- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 4, 2001

Marty Schottenheimer?

The same Marty Schottenheimer who ripped Dan Snyder on ESPN last year for his shoddy treatment of Norv Turner?

The same Marty Schottenheimer who said, after Turner was fired, that he had no interest in the Redskins job, that he couldn't work in that type of situation?

That Marty Schottenheimer is the Redskins' new coach and director of football operations?

Never say never, indeed.

Schottenheimer hasn't even worked a day for the Redskins, and already he has a credibility problem. Maybe we could hook him up to a polygraph at his weekly news conferences, just so we'll know for sure if he's telling the truth. Dan Snyder and Marty Schottenheimer. If ever an owner and coach deserved each other …

Marty, you may recall, was fired by the Cleveland Browns after the '88 season because he wouldn't appoint an offensive coordinator. So what does he do? He goes to Kansas City and appoints an offensive coordinator (Joe Pendry, who had been on his staff with the Browns). Bullheadedness like that ought to mesh real well with an owner who brings in defensive consultants in the middle of the season and axes his head coach when the team still has a chance to make the playoffs.

All that aside, though, this is a nice, safe hire for the Redskins. Few coaches in recent years have had a better track record than Schottenheimer in the regular season, at least. From 1986 (his second full season with Cleveland) to 1997 (his next-to-last season with the Chiefs), he had 12 straight winning seasons. He's an established coach who Gets Results. And that's what Snyder was looking for as much as anything: a sure thing. He's tired of getting beat up in the media and the beatings would have continued if he had taken a chance on an NFL assistant or a college coach and it hadn't worked out.

Frankly, I didn't think the Redskins would be able to attract somebody this competent. I figured Snyder's micromanaging ways coupled with his inexperience and general obnoxiousness would scare the best candidates away. And sure enough, a lot of the big names Bill Parcells, Steve Spurrier, Butch Davis turned up their nose at the job. It was beginning to look like Snyder would have to settle for a second- or third-tier coach.

But somehow he got Schottenheimer to say yes. Was it the $10 million? The dual title? Whatever the explanation, Snyder is darn lucky. The Redskins are one of the oldest teams in the league, and their window of opportunity is closing fast. By the end of next season, Darrell Green, Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders among others may all be gone. They need a coach who can pull things together quickly, who can command the players' respect from the get-go. Schottenheimer is just such a coach; he has a system, and the system works.

He's also a good fit because he comes from a defensive background, and this is a team that's built around its defense. If Ray Rhodes decides to move on to Denver or wherever the unit will still be in good hands. Schottenheimer also has some experience with hotshot young linebackers, having developed Derrick Thomas in Kansas City. Maybe he can do the same with LaVar Arrington.

So for all sorts of reasons, Schottenheimer makes sense for the Redskins. But for one very big reason he doesn't: He has never had much success in the playoffs. From Day 1, Snyder has been talking Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl, and now he has hired a coach with a 5-11 postseason record, a coach who has never been to the Super Bowl. In fact, the only year Schottenheimer won more than one game in the playoffs was when he had a quarterback named Joe Montana (1993). In '95 and again in '97, his Chiefs went 13-3 and lost their first playoff game on their home field, no less. How do you suppose Snyder would have reacted to that?

You have to wonder if Dan the Man isn't once again reliving his childhood. First he buys the team he worshipped growing up. Then he tries to turn it into a latter-day Over the Hill Gang by signing Smith, Sanders, Mark Carrier, Irving Fryar et al. And now he brings in a coach with a terrific regular season record but a lousy postseason one, a coach with a defensive bent. Sounds like George Allen to me.

That's one way to look at it, anyway. Marty Schottenheimer is Dan Snyder's George Allen.


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