- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner seems ready to retain defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coach LeCharls McDaniel, but it appears several assistants will be ousted.

Team sources said yesterday defensive line co-coach Rubin Carter and linebackers/defensive assistant Jeff FitzGerald may be dismissed with one year remaining on their contracts as part of a staff shakeup that could still claim Nolan and McDaniel. Defensive line co-coach Earl Leggett has retired, and defensive consultant Bill Arnsparger will leave in coming days. Secondary coach Tom Hayes is expected to remain.

Nolan and McDaniel briefly met with Turner. Both are only under contract through Feb. 1 after three seasons in Washington. While each appears to have Turner's backing, their retention must be approved by owner Dan Snyder. A decision could come as soon as tomorrow.

However, Snyder wasn't a Nolan supporter during the opening month; he twice told Turner to fire the defensive coordinator after poor performances. Turner refused to dismiss Nolan, reminding the first-year owner of his promise to retain the assistants to avoid disruption.

Snyder recently said he would review the coaches at season's end. Certainly, Nolan will benefit from a strong 6-3 finish in which the Redskins allowed more than 21 points only once. The Redskins defense yielded only 20 points in two playoff games, and 14 of those came after turnovers. Washington's run defense was ranked first among NFC teams in the playoffs and second among all postseason teams.

Nolan's willingness to abandon his gap-control defense to allow players to attack more was paramount in the defensive improvement. The Redskins' plus-12 turnover ratio led the NFC, and they made 24 interceptions and recovered 13 fumbles. It was the most interceptions by Washington since its 1991 Super Bowl championship season and 11 more than last year.

Meanwhile, punter Matt Turk will be shopped around the NFL. The Redskins hope to get a late-round draft choice in return instead of releasing him immediately, according to team sources.

Finally, the Houston Chronicle reported yesterday that former Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly will be hired as the vice president of football operations for Houston's NFL expansion team. The paper said he could be introduced as early as today.

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