Turner Rips Into Redskins After 7th Straight Loss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 19, 1998; Page A1
MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 18 The Washington Redskins' frustration and disgust with a winless season finally spilled over in full force for everyone to see during and especially after a 41-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings today at the Metrodome.
Coach Norv Turner basically called some of his players quitters during tirades at halftime and following the game. His face was red with anger during a postgame news conference in which he said the Redskins' offense is "totally inept" and vowed that changes are on the way.
"That's as poor a performance as I can say I've ever been involved with," said Turner, who is in his fifth season as the Redskins' head coach and has been coaching on the college or pro level since 1975.
He praised several veteran players by name, and said the defense "has a chance" to be "decent."
Of the offense, Turner's area of responsibility when he was an assistant coach, he said: "We can't snap two plays together in a row and not jump offsides. When we do get the ball snapped properly and a guy's open, we can't get him the ball. When we get him the ball, he doesn't catch it. We've got guys going the wrong way. We're just not capable of performing offensively right now."
Tears were in veteran cornerback Darrell Green's eyes as he sat on the sideline during the third quarter, contemplating just how low the Redskins have sunk during his 16th season with the team. And several Redskins players joined Turner afterward in saying that many of their teammates have given up on a season that began with high hopes, but has unraveled into something that just keeps getting uglier.
"Some guys think riding in nice cars is what the NFL is all about," running back and kick returner Brian Mitchell said. "You've got to bust your butt every week. There's a core of this team that gives you everything they have every week. But there are other guys not doing their jobs. This team hasn't started bickering and pointing fingers. But enough is enough. Oh and seven is getting pretty close."
Said linebacker Marvcus Patton: "It's not important enough to a lot of guys."
Sources close to the situation said today that Turner, whose contract runs through the 2001 season, remains unlikely to be fired during this season. But after weeks of insisting that they were a decent team simply playing bad football, it's becoming increasingly obvious even to the Redskins that they simply are a bad team.
Turner has changed starting quarterbacks. He has fired two kickers. He has put veteran players on the special teams units. Nothing has worked.
The Redskins have four first-round draft picks over the next two years. But they still don't have a quarterback around whom they can build the franchise. They haven't made the playoffs since the 1992 season, and their rebuilding project six years in the making still could have several years to go.
But there are no guarantees about the team's future no guarantee that team president John Kent Cooke will be able to purchase the franchise from his father's estate, and no guarantees that Turner and General Manager Charley Casserly will remain in place.
"We are rock bottom. I'm at a loss for words for this," said Green, a member of Washington's Super Bowl championship teams in 1987 and 1991. "... This is the lowest. Sitting on the sideline, it just hit me. Win, lose or draw, that's us, and I'm a part of that. I began to ponder it on the sideline and I got really emotional. It's an accumulation of things. I've never felt like this. I don't know why. I've lost before. [But] I'm only human."
Their September schedule was brutal; three of their four opponents made the playoffs last season, including the Denver Broncos, who won the Super Bowl.
October has been another story. The Redskins began the month by losing at home to the Dallas Cowboys, whose record fell to 4-3 today with a loss to the 2-5 Chicago Bears.
Last weekend in Philadelphia, the Redskins were beaten by the previously winless Eagles. Today, the Vikings remained undefeated by tallying 41 consecutive points after the Redskins scored an early touchdown.
The Redskins have a bye next week. "I could use three byes," Green said. "If we could buy someone else's bye, I'd take it."
With the gap between games, they are scheduled to practice on only two of the next seven days. "I thought about where we are hard, and one of the things that might be good for some of these guys is to get away from it," Turner said.
He also said there probably will be some lineup changes before the Redskins return for a game Nov. 1 against the New York Giants at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.
"We're going to come in Wednesday [for the team's next practice] and find the guys that really want to compete," Turner said, "the guys that ... can learn something. ... The guys that really want to compete get them on the field and let them play.
"We have a lot of guys that aren't playing at a very high level. So you've got to do something."
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