- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 1999

Norv Turner will be back next year to coach the Washington Redskins.
That's the cost for the future of this franchise for winning.
Some would say that the NFC East title the Redskins won this season is progress. Others might see it as a step back too high a price to pay, because it has saved Turner's job.
Despite their limited success this season, and all the proclamations that Turner may have finally grown into the job as coach, no one can honestly say that he believes the direction of this franchise has changed from the previous five nonplayoff seasons.
The Redskins still can't beat good teams. They still lose games they should win and don't win games that they are expected to lose. (For an example of teams winning games they shouldn't, see the New York Jets over Miami Dolphins last Sunday.)
They haven't shown the ability to make adjustments in games (see the Stephen Davis injury in the loss to the Indianapolis Colts) and have not shown the consistent look of a team prepared to play.
These are all measurements of how well a team is coached, and those indications show that there is little different about the way this Redskins team is coached compared to the disappointing teams of the past.
The least honest indicator of how good a job Turner has done this year is the team's 9-6 record.
On the other hand, how can Dan Snyder fire a coach who wins the division and gets his team to the playoffs?
It's not like there are any outstanding choices out there for a replacement. Barry Alvarez and Mack Brown are unproven entities, and at this point, with this veteran Redskins team, you don't want to hand it over to someone without a professional track record. There are no George Seiferts out there this year.
So Norv Turner (41-53-1) will return for a seventh season. Bill Parcells coached the New York Giants for eight seasons and won two Super Bowls. Mike Holmgren coached the Green Bay Packers for seven seasons and had two Super Bowl appearances to show for it.
This long of a tenure and success usually go hand in hand. Not for the Redskins.
However, unlike Holmgren and Parcells, it's unlikely Turner will be able to decide for himself whether he wants to stay as the Redskins coach or not. As of now, he will return next season, but the expectations will be even greater.
The Redskins are in a position now more than at any time since Joe Gibbs left to become a winning franchise. They have three first-round picks next season, and if New Orleans loses Sunday, one of them will be the second selection in the entire draft.
In Brad Johnson, the Redskins have a talented, veteran quarterback in the prime of his career. They have Stephen Davis, the conference's best running back who has not even yet seen his best days (of course, they blew it by not locking up Davis to a long-term contract before he was the best running back in the conference).
It is worth noting that the person most responsible for putting them in the position they are today and in the future is not here former general manager Charley Casserly. It was on his watch that Davis was drafted. He was the one who made the deal to bring Johnson here while the ownership of the team was in turmoil. And it was Casserly who made the draft-day deals that handed the Redskins so much opportunity for next season.
Thanks to those moves, there are no more excuses for losing, which may make for some pretty short Turner news conferences.
No, there is no slack left for Turner. All winning may do this year is buy him some time until the ax eventually falls unless, of course, the Redskins manage to somehow play their way into the Super Bowl, which is entirely possible, given the weakness of the conference.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, most of the teams that they will meet in the playoffs will have winning records. So, based on their performance this season not one victory against a team with a winning record it's improbable that they will make a playoff run.
Then it will be another year of the Turner death watch, waiting to see if Norv can survive the final two years of his current contract. Just like there is no real evidence that Turner has turned the corner as an NFL coach, there is also no evidence that Snyder will be any different next year. He will not likely be any less demanding.
All the warm and fuzzy meetings in Snyder's office won't change the likelihood that this is a collision course.

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