Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder was angry about yesterday's 34-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills but urged patience in his postgame conversations with other team officials and wasn't contemplating changes to the club's coaching staff last night, sources familiar with his thinking said.
According to sources, Redskins officials will consider releasing punter Matt Turk this week but probably will stick with the three-time Pro Bowler because of the lack of viable alternatives. Snyder told associates last night the team does not intend to fire beleaguered defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
Snyder has created higher expectations at Redskin Park, but he also has been been supportive in defeat. When the Redskins lost to the Dallas Cowboys in their opening game of the season, he delivered a hang-in-there postgame speech to the players in the locker room. Snyder met with Coach Norv Turner following the game yesterday, and the owner told associates he was upset about the loss but was looking forward to the challenge that awaits the team in the coming weeks.
"In terms of coaches being under fire [and] players being under fire, that's nothing new," veteran cornerback Darrell Green said. "That's always been part of this business."
Turk was booed by the crowd at Redskins Stadium after each of his two punts yesterday, which totaled only 61 yards. He had missed the club's previous two games because of a broken finger and a sore back, and some team officials remain angry at him because they suspect he at least worsened his finger injury playing pickup basketball.
Club officials discussed the possibility of releasing him last week but decided against it, and fill-in punter Brian Hansen was on the Redskins' inactive list yesterday. Team officials probably will renew those discussions this week but likely will keep Turk, sources said.
"It was disappointing the way he punted," Turner said. "We've got to get him punting the way he's capable. When he's going good, he's a heck of a punter."
Many Happy Returns
With return specialist Brian Mitchell struggling to gain his customary yardage this season, Redskins coaches found a way to get James Thrash into the mix against Buffalo. Coaches had called for Thrash to field a return late in the previous week's game against Chicago, but the opportunity never arose.
Against Buffalo, Mitchell took the opening kickoff and carried seven yards before lateraling on a reverse to Thrash, who gained another 28 yards. The Redskins' drive, which started on the 34, ended eight plays later with an eight-yard touchdown run by Stephen Davis.
Mitchell also had a 29-yard kickoff return in the second quarter, setting up a drive that produced a 41-yard field goal. Mitchell returned a total of three kickoffs for 86 yards in the game. He signaled for a fair catch on his only punt return. On offense, Mitchell carried twice for 12 yards and caught four passes for 39 yards.
Starting left guard Keith Sims is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today on the injury to his right knee that forced him out of yesterday's game in the third quarter. Redskins officials initially called the injury a sprained knee. Brad Badger took over for Sims yesterday and probably would start next Sunday's game at Philadelphia if Sims is sidelined. The Redskins might re-sign guard Rod Milstead this week if they release Hansen. . . . Backup defensive tackle Marc Boutte was on the Redskins' inactive list yesterday because of a strained stomach muscle.