- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2001

There's supposed to be a honeymoon period for new coaches, time they're given to unpack their suitcases and memorize the local cable channels and, oh yes, Install Their System. Depending on the coach and the situation, it can last anywhere from weeks to months to years.
Norv Turner's honeymoon extended well into his third season. But that was because Norv had a major rebuilding job on his hands and, on top of that, he was such a likeable guy. So he got cut plenty of slack and managed to survive almost seven years despite a sub-.500 record.
Marty Schottenheimer's honeymoon, on the other hand, is already over after just three games. In fact, it seems like Schottenheimer never had a honeymoon, that the wolves were at his door from the moment the Redskins fell behind the Chiefs 20-0 in their first exhibition game. Ever since then, Marty has had to fend off questions about his roster moves, his staff hirings, his training camp philosophy, his whole approach to the game.
He's on an island now. Kind of like a cornerback in single coverage. And, what's worse, he called this play himself. When you demand total control of a football team, make yourself the Sole Source of Information on all matters, large and small, you're also asking for all the blame when things go wrong. You can fire your quarterback and engage in other diversionary tactics, but sooner or later in this case, sooner it all comes back on you.
Marty Schottenheimer is the proverbial man without a country stuck somewhere between Kansas City and Washington. Chiefs fans grew weary of him after 10 years of almosts, and he's done little to endear himself to Redskins rooters in his nine months here. Indeed, he's practically conducted a seminar in how to get off on the wrong foot. Would-be coaches would do well to study Schottenheimer's missteps, lest the same thing happen to them.
The man's ego is breathtaking especially when compared to the modesty of his predecessors (even Joe Gibbs, who never got too stuck on himself despite his accomplishments). By hiring an unremarkable staff would Jimmy Raye and Kurt Schottenheimer be coordinators anywhere else in the league? Marty seemed to be saying, "My football genius is all this team really needs." Now, of course, we know different.
Then the new coach alienated the fans by needlessly marginalizing the club's most popular player and one of the franchise's all-time greats Darrell Green. I don't think I've ever seen Darrell more down than he was after the 45-13 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. And with good reason. He had spent most of the afternoon on the sideline, despite Fred Smoot's obvious struggles. The season is going down the tubes, and No. 28 isn't even being given a chance to do anything about it.
But it's Schottenheimer's micromanaging the kind we're used to seeing from his boss, Dan Snyder that really gives him away. While Rome has been burning, Marty has been concerning himself with such things as switching from white to burgundy jerseys for home games and seeing to it that no player gets a single room on the road. The night before the Green Bay game, my spies tell me, Bruce Smith slept on a couch in the lobby of the Redskins' hotel because his roommate, Dan Wilkinson, snored too loudly.
The only couch Bruce Smith should ever be sleeping on is Tim.
It's interesting to note that nobody outside of his buddy Dick Vermeil, that is is coming to Schottenheimer's defense. This is what happens when you set yourself up as the Lone Ranger. It's also what happens when you make no friends in the media. Marty is one of those old-school, Us vs. Them guys, and the media are most definitely Them.
The biggest shock is that Schottenheimer has been nothing like we imagined. Win or lose, we expected the Redskins to be a disciplined outfit that got the most out of its talent, didn't beat itself and fought you for every yard just like his teams in Cleveland and Kansas City. But this year's club has been the total opposite of that. It botches snaps. It drops kicks. It picks up stupid penalties. It goes half the game without crossing midfield. And it gives up 100 yards rushing to every LaDainian, Ahman and Priest who comes along.
You look at how quickly Jim Haslett got results in New Orleans last season and how well Butch Davis is doing in Cleveland this year and you realize how lacking Schottenheimer has been. He's being paid like a Parcells, but he's coaching like a Ray Handley. The Redskins are going backward, not forward, and nobody can seem to find the brakes.
During yesterday's meetings, Schottenheimer actually solicited opinion from his minions, just to see what was on their minds. But does he plan to change anything based on what he heard? "There won't be anything that's significant," he said.
That's Marty for you my way or the highway. The Redskins will do it his way for the time being, but soon enough he'll be the one who's packing up the car.

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