- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2001

The Washington Redskins' quarterback situation remained unresolved yesterday, and it appeared that the eventual starter might be stuck with tenuous status throughout the season.
Coach Marty Schottenheimer did not name a starter one day after yanking Jeff George in the third quarter of Sunday's 30-3 loss at San Diego. Team sources, a day after saying George likely will start this Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, confirmed that no internal decision was made.
Schottenheimer said he was waiting to speak to George privately before making a decision. That conversation could come as soon as today. The coach is trying to see, at least in part, how George has reacted to Sunday's benching and whether he remains committed to the team concept.
"We haven't had an opportunity outside the arena to express what's on our mind," Schottenheimer said. "I think it's important that we do that."
Schottenheimer still hopes to settle on one quarterback but left open the possibility of making another switch if he feels it gives the Redskins the best chance to win a game.
"One [quarterback] that's always been my preference," Schottenheimer said. "But having said that, whatever it takes to win. That's the single thing that drives every decision we make."
George declined interview requests for a second straight day but told WRC-TV (Ch. 4) that his confidence hasn't been shaken.
"I've been through a lot in life, just in general, and I know how to handle situations," George said. "I know how to go about my business, and I'm always ready… . Me not being focused, I can guarantee that will never happen."
Sunday's decision appeared to go against what Schottenheimer said in the preseason that he had never had a quarterback controversy in 14-1/2 years as an NFL coach and that he would not put his starting quarterback in a situation in which he was guessing about his status.
But Schottenheimer believed the offense needed a spark while trailing 20-0, having gained just three first downs in 2-1/2 quarters. Banks' performance in the third preseason game 12-for-15 passing for 177 yards and two touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns made Schottenheimer think that a similar relief effort might be possible.
"It wasn't specifically related to Jeff," Schottenheimer said. "It had to do with offensively we weren't getting anything done. Frankly my thought was we put Tony in there and he draws a hot hand like he did in the preseason game, maybe we have a chance to get back in it. If we were down 24-0 maybe I wouldn't have done it. But we were within three scores."
George, after missing much of training camp with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder and playing just three quarters in the preseason, completed eight of 18 passes for 66 yards with two interceptions and two fumbles. He said that the health of his shoulder was not a factor and that it no longer is a concern.
George appeared to get into a heated conversation with Schottenheimer on the sideline, but both he and the coach denied that the talk was laced with anger. George said he had a moment of clarity before it could reach that point, and he decided not to allow a repeat of a high-profile shouting match he had with Atlanta Falcons coach June Jones in 1996.
"I would say I was upset, but I guess you learn from your past," George said. "I had a peaceful thought that went over me. I was upset that I wasn't out there, but I wasn't going to get into the situation that I had before."
Banks, who signed Aug. 16 after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, hit seven of 14 for 53 yards at San Diego. The Redskins finished with only 161 yards and eight first downs. Banks continues to view himself as a starter without actually saying that he is challenging for the job.
"I know that Jeff's the guy," Banks said. "But I'm used to being the guy. That's the reason I play the game. Right now my position is the same as when I got here: Trying to learn this offense and trying to get better every day."
Redskins coaches have installed virtually all of the playbook for Banks, but he is not yet comfortable with everything.
"I know it when I hear it, but it's [a question of] being able to spit it out when the bullets start flying on Sunday," Banks said.


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