Redskin Coach Jack Pardee will not be fired before season's end.
Bobby Beathard's job as general manager is safe, too.
The Redskins are ashamed of their 3-8 record, but they will return to pro football's elite.
Jack Kent Cooke, the Redskins' owner, said so yesterday.
"No, it is not Jack Pardee's fault," Cooke said minutes after sitting glumly through his team's latest defeat, 24-0 to Philadelphia, the Redskins' fourth loss at RFK this season.
"I am satisfied with the general manager and the coach," Cooke said. "They are not at fault."
Cooke smiled wanly when he added, "The next question is obvious: Whose fault is it? I don't know. I wish I did. If I did, I would change it." f
In 30 years as the owner of pro sports teams, Cooke said he fired only one manager or coach in mid-season. In 1951 he canned Joe Becker, whose Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team was losing badly.
"I mistakenly, as subsequent events proved, thought it was Joe's fault," Cooke said. "I vowed then never to fire a man in midseason. And I usually keep all my vows. No, I invariably keep my vows."
So he will not fire Pardee now?
"I have absolutely no intention of doing anything of the sort," Cooke said.
Pressed as to whether or not Pardee and/or Beathard would be back with the Redskins next season, Cooke refused to speculate, saying, "My name is Cooke, not Cassandra. I can't look into the future."
After the Redskins' 35-21 loss at Chicago a week ago, Cooke said he was distressed by what he called the team's "lack of spirit, determination, will to win." At a mid-week meeting with Pardee and Beathard, Cooke stressed to both men he wanted to see evidence of spirit against the Eagles.
"Relatively, the spirit was there today that wasn't there last week," Cooke said. "The problem today was more a lack of consistency."
That lack of consistency, Cooke said, was reflected in inopportune penalties, dropped passes and fumbles that doomed the Redskins to the season's second shutout at home -- the first time that ever has happened to a Washington Redskin team.
"And lack of consistency is bred by lack of discipline," Cooke said.
Asked if lack of discipline were not the fault of the coaching staff, Cooke said, "I wouldn't say that, I wouldn't imply that and I certainly hope you don't infer that."
As for the team's inability to score, Cooke said, "I shouldn't tell you what I think."
By the middle of the fourth quarter, perhaps half of the 51,897 faithful -- there were 3,148 no-shows -- had filed out of RFK in silent departure. There had been fitful booing throughout the day, but late in the game the customers seemed indifferent to the proceedings
"I would rather have the fans booing than simply leaving the stadium," Cooke said. "That bothers me very much."
Cooke said the Redskins will use "all the energy, enterprise, intelligence and industry of this organization" to improve the team that has been a bitter disappointment "to me, to Jack Pardee, to Bobby Beathard, to all the players and their wives. We are all ashamed of the record to date."
Cooke said he is prepared to be patient in what he calls "a rebuilding program."
"Emphatically yes, I will be patient," he said. "And I think the fans will be patient as long as they can see that the end of a rebuilding program is consistent winning.
"It can be done.
"And what's more, it will be done. It can be, I repeat, and it will be."
Cooke said he will meet with Pardee and Beathard again this week, as he has done each week all season. "Routine," he said. "Not a summit meeting, not an important meeting."