- The Washington Times - Monday, September 4, 2000

The Redskins, except for LeCharls McDaniel, exchanged compliments and cheers in the locker room yesterday.
They don't keep track of style points in the NFL, mainly wins and losses, and on that count, the Redskins are 1-0, in first place in the NFC East and, along with the other important stuff, control their destiny.
Their dominance is expected to surface later, perhaps after McDaniel and the special teams have resolved their communication problems during midnight film sessions.
McDaniel is in his third season and possibly last week as coach of the special teams. Maybe it is the "Le" in Charls. LeCharls is French for bad special teams.
Michael Bates ran one kickoff back for a touchdown and had another long return, only to have it nullified by a weak call against Chris Hetherington.
McDaniel is in charge of these small details, or at least was in charge of them going into today.
Employment is sometimes a malleable condition with the new-look Redskins, subject to bad bays and the whims of the misunderstood Boy Owner.
According to USA Today, the Boy Owner has two arms, two legs and a charitable heart.
The charitable attitude is infectious.
"Our kickoff coverage is horrible," coach Norv Turner said, leaving the French and Jerry Lewis out of it. "This isn't preseason. This is a different deal. It's an area we have to address."
The Panthers addressed the issue of the Redskins special teams during training camp. Their scouts were among the many devoted fans of the Redskins who paid $10 to experience the NFL in Ashburn. The scouts even took notes. Bates must have memorized their scouting reports better than his teammates.
The field is yours if you zig and zag, as Bates did.
Steve Beuerlein, the eternal quarterback, could have used some of the zig and zag.
His third-quarter fumble, caused by Bruce Smith, led to a game-tying field goal by the Redskins and a shift in momentum.
"I just wanted to be productive," Smith said.
Smith is nearing the end of a Hall of Fame career. The end could come in a season or three, or sooner. Uncertainty comes with Smith's 37 years.
"They can talk all they want," Smith said. "That's not relevant to me."
Smith's age was not relevant to Clarence Jones, either. He was the left offensive tackle with the jumpy feet who established the false-start game.
"False start, No. 75," a man in stripes always seemed to be saying.
That was the day's catch phrase.
How was the traffic around the place formerly known as Raljon?
That, too, merited a considerable number of false starts.
The Redskins opened the season with a bull's eye on the back of their jerseys and a $100 million payroll that only can be justified with a trip to Super Bowl XXXV.
The first step to Tampa was steady enough, just not convincing.
Albert Connell dropped two passes and incurred one holding penalty. Then he started flattening people.
Brad Johnson completed his first eight passes of the game and then disappeared until late in the third quarter.
Stephen Davis was quiet in the first half but then looked like a newly signed $90 million running back in the second half.
The debut of Deion Sanders was uneventful, and Tre Johnson was relegated to the penalty box.
A play here or there, and it might have turned out differently, as the faithful know only too well in the Turner era.
One play in particular cost the Panthers in a big way. That was William Floyd's personal-foul penalty in the second quarter. That set the Panthers back 15 yards after they had driven to the Redskins 2.
The Panthers eventually settled on a 27-yard field goal attempt by Richie Cunningham. But the kick sailed left, and the scored stayed 10-7, Panthers.
The Redskins talked a great game in August. Now comes the hard part, if the game with the Panthers is any indication.
"We have so much stuff to work on to get better," Dan Wilkinson said. "There's no more need to talk. We have to prepare for each game."
No one thinks otherwise, despite the hype.
The first game was an adequate starting point, not counting Le special teams.

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