The first order of offseason business for the Washington Redskins will be finding out whether they will lose defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, a possible candidate for the Detroit Lions' head-coaching job and perhaps other potential vacancies around the league.
Redskins Coach Steve Spurrier talked about some of his plans for the offseason after yesterday's 20-14 triumph over the Dallas Cowboys and said he intends to keep his coaching staff intact unless Lewis departs. The Redskins likely would promote linebackers coach George Edwards or defensive line coach Ricky Hunley if Lewis leaves.
"We're pretty much pleased with all our coaches," Spurrier said. "If Marvin gets an opportunity, we'll address that at the time. Right now, he's done an excellent job getting the defense ready to play. Our guys were really excited about this one. They played extremely well."
Lions owner William Clay Ford is expected to decide within the next few days whether to retain team president Matt Millen and Coach Marty Mornhinweg. Some executives around the league say Lewis also could be a head-coaching candidate for the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I think the world of Marvin," Redskins defensive end Bruce Smith said. "I have a great deal of respect for him. It's about time that a minority coach of his caliber gets a head coaching job, him and [New York Jets defensive coordinator] Ted Cottrell. They deserve a head coaching job in this league, and if they don't get one, it's not right."
Spurrier Counts on Ramsey
Spurrier reiterated that the Redskins will enter the offseason counting on Patrick Ramsey to be their starting quarterback next season. Spurrier said the Redskins might re-sign either Danny Wuerffel or Shane Matthews, then acquire a third quarterback.
Ramsey led the Redskins to wins in his final two starts of the season, and Spurrier has become a strong supporter of the team's first-round draft choice last spring.
"Patrick is coming in as our starting guy, no question about it," Spurrier said. "He's got a lot of potential. He's learned a lot. He can make all the throws. He's a tough guy. He stands in the pocket. He's got a chance to be pretty good. . . . The main thing I like is, he's got a lot of courage back there in the pocket, and he's not afraid to throw the ball downfield. We need to get it down the field and not get sacked and not have fumbles and things like that."
Wuerffel and Matthews are eligible for unrestricted free agency. The team likely will re-sign Wuerffel and allow Matthews to leave, but Spurrier said: "If they both get opportunities somewhere else that's a little bit better than here, they certainly would be free to pursue that."
Spurrier said he would like to re-sign defensive tackle Daryl Gardener, guard Tre Johnson and wide receiver Derrius Thompson as unrestricted free agents. The Redskins are negotiating with Gardener. The two sides have been far apart on financial terms so far, but Gardener again said yesterday that he plans to stay.
Smith Gets Closer to Sack Record
Smith's sack yesterday gave him nine for the season and 195 for his career, putting him only three behind Reggie White for the NFL's career lead. He declined to say yesterday whether he intends to retire or play a 19th NFL season.
"This is Darrell's day, and I'm not going to take away from it," Smith said in reference to cornerback Darrell Green's final game with the Redskins. "In the next day or two, I'll come out with my plans"
Smith is under contract with the Redskins for next season for a modest salary of $755,000. But he turns 40 in June, and some team officials might like to replace him with a younger player.