- The Washington Times - Friday, December 8, 2000

Terry Robiskie embraces the football expertise of the Boy Owner.

That goes with the job description, interim coach or otherwise, if you know what is good for you.

Robiskie's desk apparently is open to all manner of suggestions from the Boy Owner, and that includes the desk itself.

"If I want to change my desk, I'm going to call him," Robiskie says.

That is perfectly understandable. The Boy Owner led the local NFL team to the playoffs last season after painting the locker room.

Paint jobs. Desk jobs. Snow jobs.

Norv Turner took the fall for the latter.

"Can I change my desk?" Robiskie says.

Facing the window or door?

Darn. That is a tough one.

There's never a dull day off Waxpool Road in the Virginia countryside. The air is still free there, too, although that is subject to change before training camp next season.

Traditionalists prefer owners to leave the football stuff to the men who watch game film while the rest of the city sleeps. These men have devoted their lives to the game, and they just might have a sense, a feel, an intuition on what to do with their teams and when to do it. These men usually like their word to be final. How else can you be expected to lead?

Robiskie understands the sentiment that objects to a meddlesome owner. The separation between ownership and team dynamics is perceived to be sacred in sports, except with the Boss Steinbrenner-led Yankees.

But Robiskie also understands simple economics, and the last time he checked, the Boy Owner was the one meeting the bills.

It is nice to have the chain of command all cleared up as the team prepares to play the incredibly shrinking Cowboys in two days.

Brad Johnson, who used to be a Pro Bowl quarterback, is all packed up and ready to go, and not just to Dallas. He is looking at real estate agents instead of defensive coverages. He is looking at the yellow pages instead of the pages from the playbook.

Johnson thinks it all changed on him in an instant. He should try being Warren Christopher. Talk about quick disappearances.

The Democrats dragged Christopher out of his coffin at the start of the election mess in Florida, and now where is he, undergoing a 250,000-mile tuneup? What, did he get low on embalming fluid?

Where's Waldo? Where's Warren? Where's Mike?

There's Mike, in case you were wondering.

His Airness is standing in the executive box in Tony Cheng's neighborhood, popping antacids as the Wizards fall to the Clippers.

At least the local NFL team could beat the Clippers, if it came to that, unless Eddie Murray needed to make two free throws at the end of the game.

You can say what you want about the team's kicking game, but you don't have LeCharls McDaniel to kick around any longer.

The buck stops with the Boy Owner anyway. Lots of decisions are beyond Robiskie's control.

"God makes a lot of them," Robiskie says, and God knows, the team could use a higher power than $100 million.

The team is 7-6, excluding Michael Westbrook's assertion that two of the losses belong to Turner. That comes out to about $14 million a victory, not a bargain, even by dot-com standards.

Robiskie is being urged to motivate what is said to be an underachieving team. The mandate comes with an asterisk. He might want to check with the boss first if Jeff George starts to falter against the Cowboys.

Changing a quarterback is different from changing a desk, and if changing a desk is really necessary, Martha Stewart might be the one to solicit.

The players insist there is a new spirit. Not that they lacked spirit in the first 13 games. Not that the new spirit is a reflection on Turner.

That is the spin, fitting as it is, this being the spinmeister capital of the nation.

It is not over until the fat lady sings, not counting the fat lady, Juanita Dickinson, singing in front of Al Gore's place.

Fat lady. Fat chance.

Robiskie, meanwhile, is managing to keep it real.

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