Turner under fire for Redskins debacle Fans show no patience after ugly loss to 49ers

September 20, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

A Washington Redskins season once filled with so much hope has turned so ugly so early that coach Norv Turner can't seem to make moves fast enough to satisfy the critics.

Turner benched quarterback Gus Frerotte after one game and released kicker Scott Blanton after two games.

But Turner is still under siege in a city that has run out of patience with his inability to put the Redskins in the playoffs and produce no better than 26-39-1 in a little more than four seasons.

The humiliating 45-10 defeat at home to San Francisco on national television Monday was the final straw for many people. It was the worst home loss for Washington in 50 years.

The debacle prompted some fans to throw trash and call for the firing of Turner as he left the field with the team. The outrage over Turner continued during the week on radio talk shows in Washington.

Turner played down the postgame incidents and said he doesn't have time to listen to radio talk.

"What keeps me focused is I've coached a long time and know what you have to do to win," said Turner. "You're not going to win with a minus-5 turnover ratio, having two touchdowns called back by penalties and two 50-yard completions in two games. We've gotten off to a horrible start and got to do something about it."

The nightmare for Turner continued Wednesday and Thursday when Jeff Hostetler became upset over being the No. 3 quarterback. He left the team one day and came back the next.

Hostetler said he left the Redskins and headed toward his home in West Virginia because he thought he had been released. Turner said Hostetler had not been granted a release.

Turner first denied Wednesday that Hostetler had asked for his release but later in the day admitted that the veteran wanted out.

Now Hostetler, 37, is saying he doesn't plan to stay with Washington unless he is promoted to No. 2. He said he will consider season-ending knee surgery for anterior cruciate ligament tears if he is not moved up the depth chart.

Through it all, Turner has remained rather placid on the outside and continues to say good things about a 0-2 team that has been outscored 76-34 in two games.

"I like this football team," Turner said. "Our guys were focused in practice Wednesday. They want to win games like our fans want them to. I said at the beginning of the season this is the best team I've been around since I've been with the Redskins."

Linebacker Ken Harvey said, "When you get embarrassed at home, you have to get mad and go out and play hard. It's not the fans' job to have undying faith in us. We have to play as a team."

So it's on to the West Coast today for a 4 p.m. meeting with 2-0 Seattle and its 41-year-old quarterback Warren Moon.

Moon is known around the league as the most prolific quarterback who hasn't played in a Super Bowl.

When Moon was asked why he has been able to play so long, he said, "I've taken care of my body since I was young and I've been able to stay away from knee and shoulder injuries."

Washington (0-2) at Seattle (2-0)

Time: 4: 05 p.m., Ch. 5.

Line: Seahawks by 8 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Redskins 0-2; Seahawks 2-0.

Outlook: Through two weeks, the job of the Seahawks' offense has been made much easier by a harassing defense that has forced seven turnovers. That's not to say they can't score points on their own; the Seahawks had the league's No. 3 offense last season and face a Redskins defense that was demoralized by the 49ers. Redskins QB Trent Green moved the ball surprisingly well in the first half and did have a nice TD pass called back because of a penalty. But the 49ers proved in Week 1 that they are susceptible to the pass, so maybe we shouldn't be so impressed. Either way, Green gets another start today.

Notable: Redskins have won seven of the past 10 following Monday night games.


REDSKINS: Doubtful: S Stanley Richard (hamstring). Probable: WR Albert Connell (knee); CB Darrell Green (thigh); CB Darryl Pounds (shoulder); WR Chris Thomas (chest); WR Michael Westbrook (flu).

SEAHAWKS: Doubtful: LB DeShone Myles (knee); LB Dean Wells (calf); S Darryl Williams (ankle). Questionable: LB Anthony lTC Simmons (knee); S Darryl Williams (ankle).

Pub Date: 9/20/98

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