- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2001

We're going to get to know Marty Schottenheimer a lot better this weekend. Why? Because few things tell you more about a coach/general manager than how he handles the draft, who he picks and who he doesn't. And since Schottenheimer has never had this kind of total authority before he has always worked with a GM the next few days at Redskin Park should be verrry interesting.

In particular, it'll be interesting to see whether the New Marty the one who's coming off a two-year break from football is any different from the Old Marty. The Old Marty, for instance, was never much for drafting and developing quarterbacks. His starting QBs during his decade in Kansas City were Steve DeBerg, Dave Krieg, Joe Montana, Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac and Rich Gannon, all of whom began their careers elsewhere. The Chiefs never used their first-round pick in those years to select a quarterback (though they did trade a No. 1 for Montana).

Indeed, Schottenheimer's offenses in K.C. weren't much to look at. He had only one Pro Bowl receiver there (retread Andre Rison in '97) and, amazingly, didn't have a 1,000-yard rusher in his last seven seasons. Marty's teams were always built around defense, field position and not making mistakes which makes sense, since he was a linebacker during his playing days and came up through the ranks as a defensive coach.

And let's not forget: His teams usually won in the regular season, at least. The system, as Norv Turner would say, worked.

But Schottenheimer has inherited a Redskins club that needs attention mostly on the other side of the ball. The offense, as currently constituted, is a disaster, with Brad Johnson, Tre Johnson, Keith Sims and almost the entire receiving corps from last year missing. The one credible returning wideout, Michael Westbrook, is recovering from major knee surgery. I just don't see how this group is going to score many points, unless the defense forces about 90 turnovers.

Logic says the Redskins have to go heavily for offense in the draft. And fortunately for them, there's a raft of quality receivers available; as many as seven of them from David Terrell and Koren Robinson to Rod Gardner, Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson and Chris Chambers are projected to go in the first round.

But will Schottenheimer deviate from past practice he has never taken a wideout No. 1 and grab one of them, or will he use the pick to further solidify an already good defense? That's the big question as draft day approaches. And it probably has more than one right answer. After all, Marty could easily argue, "Let me get one side of the ball squared away first before I tackle the other side. If I can add a top middle linebacker (e.g. Dan Morgan) or a cover corner (e.g. Fred Smoot) to the defensive mix, we'll be able to shut teams down and won't have to score 20 points to win."

A perfectly reasonable point of view. I just don't happen to agree with it. To go for defense in Round 1 is to be in denial about just how bad the Redskins' offense is. There are some nice pieces, sure Stephen Davis (if he can stay healthy), the two young tackles, Pro Bowl tight end Stephen Alexander but there are holes everywhere. And the holdover quarterback, Jeff George, has always had leadership issues. (You also have to wonder how effective George will be in Schottenheimer's dink-and-dunk attack. He's not that kind of QB.)

And don't let Marty tell you, as coaches will do, that this is a deep draft for receivers, and he can get one later on. The Chiefs drafted six wideouts in the second and third rounds during Marty's tenure Naz Worthen, Tim Barnett, Lake Dawson, Chris Penn, Tamarick Vanover and Kevin Lockett and none of them ever did much. Lockett, in fact, just joined the Redskins as a free agent (after languishing as the No. 3 guy in Kansas City).

No, much as Schottenheimer might covet Morgan or Smoot, he has to put his offense first in this draft. I wouldn't even mind if he made a lineman Michigan guard Steve Hutchinson, say his first selection. But that might strain the Redskins' cap down the road. They're already paying big money to Chris Samuels, and Jon Jansen figures to cash in when his contract's up. And on top of that you're going to give a third blocker, Hutchinson, first-round dough? Where are all the dollars going to come from?

Stick with the obvious, Marty. Your team needs a receiver desperately. So draft one right off the bat. You've already got enough to work with on 'D.' And besides, you're a defensive genius, remember?

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