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Snyder’s six guns

- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 13, 2008

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has employed six head coaches in a decade with the club. Here's how those men have fared under Snyder:

THE LEGACY

Coach: Norv Turner

Years: 1999-2000

Record: 18-13

Key question: How long will a brash new owner who lives to fire people put up with the laid-back coach hired by his predecessors?

High point: The Redskins beat the Lions on Jan. 8, 2000, for their first playoff win in seven years.

Low point: Consecutive home losses to the Eagles and Giants in December 2000 put the Redskins on the brink of elimination.

The outcome: Turner failed to reach the playoffs in his first five seasons with the club but won the NFC East in Snyder's first year of ownership. The Redskins, with a roster bolstered by high-profile free agents such as Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith, were Super Bowl favorites in 2000. A promising start went bad, and Turner was fired with three games remaining.

THE INTERIM

Coach: Terry Robiskie

Year: 2000

Record: 1-2

Key question: Can a popular, longtime assistant reverse the Redskins' slide and catapult them to a second straight playoff berth?

High point: Dec. 4, the day Robiskie was named the Redskins' first black head coach.

Low point: Robiskie's debut, a 32-13 drubbing by the archrival Cowboys in Dallas.

The outcome: The fiery Robiskie was supposed to be more of a motivator than Turner, but it sure didn't show. With a postseason berth still a possibility, the Redskins got drilled by the Cowboys and Steelers in Robiskie's first two games. The Redskins missed the playoffs, and Robiskie didn't return to the club the next season.

THE GENERAL

Coach: Marty Schottenheimer

Year: 2001

Record: 8-8

Key question: Can the Redskins become champs by replacing nice-guy Norv with a proven winner with a drill-sergeant routine?

High point: A 13-3 upset of the eventual NFC East champion Eagles in Philadelphia, the Redskins' fifth straight victory after an 0-5 start.

Low point: A 45-13 rout in the home opener by the Chiefs, Schottenheimer's former team.

The outcome: Veterans such as Bruce Smith and Darrell Green rebelled against Schottenheimer's old-school style, and the Redskins lost their first five games. They recovered to finish 8-8, but that wasn't good enough for Snyder. The owner felt shunted aside and decided that he, not his coach, would be the Redskins' voice. After just one year in command, Schottenheimer was sent packing.

THE BALLCOACH

Coach: Steve Spurrier

Years: 2002-03

Record: 12-20

Key question: Can an offensive wiz from the college ranks work the same magic in the NFL?

High point: A 38-7 preseason romp over the 49ers in Japan in Spurrier's debut with the Redskins.

Low point: A 27-0 shutout by the Cowboys at home on Dec. 14, 2003, that showed how far Spurrier's system was from succeeding.

The outcome: Spurrier's dazzling, high-octane offense worked at the college level, where the Ballcoach always had the better athletes. That wasn't true with the Redskins. Spurrier let his assistants run everything except the passing game, and when the passing game flopped so did he. After a 5-11 season, the Redskins' worst record in nine years, Spurrier called in his resignation from a golf course.

THE LEGEND

Coach: Joe Gibbs

Years: 2004-07

Record: 31-36

Key question: Can a Hall of Fame coach lead the Redskins back to the glory that eluded them since he retired 11 years earlier?

High point: The Redskins steamroll into the 2005 playoffs with convincing victories over the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles.

Low point: Gibbs calls consecutive timeouts against the Bills on Dec. 2, 2007, a rules violation that helps cost the Redskins victory.

The outcome: Gibbs twice took the Redskins to the playoffs, but he never recaptured the magic that earned the club three Super Bowls titles in his first tenure with the team. Worn down and still stunned by the shooting death of safety Sean Taylor, Gibbs walked away with a year left on his contract on Jan. 8, 2008.

THE GAMBLE

Coach: Jim Zorn

Years: 2008-?

Record: 0-0

Key question: Can a man who has never been an NFL coordinator, much less a head coach, put the franchise on the right track?

The outcome: TBD