- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 23, 2001

Terry Robiskie will be back in Washington tomorrow, exactly eight months after he won his only game as the Redskins' interim coach. It also will be not quite seven months since Redskins owner Dan Snyder told Robiskie he was out of a job and new coach Marty Schottenheimer said there was no place for Robiskie on the 2001 coaching staff.

But Robiskie, now receivers coach for the Cleveland Browns, who visit the Redskins in tomorrow night's home preseason finale, isn't coming back bearing any grudges.

"I have no problem with what happened," said Robiskie, who replaced Norv Turner, his boss of six-plus years, on Dec. 4. "Nothing was promised to me. Mr. Snyder told me after the Arizona game [the victorious season finale that followed ugly losses at Dallas and Pittsburgh] that he had a list of three or four big-name coaches. He said he wouldn't hire any coordinator from another team over me but that he wanted a big-name guy. Then he called me the day before Marty's press conference to tell me that Marty had taken the job."

Robiskie couldn't deny that the Redskins, who had gone from 1999 NFC East champions and 2000 preseason Super Bowl favorites to 8-8 busts, needed a spark or that Schottenheimer, who had won seven division titles and four wild-card playoff berths in 14 full seasons with Cleveland and Kansas City, wasn't more qualified to provide that new direction.

"We just didn't get the job done last year," said Robiskie, 46. "Everybody was picking us to win it all, and we struggled to finish 8-8. I wish we could have won one or both of the games we lost [under his direction]. If we had gone 10-6 and lost in the first round of the playoffs, I think Mr. Snyder still would have hired Marty, but it would have been interesting. I was hoping to put a little pressure on Mr. Snyder. I would like to have another opportunity to be a head coach. I still believe I have the capability of running a program and winning."

In the interim, Robiskie wanted to be Schottenheimer's receivers coach.

"I knew Marty was very loyal to his people," Robiskie said. "Richard Mann had been with him forever. I said, 'If you can't get your staff, can I be one of your guys?' When Richard decided to come to Washington, that was that. But Marty did tell something that was very enlightening to me. He said that when I was offered the [interim] job, the only way I should have taken it was if I was given a three-year contract. Marty said, 'You can't get guys to play for you if they think you're only going to be there for three weeks.' "

Having become a first-time head coach when he took over the Browns midway through the 1984 season, Schottenheimer had been in Robiskie's situation. And it was to the latter-day Browns that Robiskie headed after 12 years with the Los Angeles Raiders (1982-1993) and seven with the Redskins.

"There's such a tremendous turnover in this business, so I was lucky to have been with only two organizations before this year," Robiskie said. "It doesn't matter how good a coach you are. Look at [Denver defensive coordinator] Ray Rhodes. He's with his fourth organization in four years, and his [Washington] defense was fourth in the league last year. Anytime you're somewhere for seven years, you become attached. I'm very fond of the Washington area. I would have loved to have stayed with the Redskins, but I'm pouring myself into my new situation. I've never been one to complain. You can drop me in the Mojave Desert and as long as you give me a glass of water, I can take care of the rest."

Browns guard Tre Johnson, a Redskin the past seven years, said Robiskie hasn't shown any bitterness about not being in Washington. The coach is learning to love Cleveland.

"We have some talented, hungry kids who want to play," Robiskie said. "We're saying, 'On any given Sunday, when the whistle blows, let's compete like hell.' I want to see my young guy [rookie receiver] Quincy Morgan, compete against [Redskins cornerbacks] Champ Bailey and Darrell Green. It will be a great test for him. Tim Couch [the quarterback who was the first pick in the 1999 draft] is better than people give him credit for. He's very smart, and he can make all the throws. He just needs people to help him. Dan Marino didn't go to the Super Bowl after [receivers] Mark Duper and Mark Clayton left. John Elway didn't win a Super Bowl until he had a better team around him."

As for tomorrow's game, Robiskie said he doesn't expect to be emotional when he sees Michael Westbrook, Stephen Davis and his other former players on the opposite sideline.

"I've never been one of those guys to get caught up in playing my former team, and it's just a preseason game," said Robiskie, a running back for five seasons with Oakland and Miami. "But if it was a regular-season game, I'd have a speech ready for my guys."


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