- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2000

Norv Turner hopes his third defensive coordinator will be the charm.
The Washington Redskins coach formally announced yesterday former Philadelphia and Green Bay coach Ray Rhodes would become the third person to hold that title since Turner became coach in 1994.
Rhodes replaces Mike Nolan, who came to Washington as one of the top young assistants in the game but was fired last week after the Redskins defense finished the season ranked 30th next to last in the NFL. In 1997 Nolan was brought in to replace Ron Lynn, Turner's defensive coordinator his first three seasons in Washington, who also was fired.
Under Nolan's guidance the Redskins defense often was accused of being lackadaisical, inconsistent and soft. Rhodes, 49, refused to comment on the shortcomings of the unit he inherited but left little doubt what areas he planned on emphasizing, saying he wanted his unit to have a "storm-the-castle" mentality.
"Attitude. Defense is about attitude," said Rhodes, who won five Super Bowl rings as an assistant with San Francisco. "You have to go out there each play and make sure you do your job and don't get beat. I want to play aggressive, hard-hitting defense. I want to set the tempo and be disruptive of the offense."
While the Redskins defense struggled, the offense flourished and finished the year ranked second in the NFL.
"That gap is too big," Rhodes said. "The offense is doing its job, but the defense isn't. There's something wrong with that picture, and I have to change that picture… . Each player has to raise their level of play."
Nolan also coached the team's linebackers, so to fill that position the Redskins hired former Minnesota defensive coordinator Foge Fazio, who resigned after a tiff with Vikings coach Dennis Green.
Both Rhodes and Fazio signed two-year deals. Rhodes' salary is not known. League sources confirmed Fazio will make $280,000 a year, more than he made with the Vikings.
"From an organizational standpoint I don't think we could have done more in one day to help our football team than we did by adding Ray and Foge to our staff," Turner said.
The overhaul is expected to continue this week. According to team sources, Mike Tagovac will replace recently retired Earl Leggett as defensive line coach, a position he held under Rhodes with the Eagles and Packers. Ron Meeks will replace recently fired Tom Hayes as defensive backs coach, a position he held this season with Atlanta.
For most of his coaching career, Rhodes has had a reputation as a no-nonsense boss. But when he was fired by the Packers earlier this month, Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf accused Rhodes of allowing the Packers to become undisciplined.
After a seven-year playing career, Rhodes joined the staff of Bill Walsh in San Francisco in 1981 as defensive backs coach, a position he held until 1992, when he became the Packers defensive coordinator. After the Packers defense finished second in the NFL in 1993, Rhodes returned to the 49ers in 1994 to run their defense. Four days after helping San Francisco win Super Bowl XXIX, he was hired by Philadelphia as its coach.
In 1995 he was named coach of the year an award Turner never has won after taking the Eagles to the second round of the playoffs. But after a pair of 10-6 seasons, the Eagles went south, going 9-22-1 combined in 1997 and 1998. Rhodes was fired after the '98 season and was immediately hired by the Packers. But he was fired again after the Packers went 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1992.
After five seasons as a coach, Rhodes said he is looking forward to being an assistant again.
"I'll be able to spend more time with the players one-on-one and teaching," Rhodes said. "The important thing will be putting the players in a position to succeed and not asking them to do things they're not capable of doing."

Note Redskins director of player personnel Vinny Cerrato met yesterday with Steve Weinberg, the representative for unrestricted free-agent running back Stephen Davis. Neither side could be reached for comment, but Davis is seeking a multiyear deal that will pay him more than $3 million a season. They are expected to meet again today.

Staff writers Rick Snider and Dave Elfin contributed to this article.

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