- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder yesterday criticized those calling for first-year coach Marty Schottenheimer to be dismissed because of the team's 0-3 start.
"Marty Schottenheimer's record is impeccable. I believe in him. We all must have a little more faith than we do," Snyder said in a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club. "One thing that's definitely being displayed is how fickle fans can be. Joe Gibbs was 0-5 in his first year here. We need to give Coach Schottenheimer a little more time.
"It takes time to put together a winning organization, clearly longer than I anticipated. Losing's never fun. This Sunday and every Sunday, I want to be competitive. I want to leave it on the field."
Schottenheimer produced winners in Cleveland and Kansas City but has struggled in Washington. Schottenheimer trimmed 30 of 53 players from last season's roster and released starting quarterback Jeff George last week, but the Redskins lost their first three games this season by an average of 32 points.
Snyder smiled when he was asked whether he might emulate Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and take the player personnel side of the operation away from Schottenheimer, a neophyte in that area.
"You all didn't want me to meddle did you? You got what you wanted," he said.
Snyder, who talked to players in the locker room longer than usual after Sunday's 45-13 loss to Kansas City, refuted talk of a player mutiny against the hard-nosed Schottenheimer.
"The players are trying to do their jobs. Like every fan, they're heartbroken," Snyder said. "They've got to pick themselves up. We're all disappointed. We thought the first few games were some of the easier games on our schedule. We're going to wait to see how things unfold for us this year and in the future. This is about years of winning, not one year. I think we're going to be fine. It's just a matter of time."
Snyder supported Schottenheimer's decision to release George. Snyder and former player personnel director Vinny Cerrato pushed 1999 Pro Bowl passer Brad Johnson out the door in favor of George less than a year ago.
"It wasn't going to work, and I respect what Marty did," Snyder said. "I felt sadness that it didn't work out."
Snyder said he fired Charley Casserly almost immediately upon taking over the team in 1999 because the general manager and coach Norv Turner weren't working well together and it was too close to the start of training camp to find a new coach. But Snyder said his biggest regret since buying the Redskins was not firing Turner and the coaching staff right away, and he said he has since told Casserly that he was "right about a few things."
Casserly left Snyder a team that won the NFC East title and a playoff game in 1999, and he left him three No. 1 picks in the 2000 draft as well.
Two years later, the team is the NFL's worst thanks to decisions made by Snyder, Cerrato and Schottenheimer. The Redskins will devote between $12.6 million and $16.7 million of next year's salary cap estimated at $72 million to players who will no longer be on the team. Those players include George, former cornerback Deion Sanders, retiring cornerback Darrell Green and defensive end Bruce Smith, who seems likely to retire as well.
Still, Snyder remains breezily upbeat about the future.
"We're actually in pretty good shape regarding the salary cap," Snyder said. "Over many, many years, decades, we're going to have great results."
The Redskins have just four of 11 offensive starters under contract for 2002.
Snyder reiterated that he would not bow to political correctness and change the team's name. Snyder did say it was fair to criticize the Redskins' league-high ticket prices in light of the team's performance. He said his bout with thyroid cancer this spring "brought some sensitivity to my life" and perhaps led him to admit he had made "some stupid mistakes." He singled out an incident in which he yelled at Turner in the Texas Stadium locker room after a 1999 loss to the archrival Cowboys.
Snyder said he would never consider selling the franchise, despite the Redskins' 2-9 record in their past 11 games, the vociferous booing at FedEx Field and the frequently harsh criticism of him in the media.
"I've been a fan for three decades," Snyder said. "I love the team. If I could give my left arm to win, I would do it."

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