-yard kickoff touchdown return against Tampa Bay shows Mitchell isn't through. However, his $1.5 million salary next season may be one of the tricky parts of the salary cap. If Mitchell returns, it's at a reduced salary. He can still help the Redskins.
Q: A lot has been made about Snyder's contribution to the team's success. Was he really the motivating factor that some report?
A: The old adage "Success is 2 percent inspiration and 98 percent perspiration" holds true for Snyder. Certainly, he had some impact. Getting fullback Larry Centers was a nice move. Otherwise, this team was already in place when Snyder took over July 14. Ruling by fear may intimidate some players, but those aren't the ones who are going to win games. Snyder had more impact on fans by upgrading stadium amenities. However, he created the parking mess by firing the staff beforehand, but at least figured a way out of it that should work for many years. It makes for nice reading, but the bottom line is owners should hire the best and enjoy the ride.
Q: How secure is Turner? Is his job on the line again next season?
A: Workers around Redskin Park don't buy green bananas. No one is secure. Contracts are week to week. If the team doesn't make the playoffs next year, Turner hits the bricks.

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