- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 1, 2001

The defense has a leader, and Jeff George has some work to do.

Washington Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer yesterday picked his brother, Kurt, over Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator, then said he intends to pursue "the very best" quarterbacks this offseason to compete with George for the starting job.
Kurt Schottenheimer appeared all but eliminated from consideration several weeks ago while former Buffalo defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell was being pursued. But Cottrell became the New York Jets' coordinator and assistant head coach, and Schottenheimer made a convincing case in his interview last week.
Schottenheimer actually might have been hired sooner if he hadn't been related to the head coach, the latter said. After discussing that issue, both agreed they would be able to withstand any criticism.
"To be honest, I always felt he would be ideal in the role," Marty Schottenheimer said. "Had he not been my brother, it would have been a decision that was very easy. But ultimately … the best thing we can do is put together the best possible coaching staff, and I felt like clearly in my mind Kurt Schottenheimer represented that."
Meanwhile, Marty Schottenheimer made it clear that he intends for George to have strong competition, even though he said there would be no quarterback controversy.
"I would like to get the very best player we can acquire, and then I'll make sure there's no quarterback controversy," Schottenheimer said.
Schottenheimer could attempt to trade for St. Louis' Trent Green (101.8 rating last season) or pursue free agents like Denver's Gus Frerotte (82.1), Baltimore's Trent Dilfer (76.6) or Seattle's John Kitna (75.6) to compete with George (79.6). Several others could spring free, though Schottenheimer has said he fully expects the Chiefs to renegotiate Elvis Grbac (89.9) before a $10 million roster bonus kicks in March 1.
Schottenheimer's remarks on the position came after his first conversation with agent Phil Williams. Williams represents Brad Johnson, a Redskins Pro Bowl selection in 1999 who battled the club's circus atmosphere and a knee injury last season.
Williams told Schottenheimer not to worry about meeting with Johnson, as Schottenheimer had intended to do, because Johnson is determined to test the market as an unrestricted free agent.
"I had read and heard he wanted to meet," Williams later said from Atlanta. "That's why I called, so he wouldn't have to think about that happening."
Schottenheimer added finality to Johnson's departure by terming "unlikely" the chance of naming Johnson the franchise player. Such a move would require some $6.9 million of cap room, and the Redskins are about to embark on a difficult process of shedding millions of dollars just to fill the roster and pursue free agents at other positions.
Kurt Schottenheimer, 51, comes to Washington after two seasons as Kansas City's defensive coordinator. Before that, he spent 12 seasons coaching special teams, defensive backs and tight ends under his brother in Cleveland and Kansas City.
Marty Schottenheimer said he did not seriously consider his brother for coordinator in Kansas City but that Kurt's added experience in addition to his determination, ideas and ability to communicate now makes him the best candidate.
The younger Schottenheimer replaces Ray Rhodes, who improved the Redskins' defensive ranking from 30th to fourth in his one season here. Rhodes has since joined the Denver Broncos.
Marty Schottenheimer made his decision Tuesday night and called Phillips, a former head coach with Denver (1993-94) and Buffalo (1998-2000), yesterday morning to inform him.
"He understood [my decision]," Schottenheimer said. "Wade is an outstanding football coach. If indeed he decides that he wants to coach this year, I'm sure he'll have the opportunity to do that."
Marty Schottenheimer said it is unlikely Kurt Schottenheimer also will coach a position. The posts of linebackers and defensive backs remain open.
Former Redskins linebacker Greg Manusky will interview today for either one of those defensive positions or as a special teams assistant. Cleveland defensive backs coach Jerry Holmes interviewed Tuesday for the defensive backs post.
The decision to retain a 4-3 defensive scheme or switch to a 3-4 had nothing to do with the hiring of Kurt Schottenheimer, Marty Schottenheimer said. Also, Marty Schottenheimer's limited evaluation of personnel so far has him calling a 3-4 scheme "probably unlikely."
Schottenheimer's latest hire brings to six the number of Redskins coaches who assisted him at Cleveland or Kansas City. The others are offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, wide receivers coach Richard Mann, offensive line coach Joe Pendry, quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer (Marty's son) and strength and conditioning coach Dave Redding.

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