Washington Redskins Coach Norv Turner said yesterday he did not feel his authority was undermined by the one-on-one meetings team owner Daniel M. Snyder had with five players last week.
"In terms of everything I understand, that was not the case," Turner said.
Turner indicated he would not have discussed the matter publicly if he thought Snyder had undermined him, and he said he helped Snyder plan the meetings.
Snyder met with quarterback Brad Johnson, guard Tre Johnson, wide receiver Irving Fryar, defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield and defensive end Marco Coleman Thursday at Redskin Park. That planted the seed for Tre Johnson and Coleman to call a players-only meeting Saturday night at the team's hotel. The Redskins responded by beating the Arizona Cardinals, 28-3, Sunday at FedEx Field to improve their record to 8-5 and maintain their one-game lead in the NFC East.
"Dan and I visited on Monday," Turner said. "He asked me if it would help to talk to two or three of the players. We picked out a couple guys on each side of the ball. We thought on Wednesday or Thursday if he had an opportunity to talk to them, it might help. Our thoughts were--his thought was--about the urgency of this football game [and] the importance of this football game. . . . It was a critical game for us. That was what he visited with those players about."
Snyder said late Sunday he had told the players: "Play for your teammates. Don't worry about the press, the coaches or me. Just play for yourself. Know the importance of the game and step up."
Snyder said he hadn't undermined Turner, and he denied a Fox report that he had told the players to ignore what their coaches were telling them.
Snyder declined further comment yesterday.
Fox spokesman Vince Wladika said yesterday: "We stand by what we reported."
Tre Johnson said yesterday of his meeting with Snyder: "I thought the meeting went well. We discussed a lot of topics. I got a good feel for him. I hope he got a good feel for me."
The thoughts expressed by Snyder Thursday were the same as those expressed by the players who spoke during Saturday's meeting, Johnson said.
"We wanted to stress the importance of the game and make sure everyone was focused," he said. "Everyone has pride in their job. You want to win it for everybody. . . . I don't know if it was the difference. Playing well was the biggest factor."
Turner echoed those sentiments in the aftermath of probably the Redskins' most complete performance of the season.
"As I told our team when I talked to them before the game in the locker room, we had a lot of guys have conversations during the week," Turner said. "We had a team meeting. The players asked me if they could visit together. . . . I was glad they did. But I made it very clear to our players this isn't a game about talking. This isn't a game about what you say during the week. This is a game about lining up and playing, and that's what our guys did.
"If talking on Saturday night helps them do that, hey, I love it. But I know this: I've been around some of those good talks and those good team meetings, and then the team goes out and lays an egg."
Turner said he spent last week delivering the same now-or-never message.
"I talked to almost every one of our players during the week about how important the game was," Turner said. "I talked to our team as a group about how important the game was. I talked to them before practice Wednesday and Friday about how important the game was. . . . We had a long discussion with the coaching staff Monday and Tuesday night, me and the coaching staff talking about where we were and what we had to do to get the team ready to play."
Redskins Notes: Turner said he expects Brad Badger to make a second straight start at left guard in place of the injured Keith Sims at Indianapolis Sunday. . . .
A day after saying Santa Claus won't bring the Redskins the playoffs, Tre Johnson expressed further holiday thoughts.
"I don't believe in Santa Claus," he said. "If somebody comes down my chimney, they're getting shot." . . .
Tailback Stephen Davis rushed for 189 yards on 37 carries Sunday despite being sick, and Turner said he probably will cut back on Davis's workload this week to keep him fresh for the Colts game. . . .
Brad Johnson has established single-season career highs with his 3,222 passing yards and 21 touchdown throws. . . .
The Colts (11-2) are on a nine-game winning streak, and Turner called them "probably the most complete team in this league right now."