Schottenheimer asks for Redskins' input

Move apparently pleases players, shaken from third straight drubbing

Pro Football

October 02, 2001|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Each Monday, Washington Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer watches film from the previous day's game, and yesterday was no exception.

However, in the wake of Sunday's 45-13 debacle at home against Kansas City, Schottenheimer changed the pattern and welcomed some guests to the film session, namely the players.

Schottenheimer, the coaches and the players first watched the special teams, then the defense and then the offense in an attempt to figure out how to change the outlook for a season rapidly heading toward laughingstock status.

"Essentially, what we did was we sat down and watched the whole game over, so everybody could see and understand exactly what we need to do to get better," said Schottenheimer. "Clearly, we've got a lot of work to do."

After screening the film for three hours, Schottenheimer, who has been blistered privately by some players for being overly authoritarian, opened the floor for comments and suggestions for another hour before the team took to the practice field briefly at Redskin Park to run.

"At 0-3 and having performed as poorly as we've performed, I'm exploring everything. So I solicit opinions. It's important to hear what a player's perspective is. We did some of that," said Schottenheimer, who watched the end of practice flanked by majority owner Daniel Snyder and minority owner Fred Drasner, who reportedly called for Schottenheimer's ouster during the preseason schedule.

Though players refrained from disclosing specifics, the meeting seemed to open heretofore closed communication channels.

"There were just a lot of positives," said offensive tackle Chris Samuels. "We addressed why we were losing, the different things and compromising on both ends. That was important. He wanted to know what we were thinking and we responded to that."

Said fullback Donnell Bennett, who played for Schottenheimer in Kansas City for five years: "He's still a disciplinarian, and he's still the type of guy who has a winning attitude and he wants to go to any extreme to win. But, as far as being a people person, he's really reaching out ... "

After watching the film, Schottenheimer said he saw a number of good things on virtually every play Sunday, but just enough mistakes to hand Washington its third straight pasting.

"Right now, we've got one or two things that break down and that makes it look like a poor performance by everybody," said Schottenheimer. "If we can sort out one or two performers on any given play, we'll be in great shape."

Schottenheimer, who waived starting quarterback Jeff George in the wake of a 37-0 loss to Green Bay, said he doesn't anticipate making any personnel moves this week, though he said he might bring in a player today to work out.

That player could be a linebacker, as Shawn Barber, a four-year veteran and starter on the right side, will miss the rest of the season with a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee.

Barber, who underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test early yesterday, which confirmed the injury, said he was surprised by its severity, since he didn't feel much pain and was able to get off the field Sunday with limited assistance.

"It wasn't really painful. It wasn't loose and I couldn't cut on it, so that's why I didn't continue to play," said Barber, who left in the third quarter Sunday.

Barber, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, said he expects to recuperate by January or February and be able to report to training camp next season.

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