General manager Bobby Beathard said yesterday, "We will explore avery way to make our team better during the off season," but admitted it may take as many as three years for the redskins to achieve parity with the NEL's elite teams.
"I can tell you there is no way I am going to use 1980 draft choices to get new players," Beathard said in a conversation that included a loud blast at George Allen, former Redskin coach-general manager. "We want ot build a solid football team, and to trade picks would just prolong what happened to us this year.
"The only way we could drastically change things right now is to begin trading 1980 choices. But that's a patchwork kind of scheme, and I don't believe in that approach. Everybody in this organization, from Mr. Williams (Edward Bennett Williams, the team president) and Jack Pardee on down believes the same thing.
"We can't panic. I know the fans and the press would like to hear me say something else, but this team has to be rebuilt and it's going to take some patience.
"People have to realize it's not an overnight thing. I knew that when I took the job, and I'm not discouraged at all, but I think it's a three-year deal. It won't be until 1980 that we even have a full draft.
"And even when we do have all our picks, you can't expect everyone to come in and be instant starters or stars. I'd say it would take two years of really good drafts to really get going again."
Beathard said he has not been at all pleased "to have George Allen constantly second-guess us. He has done everything he can to screw up the Redskins.
"I think he's taken advantage of his position not being in coaching this year. Nobody's asked for his advice, but he certainly didn't hesitate to give it, and I don't think what he's done is very fair. It's unbelievable a guy would be so small as to say some of the things he said. He's always second-guessing: "I would have done this, I wouldn't have gotten rid of this guy.'
"I doesn't mean his team would have been any better. He wasn't here to coach it, so why knock everything. But I have a feeling he enjoys doing it. He had his chance to do something with the Rams and he didn't do it. I don't even know if he'll get another opportunity.
"I don't believe in George Allen's philosophy. You may do well for a while, but it doesn't last. That's obvious. It's time to start building here because it got to the end of the line. Everybody around the league knew that. The only people who don't like to admit it are George Allen and some of his order players."
Beathard said it probably would be in the Redskins' best interest for Allen to land another coaching job.
"Yes, it would," he said, without elaborating. Obviously, he believes Allen would be inclined to trade the Redskins some draft choices for some of his old favorite players.
"What happened to this team didn't happen because of the new regime," Beathard maintained. "George Allen didn't have any special magic. His team might have been worse. He might have played with people we did not think could play. If he had kept hem, I doubt he would have done as well."
What about John Riggins' contention after Sunday's closing defeat by Chicago that the trade of popular wide receiver Frank Grant to Tampa Bay when the Redskin slide?
"I think Frank had a lot of character and I thought he was a heck of a person and anytime you let a guy like that go, you feel bad about it. "But as far as ability, we upgraded ourselves. His speed just wasn't there anymore. It's a fact.
"I made a lot of calls around the league, and we got the best deal we could. Maybe it did shake some people up. But at the time, we thought it was in the best interest of the team."
The Redskins would have received a fifth-round draft choice from Tampa Bay if Grant had played in 50 percent of the Bucs' games. He did not, so the Redskins must settle for a seventh round choice.
At the moment, the Redskins are draft-poor for 1979. They will not pick until the fourth round, then will have choices in the seventh and ninth, two picks in the 11th, and a No. 12. The Redskins had obtained a No. 3 pick from the Rams in the Eddie Brown trade, but that went to Miami to acquire running back Benny Malone.
In 1980, the Redskins have all their choices except in the third round. They have all their selections in the 1981 draft and thereafter.
Beathard said it is too soon to predict what changes are in store for the Washington team that finished 1978 with eight losses in its last 10 games.
Other souces within the organization are saying privately there will be a major housecleaning involving many of the graybeards.
Players not expected to be back next year include Jake Scott, Ron McDole, Chris Hanburger, Diron Talbert, Jean Fugett, Mike Thomas and Billy Kilmer, even if the veteran quarterback does have a year left-at $280,000-on his contract. Several sources say the Redskins may even be willing to pay Kilmer off rather than have him come back.
Asked about Kilmer yesterday, Beathard said. "I'd say he's under contract and I would assume that he will be back."
Beathard was asked if he thinks some of the older Redskins ought to consider retirement.
"I wouldn't be surpised if some did," he said. "And I wouldn't be surprised if some of them didn't want to. Jack and I will talk about all those things in the next few weeks.
"If guys don't take care of themselves as they get on in years, it's hard to complete in this league and we saw some of that this year.
"When people belittle offseason programs and feel they are insignificant, that kind of player shouldn't be playing. It's a strong, quick man's game, and it's also a 12-month job, not a six-month job. Some of our players did not approach it that way."
Beathard declined to single out any individuals, if only because he soon will be talking trade with other teams and it would be foolish to downgrade the merchandise publicly.
He said the Redskins will be looking specifically to upgrade their offensive and defensive lines and linebackers in the offseason, while admitting, "Those are some of the toughest spots to fill without draft choices."
He indicated that No. 3 quarterback Kim McQuilken will be given "every opportunity in training camp to show what he can do, just like any other quarterback. I think we have a real fine prospect in McQuilken."
And what about Joe Theismann?
"This was Joe's first real year at quarterback, and hopefully he's gained something from it," Beathard said. "We have got to have consistency at the position. A quarterback doesn't develop in one year. I'm sure Joe's learned a lot, and it will help him."
And what did Beathard learn about the Redskins in the first reason as general manager?
"Well, we're certainly not in the position of an expansion team," he said. "We still have a good mucleus of talent and I still think we can be competitive. To get up among the top teams, it will take a while, but as long as you are competitive, anything can happen.
"We're not a great team, but that's what we are going to work for. Everybody knew this wasn't a great team when we came in. I was familiar with the Redskin's personnel, so it wasn't a shock.
"I knew there was a rebuilding job to do. It wasn't as if they were a super team the last few years anyway: The big difference is that we want to get some new young blood on the team. How long can you go without new young talent?"
"This is nothing that all of a sudden just happened. It was going to happen. We all knew that, I think Allen probably knew it too. But I am not discouraged. You just have to do things the right way.
"And we will."