- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 18, 2001

I don't know a lot about football. And I don't know a lot about marketing.

But I don't think it's such a good idea to have crowds of people still pouring into the stadium an hour after the start of the game and then sitting down to see their team already losing 17-0.

Then again, what do I know? I'm not Dan Snyder, and I'm not Marty Schottenheimer.

If this keeps up, nobody will claim to be Dan Snyder or Marty Schottenheimer not even Dan or Marty.

Camp Marty has turned into Bill Murray's "Meatballs" so far in the Washington Redskins' first two preseason games they were outscored 47-6 through eight quarters the latest debacle a 27-6 loss to the Atlanta Falcons last night at FedEx Field.

If a cable network signed a deal to show the Redskins' training camp and preseason, like HBO did with the Baltimore Ravens, it might have been Comedy Central. Or the Sci-Fi Channel.

It certainly would not have been the Arts and Entertainment Network, because there has been nothing artistic or entertaining about the Redskins so far in the Schottenheimer regime.

I think the referees were even bored by 9 p.m. They ignored a pass interference call on Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey in the end zone, which even the preseason crowd real-ized was a blown call, oohing a sigh of relief when the replay was shown. They did that in between their chants to see Michael Vick.

Again, I'm no genius in football or marketing. But I don't think it's such a good idea when your fans are chanting to see the opposing team's backup quarterback.

But then what do I know? I wouldn't have been smart enough to go into the season with so much depth at quarterback that I would have had to sign a quarterback who couldn't even make it through the Dallas Cowboys training camp.

No one was chanting Tony Banks' name last night. Maybe Mrs. Banks was, I don't know. (By the way, I do know one thing never make a business deal on the day that Elvis Presley died. The Redskins signed Banks on the 24th anniversary of the King's demise. That's a hunka hunka bad karma.)

There is a full-blown quarterback controversy in Washington now, but not the kind we are used to. The controversy is that the Redskins don't have any quarterbacks.

We know Jeff George is an NFL quarterback, but we really don't know how badly he is hurt. We do know that we haven't seen him play yet and probably won't see him play next week either against Cleveland. And if the Redskins are saying that George's tendinitis is not a big deal, there is a good chance that it is, because truth in this administration is as scarce as touchdowns.

We know that Todd Husak is probably not an NFL quarterback, based on his performance so far completing three of 10 for 27 yards and one interception in Sunday's 20-0 loss to Kansas City and last night going 4-for-6 for 32 yards and one interception in one quarter against Atlanta.

And we know that rookie Sage Rosenfels isn't an NFL quarterback yet. Not that anyone has considered that possibility, but he emphasized the point last night by having the first pass he threw intercepted by Atlanta's Ray Buchanan Buchanan's second pick of the game and returned 31 yards for a touchdown with less than two minutes left in the first quarter, allowing the Falcons to take a 17-0 lead.

As far as Tony Banks, the members of the club that thinks he is an NFL quarterback Marty and Banks are outnumbered by those who don't think so.

At this point, though, the controversy goes beyond quarterback. It's up and down the roster. The controversy is that the Redskins may not have enough NFL players, period.

I know this is preseason, with a new coach and a host of new players, but team play aside, where are the playmakers? Where is the destructive defensive force we have expected, the second coming of Lawrence Taylor. LaVar Arrington? He looks more like the second coming of Lawrence Welk.

What we are seeing are playbreakers. The Redskins had a field goal and extra point blocked in the first half last night, in addition to three interceptions.

The only thing Redskins fans had to cheer about were first downs until, with about six minutes left in the first half, running back Ki-Jana Carter (one of the few bright spots last night) broke through the middle for a 38-yard touchdown, which brought the crowd of about 67,211 to its feet (not counting those still in the parking lots at the time). They were about to sit down quickly, though, as Brett Conway's point-after attempt was blocked. They booed as the Redskins left the field in the first half down 24-6, and they were leaving by the end of the third quarter, probably passing some fans coming in from the parking lots.

There have been teams that have had horrendous preseasons only to play well when the games counted. So it is important to keep the perspective that no matter how bad the Redskins look now, it doesn't count.

But it's all we have to judge this team. Otherwise, we still all have to believe that the force of Schottenheimer will turn this team into a disciplined, winning squad.

That faith is being tested.

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