- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2002

Washington Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer's status could be decided today after talks with owner Dan Snyder continued yesterday.
Schottenheimer is still considering whether to accept changes to his staff and the hiring of a general manager, both terms demanded by Snyder, that would usurp his previous complete control of football operations. Team officials again denied reports of a buyout of the final three years of Schottenheimer's contract worth $7.5 million.
Schottenheimer spent 21/2 hours at Redskin Park yesterday before driving to an afternoon meeting with Snyder. Assistant coaches departed soon afterward with team sources saying they remain uncertain of their future. Several have already started searching for jobs, according to NFL sources.
"We'll have a decision soon," Schottenheimer said when walking to his car.
Schottenheimer has repeatedly said he doesn't plan any changes to his staff, though team sources said he would review the assistants. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye expects to be fired as per Snyder's demand, according to team sources. Quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer's future may also be in doubt.
The Redskins continue to talk with former Washington general manager Bobby Beathard, who hasn't returned repeated messages during the past week. However, NFL sources said Beathard wants to select his own coaching staff if he accepts the job.
Meanwhile, former Florida coach Steve Spurrier remains the leading candidate should Schottenheimer depart. However, Spurrier doesn't appear rushed to accept his first NFL job. Tampa Bay is considered Spurrier's first choice, but Carolina and Atlanta appear interested. Indianapolis fired coach Jim Mora yesterday while Denver coach Mike Shanahan opted to remain with the Broncos rather than succeed Spurrier at Florida.
Snyder is expected to make another move on Spurrier after failing last year to sign him to a $3 million deal with $3 million in incentives. Spurrier is expected to seek at least $5 million annually.
Spurrier said his decision could be a month away, though many teams are expected to move on new coaches within the week. Tampa Bay will consider replacing coach Tony Dungy should the Bucs fare poorly in the playoffs. Tampa Bay visits the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday in the NFC's first round. The Bucs may also consider retired coach Bill Parcells.
Still, Schottenheimer was given a chance to remain with the Redskins after meeting with Snyder for two straight days. Schottenheimer won't depart without the remaining $7.5 million, according to team sources. Ironically, he continues to plan for next season. Among the top priorities are deciding whether to re-sign quarterback Tony Banks and the other 16 unrestricted free agents like receiver Michael Westbrook, guards Ben Coleman and Dave Szott and center Cory Raymer.
Schottenheimer remains reluctant to fire Raye, whose offense ranked 28th overall and 30th passing. Aside from NFC rushing leader Stephen Davis, who gained a team-record 1,432 yards, the offense was often stagnant.
Raye was heavily criticized for the failure of "Marty Ball" despite Schottenheimer's release of quarterback Jeff George after an 0-2 start. Schottenheimer later admitted mishandling George in believing the deep passer could be converted into a short, high-percentage passer. By also failing to gain a backup until late in training camp when Banks was signed following his release by Dallas, the passing game was never fully functional. Indeed, Banks conceded he wasn't comfortable with the offense even at season's end and often burned one or two timeouts per game at the line of scrimmage.
Staff writer Jody Foldesy contributed to this story.

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