- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 21, 1999

The Washington Redskins may change coaches even if they make the National Football League playoffs next month.
Team sources say coach Norv Turner will consider accepting a buyout of the final two years of his $1 million-per-year contract with owner Dan Snyder and resign after the season. No buyout offer has yet been discussed but is an expected option, the sources said.
Washington (8-6) leads the NFC East and could clinch a wild-card playoff berth by defeating San Francisco on Sunday for the first postseason appearance of Turner’s six-year tenure. But Turner is clearly exhausted by two seasons of job jeopardy and persistent hectoring by Snyder since he bought the team in July.
Snyder’s daily involvement, following the largely hands-off approach by Jack Kent Cooke and his son, John Kent Cooke who ran the club for two seasons before failing to buy the team has clearly proved taxing for Turner.
Snyder’s 40-minute, closed-door meeting in the Texas Stadium visitors’ locker room following a 38-20 loss on Oct. 24 embarrassed Turner, said team sources.
And while Turner has publicly supported Snyder’s involvement with players including a Dec. 10 meeting with four veterans sources said he was greatly upset. Snyder also regularly attends weekday practices and post-game team meetings, coldly staring at players after losses.
If Turner settles the remainder of the three-year extension Jack Kent Cooke gave him in April 1997, he could consider other head coach or offensive coordinator positions or even take a year off.
Sources said Turner feels the Redskins’ 396 points this season their most since the 1991 Super Bowl championship has maintained his reputation as one of the NFL’s best offensive minds.
NFL sources say the Dallas Cowboys may be interested in hiring their former offensive coordinator if coach Chan Gailey is fired. And Miami coach Jimmy Johnson also has said regularly that his former Cowboys offensive coordinator is welcome to join his staff. Washington ends the regular season against Miami on Jan. 2.
Turner declined comment, but has conceded since July that he expects to be fired if the Redskins don’t make the playoffs. Indeed, even a playoff victory might not save Turner, who has the third-longest seniority among NFL coaches despite his 40-53-1 mark. The Redskins narrowly missed the playoffs in 1996 and 1997 despite finishing 9-7 and 8-7-1.
Sources said Turner remains open to postseason possibilities that range from being fired to being told to revamp his staff, but has been considering his options for several weeks.
Apparently so has Snyder, whose staff began weighing possible replacements for Turner in mid-November. The Washington Times reported at the time that Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez was among the possible front-runners, along with Miami coach Butch Davis and Texas coach Mack Brown. Jacksonville defensive coordinator Dom Capers will also be considered, team sources said.
Snyder has denied that he is already considering Turner’s successor.
If Turner remains, his staff will probably be overhauled for the second time since 1996. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and his four assistants plus special teams coach LeCharls McDaniel are expected to be dismissed, barring major postseason success. The 28th-ranked defense struggled until the past month while special teams gaffes have been commonplace.
Team sources said Snyder twice wanted to fire Nolan after early season games before relenting after Turner reminded him of his promise to keep the staff for the entire season. Turner fired defensive coordinator Ron Lynn and two assistants after the 1996 season.
Turner won a power struggle with former general manager Charley Casserly soon after Snyder’s arrival. Snyder increased Turner’s control over the roster and gave him the absolute say over the team’s three 2000 first-round draft picks.

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