- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

Washington Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer yesterday named Jeff George the starting quarterback for Sunday's scheduled game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Schottenheimer's decision, an afterthought by the time it came yesterday, had been expected since shortly after Sunday's 30-3 loss at San Diego. Schottenheimer considered backup Tony Banks, but the coach was fairly certain all along he would go with George, who was pulled in the third quarter Sunday while the Redskins trailed 20-0.
"While we have not been as effective offensively as we would like, there's any number of things that you can point to in that regard, and it certainly doesn't all revolve around one player," Schottenheimer said. "We've got a number of players who have to perform better. We have to coach better."
Schottenheimer maintained that he wouldn't change Sunday's decision to switch passers if given the chance, but the coach did sound a bit less likely to do so in the future.
"I have no idea [if I would]," Schottenheimer said. "I think the only honest, forthright answer I can give with regard to any player is: Let's do the job. Let's make sure we exhaust every opportunity we have to perform at the level we're capable of performing. And then, in the absence of that and in the interest of winning, we'll make whatever decisions we have to make."
Schottenheimer intended to wait until he spoke to George before deciding on Sunday's starter. He said he made his decision before yesterday's 45-minute meeting with George. The meeting also involved some film work.
"I wanted to have time to reflect on it. I wanted him to have time to reflect on it," Schottenheimer said. "Before he sat down, I knew what my decision was, but I wanted to get his perspective."
Playing at least a part in the choice was the fact that Banks, who signed Aug. 16, has not absorbed the entire playbook. Schottenheimer did not have a meeting with Banks yesterday; instead, the coach told Banks of his decision at practice.
The Redskins' offense ranks 29th in the NFL (out of 30 teams, because Arizona has not yet played) and George's 14.8 quarterback rating is 14th in the NFC. Schottenheimer's biggest concern with George is turnovers two interceptions and one fumble. George also had another fumble Sunday that the Redskins recovered. Washington had a total of seven fumbles (three by running back Stephen Davis) and four turnovers against the Chargers.
"I told Jeff, 'We will not give the ball to the other guy,' " Schottenheimer said. "We can't win if we give it to the other guy… . That's the one thing I won't tolerate."
It remains unclear if George will be affected by the specter that he could be replaced again. The quarterback has not commented since Sunday's game, except for one interview Monday with WRC-TV. Schottenheimer said the possibility of replacing George did not come up during yesterday's conversation.
The relationship between coach and quarterback could grow strained if the offense continues to struggle. Schottenheimer and George appeared to get into a heated talk on the sideline at San Diego, but both denied that they spoke with anger.

Notes The sprained knee of right guard David Brandt has shown significant improvement. He did some straight-ahead running yesterday and might return to practice today. He is questionable for Sunday.
Brandt, an undrafted rookie, likely will return to the starting lineup if healthy. Taking first-string snaps at right guard yesterday was Matt Campbell, not Ben Coleman. Campbell lost the left-side job to Dave Szott in the preseason; Coleman signed a big contract this offseason and replaced Brandt Sunday but remains hampered by a swollen knee.
Also making good progress with a sprained knee was linebacker Robert Jones, who missed the Chargers game. He is questionable but increasingly likely to play. Strong safety Sam Shade (thigh) took part in all of practice and should have no trouble playing.


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