General Manager Bobby Beathard, now firmly in control of the Redskin front office, said he regretted he had philosophical differences with Pardee. "I sincerely admire the guy as a person," Beathard said.
Beathard refused to elaborate on those differences, the main reasons cited by owner Jack Kent Cooke for Pardee's dismissal as Redskin coach. But he did acknowledge for the first time that he and Pardee disagreed on the direction of the club.
"Anything thre is to say was said by Mr. Cooke," Beathard said. "It's exactly what he said." Cooke, in his statement, did not specify what the differences were.
Beathard said he did not consider yesterday's developments a victory for him in a power struggle with Pardee.
"I don't look at it that way," he said. "All I'm concerend about is the Redskins and what is best for the Redskins. I'm not going to elaborate on the past.
"This is a sad thing. Anything like this is awkward and sad. But I'd have to say I'd rather be on this side than the other."
The problems between Beathard and Pardee ran far deeper than disagreements over personnel cuts although those differences were part of the trouble, especially when the Redskins continued to cut players he thought had NFL potential.
"We can't keep letting good players go and expect to become a contender," Beathard told friends midway through the season, when he was becoming convinced that Pardee's refusal to use younger players over older veterans was dooming the team to mediocrity.
Beathard was not sure Pardee was a good teacher. Beathard also questioned Pardee's motivational abilities, an opinion Cooke echoed publicly when he questioned the Redskins' will to win and determination after their lopsided loss to Chicago Nov. 9.
Although Beathard said 10 days ago it would take three more years for the Redskins to become consistent playoff participants, he said yesterday he thought the club could have a winning record and make the playoffs next season.
"I'm not going to say what our record will be," he said. "But we don't have to start from rock bottom. We have a real good nucleus of football players. We have some good young players and some on injured reserve that we think are prospects. Combine them with our experienced players and some draft choices and free agents and I would say I'm optimistic.
"I'm not backing off the three-year thing. It will take us that long to pick up the kind of depth we need to be solid enough to make the playoffs even if we have injuries. But in the meantime, it wouldn't be a fluke if we made the playoffs."
Sources say Cooke also is optimistic that the Redskins can have a winning record next season. Cooke refused to comment about the team's future yesterday.
Now that Cooke has put him in charge of the rebuilding program, Beathard's personnel talents will be put to a major test. During his first three years with the Redskins, he has been criticized for some questionable trades and for an apparent lack of a consistent development philosophy. Washington has tried to improve both through the draft and through trades, instead of concentrating on one method. They have fallen short in both areas.
Beathard's efforts could be hindered by lack of draft choices. The Redskins have a first round pick in April but are missing Nos. 2 through 4, key selections for a team in their situation. To make up for this deficit, he has indicated he will try to sign prospects from the Canadian League -- Terry Metcalf and Bruce Clark may be available -- and trade current Redskins for draft picks.
Away from football and its concerns, Beathard and Pardee got along well. "People may not think so, but I like Jack," Beathard said. "I really do."