Irate Snyder demands focus from team

Owner lectures Turner

Nolan's job `secure'

October 26, 1999|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

Most coaches would be in the catbird seat if they were 4-2 and had the Chicago Bears at home next Sunday.

Coach Norv Turner of the Washington Redskins is in that situation, but he's back on the hot seat because new owner Daniel Snyder is irate that both losses were to the Dallas Cowboys.

Snyder took over the trainer's room after the 38-20 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday, and he spent about a half-hour lecturing Turner.

"This team is going to be focused," a hoarse Snyder said after the meeting. "I'm flying home. I'm going to get my voice fixed, and then I'm going to use it."

If nothing else, Snyder got the attention of the players, who couldn't get treatment in the trainer's room until the session was finished.

"I've never been around an owner who did something like that," offensive lineman Andy Heck said.

Turner, who was 10 minutes late for his usual Monday news conference and spoke just 15 minutes before a member of the public relations staff cut off the session, acknowledged that he spoke a "couple of times" to Snyder yesterday.

Asked whether he was going to get the team "focused," Turner answered: "Focus is an interesting thing. All it takes is for one guy to be a little uncertain and the other 10 looked like they were unfocused."

Asked if Snyder's latest tirade was a disruption for the team, he said: "I don't know if it was a disruption. He [Snyder] wanted to talk to me. We obviously took some time to do it."

Turner was asked to describe Snyder's demeanor, and he said, "He's very concerned, as I am."

Turner was even asked if the job of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was secure. Snyder had retired coach Bill Arnsparger brought in to assist Nolan two weeks ago because the defense was the worst in the league. But it didn't show much improvement against the Cowboys.

"Yeah, he's secure here. We've improved since Bill came in," Turner said.

Nolan said the players weren't mentally sharp. "I'm sure I've been part of the discussion, but I can't control that."

Nolan seems resigned to being fired, saying, "At some point, they'll take it away from me anyway."

The loss to Dallas puts more pressure on the Redskins to beat the Bears at home Sunday.

"We can still get done the things [playoffs] that we wanted to accomplish when the season started," Turner said. "The key is not to put two losses together."

Hansen comes up short

Brian Hansen probably lost a chance to win the punting job when he averaged only 38.2 yards on his six punts. He hit several line-drive punts, and Deion Sanders returned one of them for a touchdown.

Hansen was filling in for Matt Turk, who suffered a broken finger last week. He reportedly broke the finger against the Arizona Cardinals, although there have been published stories that he did it in a pickup basketball game.

Turner, though, said, "Right now I have been given no indication Matt broke his finger in any other way but in a game."

Turk said he played basketball but injured the finger in the game last Sunday and came in for treatment Monday morning. He's likely to get his job back in the next week or two when his finger heals.

Turner said team officials would discuss other possible personnel changes in the next two days but conceded there aren't many players available off the waiver wire at this point in the season.

Cornerback Darryl Pounds, who has been victimized lately, could lose playing time to second-year player Tim Denton.

Illegal block?

The Redskins believed -- and replays seemed to confirm the allegation -- that the Cowboys got away with an illegal block in the back on Sanders' punt return for a touchdown.

"I had position on him," said Mike Sellers, who maintained he was blocked from behind.

`A little cocky'

Larry Centers of the Redskins said he felt the team was overconfident after winning four straight games, and Irving Fryar said, "We were getting a little cocky."

It didn't help that wide receivers Albert Connell and Michael Westbrook said Sanders couldn't cover them. Sanders seemed to take it personally.

Turner, though, said: "I wasn't too overconfident. The whole key is being realistic."

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