Turner brings winning attitude to Redskins

February 03, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

ASHBURN, VA — ASHBURN, Va. -- Norv Turner, who's supposed to be the new Joe Gibbs, sounded more like Jimmy Johnson yesterday after he was named the head coach of the Washington Redskins.

When owner Jack Kent Cooke introduced Turner, Cooke predicted the Redskins will have a winning season this year, a playoff season in 1995 and win the Super Bowl "in the near future."

Turner, who has been the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys the past three seasons, replied jokingly, "Thank you, Mr. Cooke. You didn't tell me all those things yesterday. That's not true. He did."

In contrast to Gibbs' cautious approach, Turner sounded almost as confident as Johnson does in Dallas.

"The bottom line is Mr. Cooke demands a winner, the Washington Redskins fans demand a winner and I demand one, too."

Turner also got a laugh when he took a shot at the Phoenix Cardinals.

"I gave the Cardinals some thought," Turner said. "There were some interesting things there that caught my attention for a short period of time and then, as Mr. Cooke said, I got reasonable and figured out this is where I want to be."

According to sources, Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill called Turner Monday night at his home in Dallas and topped the Washington packageof $3.1 million for five years with a $3.5 million offer. He also offered him the general manager's job to go with the head coaching title.

Turner conceded the 7-9 Cardinals, who beat the 4-12 Redskins twice last season, have better players than the Redskins do.

"I think most football people would perceive them as probably being a little more ready talent-wise to win [than the Redskins] and that was intriguing to me," he said.

But the Redskins tradition is what swayed him. While the Redskins have been in five Super Bowls and won three of them since 1972, the Cardinals won their last playoff game in 1947. Talking about the Redskins tradition, he said, "I think it goes back to Joe Gibbs and may go back to George Allen. I've always perceived it as being a special place."

There are a lot of parallels between Gibbs and Turner. Cooke compared the hiring of Turner, 41, to the hiring of Gibbs. He never mentioned Richie Petitbon, who lasted 10 months after being hired last March 5 when Gibbs resigned.

Both Turner and Gibbs are North Carolina natives who grew up in California. Both coached at Southern Cal. And both learned the passing game from assistant coach Ernie Zampese, who was with Gibb on the Chargers staff and with Turner on the Rams staff.

Turner, though, insisted he's not planning to be another Gibbs.

"I've had a great training background to do this job and I'm going to do it the way I believe it should be done," he said.

Turner said he hopes to have his staff in place by the end of the week, but he seems to have assembled it already. When he was asked about Ron Lynn, the former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator who'll run the Redskins defense, he said, "If you guys will let me get out of here, we'll try to get that done."

Lynn is expected to bring two defensive assistants -- line coach Bob Karmelowicz and linebackers coach Mike Haluchak -- with him from Cincinnati.

Dick Coury, who worked with Turner on the Rams and was at Minnesota last year, will be his offensive coordinator, although Turner basically will run the offense himself.

He'll also bring two Cardinals assistants, running backs coach Bobby Jackson and special teams coach Pete Rodriguez, as well as wide receivers coach Cam Cameron of the University of Michigan.

Turner is expected to keep four members of the old staff -- offensive line coach Jim Hanifan, secondary coach Emmitt Thomas, tight ends coach Russ Grimm and Charley Taylor, who's in charge of research and development. "We'll have a unique advantage in free agency with coaches from a variety of staffs who will have a strong input," Turner said.

Although general manager Charley Casserly technically will remain in charge of the draft, Turner will take an active role.

His priority, will be fixing the quarterback problem. He has to decide whether to go after Trent Dilfer or Heath Shuler in the draft or try the free-agent route with Scott Mitchell or Bernie Kosar.

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