- The Washington Times - Friday, January 5, 2001

Washington Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer is considering widespread staff changes that would oust defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes and interim coach Terry Robiskie.

After signing a four-year, $10 million deal that could reach $18 million with incentives, Schottenheimer said yesterday he still plans to meet with the coaching staff today before making any final decisions. However, team sources said the departure of Rhodes and Robiskie along with most assistant coaches is all but assured.

Schottenheimer said his top priority is reorganizing the coaching staff. He hinted at some changes, saying of prospective assistants, "A couple people come to mind. It wouldn't be fair at this point to identify them… . If we make changes and others are going to look elsewhere, it's important to give them an opportunity to do that."

Several assistant coaches waited for a meeting with Schottenheimer that never happened because of time constraints. Several others were vacationing out of town. Robiskie departed abruptly before Schottenheimer's news conference, declining comment on his future. However, sources close to Robiskie said he expects to be released from the final year of his contract.

Robiskie would consider resuming his assistant coach duties but feels Schottenheimer has his own staff in mind. Robiskie was 1-2 as the interim coach after coach Norv Turner's firing Dec. 4.

"I'll certainly have an open mind, but I don't know him that well," Schottenheimer said of Robiskie.

Rhodes has told team sources for several weeks that he would stay only if Robiskie was promoted. Sources close to Rhodes said he was especially upset over the hiring of a defensive-minded coach whom Rhodes felt would interfere in his game strategy. Rhodes has one year remaining on his deal, but is expected to be granted his release. The Denver Broncos are among several teams interested in him.

Schottenheimer's brother, Kurt, currently is the Kansas City defensive coordinator, but the Chiefs are expected to change their staff as soon as today. Schottenheimer also may consider his former offensive coordinator, Lindy Infante, over one-time assistant Paul Hackett. Schottenheimer said he wants assistants who are good teachers.

"They have to find different ways to say the same thing, because everybody doesn't understand it if you continually say it the same way," he said.

Owner Dan Snyder affirmed Schottenheimer's control over the entire front office, including the final word on draft picks. Schottenheimer was given final say on the roster over player personnel director Vinny Cerrato. While team sources said Snyder assured Cerrato he won't be dismissed, Schottenheimer is considering Chicago Bears vice president of player personnel Mark Hatley, who has denied interest in the Redskins.

"We haven't sat around and talked structure with [Schottenheimer] yet," Snyder said. "Obviously, this is Marty Schottenheimer's organization from the standpoint of the final word. It's something he needs to have."

Schottenheimer said he's comfortable with quarterback Jeff George returning as the starter but wants to talk with Brad Johnson, who is an unrestricted free agent. Team sources said there is virtually no scenario in which the Redskins would franchise Johnson. Schottenheimer could force the move if he felt strongly enough about Johnson, but agent Phil Williams doesn't expect the Redskins to retain Johnson.

"I don't think this affects us at all," Williams said. "There's a very slim chance the coach wants something that the owner doesn't."

In another matter, Schottenheimer offered no preference over the training camp's location. The Redskins are considering a move from Redskin Park to a local college this summer, though Snyder said nothing had been decided. Still, Schottenheimer's opinion probably will determine the location.

A possible preseason game in Germany was endorsed by Schottenheimer, though. He has coached teams that played in Germany and Japan and felt it was a positive experience. The Redskins are expected to be named for the late July game in coming weeks.


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