- The Washington Times - Monday, July 22, 2002

Norv Turner's training camps were too easy. Marty Schottenheimer's were too hard. Steve Spurrier wants one that is just right.
The new coach of the Washington Redskins plans to take an intermediate approach when his team opens training camp tomorrow at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.
Spurrier won't put alarms on dormitory doors or refuse players a meal if they arrive 30 seconds late to breakfast, as Schottenheimer did last year. He will, however, use Schottenheimer's hated "Oklahoma Drill" and practice twice daily more often than Turner drilled his teams. But, he plans fewer full contact drills than Schottenheimer.
Tough love or tender loving care? Spurrier, in his first NFL season, must make a quick adjustment from dealing with teen-agers on scholarship to dealing with professionals if the Redskins are to reach the playoffs for only the second time in a decade.
Spurrier often plays the country lawyer role, saying he's just a "ball coach." However, those close to him say he will increase the intensity from the slow offseason pace when he returns from vacation today. How high the intensity goes remains to be seen.
Schottenheimer's camp was like a gulag and Turner's were considered too easy. The end results were the same: The Redskins finished 8-8 in each coach's final season with the team, and much of the blame was put on the style of the preseason training camp.
Spurrier hopes for a third way, a camp that gets his team in shape and toughens it, but doesn't wear out his players. The preseason mantra: Preparation without pounding.
There is plenty of preparation to do and plenty of questions to be resolved as the Redskins enter camp. The quarterback competition is the biggest question and it will be settled over the five preseason games which begin Aug.3 in Japan.
The biggest questions, however, surround Spurrier himself.
The iconic University of Florida coach stunned the Gators faithful when he abruptly resigned in January and eventually signed a blockbuster $25million contract with the Redskins that made him the highest-paid coach in the NFL. The Redskins return enough defense and special teams from last season's squad to contend, but Spurrier's renowned offensive touch will be tested with a unit that at times ranked as the worst in the NFL last year.
"The biggest offseason acquisition has been coach Spurrier," said Joe Mendes, vice president of football operations. "Since then, we quietly made our mark in the player area."
The Redskins quietly spent their limited offseason budget on defense, picking up free agent standouts such as linebackers Jeremiah Trotter and Jessie Armstead and end Renaldo Wynn. There were losses as well. Defensive end Marco Coleman and kick returner Michael Bates were salary cap casualties. Unrestricted free agents such as tight end Stephen Alexander, center Cory Raymer and defensive tackle Kenard Lang signed with other teams.
The Redskins hope their young players will mature quickly.
"You're never satisfied and never achieve all your goals. It's a constant work," Mendes said. "We're happy some of the things we hit. There's still others that need to be addressed, but you can't manufacture a solution."
For the second straight year, at least 30 new players are expected to be on the roster at the start of the regular season. The Redskins' 10-player draft didn't produce even one starter, but it did bolster the team's depth. The Redskins may become the sleeper choice for an NFC wild-card slot if Spurrier's offensive scheme can get results from a quarterback unit that includes one part-time starter and three who didn't throw a pass in the league last year.
The quarterback competition will take nearly the entire preseason to resolve, and it still might not produce a firm starter. Spurrier was known for switching quarterbacks in the "Fun 'n' Gun" system that produced Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews who are now competing for the Redskins job. Sage Rosenfels, who as a rookie did not play last year, is the only carryover quarterback. However, Rosenfels likely will be cut unless he somehow manages to land the job as the starter because first-round pick Patrick Ramsey is considered the quarterback of the future. Ramsey's late offseason progress may give him a chance to start this season.
That's the only starting job officially available, but there are several positions at which the starter may change. The interior line, with two new guards and a new center, is a patchwork for the third straight season.
David Loverne, acquired in a draft-day trade with the New York Jets, gets first shot at the starter's job at left guard. Rod Jones must convert from center to right guard. Safeties Sam Shade and David Terrell each has a loose grip on his starting spot. Cornerback Darrell Green, in his final season, could be eclipsed by rookie Rashad Bauman at nickel back. The Redskins will look for successors to aging defensive end Bruce Smith and running back Stephen Davis, if Davis' contract isn't reworked for 2003.
Spurrier isn't using his first season as a setup to 2003, though. The impatience of owner Dan Snyder, who fired three coaches in 13 months, doesn't permit long-term planning. Spurrier believes the Redskins can win the NFC East. He'll soon know whether it's a reasonable expectation or a summertime romance.

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