Coach Jack Pardee and General Manager Bobby Beathard began a series of meetings yesterday with Jack Kent Cooke, owner of the Redskins, that will determine whether they will return to the club next season.
The three men talked for 1 1/2 hours at Cooke's Upperville, Va., estate, Falling Brook, concentrating mainly on a review of the season.
It was the first time they had been together in the same room in three weeks and Pardee's first conversation with Cooke since the coach said 10 days ago there were problems within the organization that prevented it from producing winning teams.
Cooke labeled the meeting a preliminary discussion and said that more substantive talks would be held after Christmas.
"This was our first go at it and things went generally well," he said. "But it wasn't really much different than the first of any series of meetings. "
"We will meet again and again until I have all the answers to the questions I have on my mind. It will be a thorough process, covering everything.
"Do I know more (about the situation) today than yesterday? Yes, but not a great deal more. I didn't expect to."
Despite his unhappiness with some segments of the organization, Pardee already has said he wants to remain as coach.
Cook said the two men, who differ on many philosophical questions regarding the future of the Redskins, got along "reasonably so, just as they have in the past. They are gentlemen and I would expect nothing less."
"I don't know how long this will take, maybe two to three weeks. I am in no hurry. I want to do the right thing."
Once Cooke completes the meetings and examines the information he has gathered, he will announce whether he will retain Pardee, who has two years remaining on his contract, and/or Beathard, who was given a three-year extension last spring.
Cooke again said that he has not made up his mind about what he will do.
Said Beathard about the meeting: "It's something that has to be done. If I were an owner , I'd want to do it the same way.It's the only way to get at the answers. Whatever happens, he still is being fair to both of us.
"Like Mr. Cooke said, this was just a preliminary discussion. I'm sure things will get more detailed in the future."
Future meetings are likely to center on these areas:
Why the Redskins slumped so badly and played with such a lack of enthusiasm in midseason?
Why there are differences between Beathard and Pardee, and whether or not they can be remedied.
Can the current front office set-up, with Pardee and Beathard as coequals, work well enough to make the Redskins a winning organization?
Are these the two men he wants in charge of his football team, which was 6-10 this seasons?