Q&A With Marty Schottenheimer

Marty, do you think that part of the problem is the newness of your coaching staff and the system you are putting in?

Marty, do you think that part of the problem is the newness of your coaching staff and the system you are putting in?

It is a combination of a new coaching staff, new players, we don't have a great deal of familiarity with one another, but we're accountable to perform and coach and we are not doing a very good job of it right now.

Had you anticipated anything like this kind of learning curve?

Well I think it is hard to sit three, four months ago and imagine exactly  what might transpire. I try to work more on a day-to-day basis. We are  right now in the throes of a struggle and we have to continue to work on  it. I feel very confident that we will be able to come around but how quickly and when? 

 Do you think much good can out of that meeting? 

What we did in the meeting was sit down and everyone had an opportunity to watch a tape of the entire game. Generally the offense looks at the  offense and the kicking game and the defense looks at the defense and the kicking game. But what we did was sit down and looked at Special Teams as a team and the offense as a team and the defense as a team. I think what  was evident was that we weren't breaking down completely on every play but a player here or there on a number of plays fails to carry out his responsibility whatever that might be and we end up with a number of plays where we are not able to produce the desired result.

How long did the meeting last? 

 Well, let's see, we started at noon and finished around 3:45. Normally that meeting takes us to 3:30 usually because our practice is scheduled  for 3:45. It was only 15, maybe 20 minutes longer than the norm. 

 Is there some clearing the air session there also? 

Well we just talked about what expectations were and what we thought we needed to do to get better. 

 Did every player have a chance to speak up? 

 It was an open forum in that respect, yeah.

What are your expectations right now, Marty?

What I'm anxious to do is to try to get us back to playing the game in a competitive fashion. And that is going to be tough against the team we  are playing next week. At some point in time we will be able to overcome it. We've got, unfortunately, on the defensive side, particularly  linebackers, we don't have a great deal of depth and we are with both Lavar and Sean and then Mark goes out. We are a little bit short on the defensive side but we've moment this year where we have played pretty good defense and we have to go back and produce those results again. 

 Is Lavar definitely out for Sunday?

No, he is questionable, he did some running today and I think he was encouraged by that but at this point, he is 50/50. 

Marty, what has the turnover in personnel been from last year to this year?

You mean in the number of players we have release or are no longer here?  The numbers are not on the top of my tongue, but it is has been considerable. We asked frankly we were in a situation from a salary cap standpoint where we did not have a lot of wiggle room. We made some very difficult decisions with regard to the choices that have to be made in  free agency and I think we ended up releasing 15 guys that were in the roster in 2000. That doesn't include players who were unrestricted free  agents, but we in fact release 15 players from the roster from the year 200 and 5 of those are playing here in the league right now. 

Last year, the owner of this team, Dan Snyder, fully expected this team to be in the Super Bowl, has his expectations been lowered since you got  there?

Well, I don't know if we lowered them in our planning but we haven't  performed very well so I think it is foolish of us to be talking about a  Super Bowl. We are talking about trying to find a way to win one game. 

Have you noticed that some of the players that were leftover had a little bit tougher time getting used to your more difficult style than what they were used to under Norm?

Well, there is a lot of discussion with how hard we work. None of the  players talk about that as being the issue. I think what they have felt  was within this structure that there are limits on available time strictly  in the training camps. The training camp is very time intensive for us, least for the first week to ten days. I've heard guys come and say to me, "coach can we get an opportunity for a break here, rest there and others we just continued to do the things we felt we need to do to get our work  done.

 Are you happy to be back coaching?

Absolutely. The first year I was out, I didn't really miss it. The  second year I missed it.

What do you think happened in that you didn't miss it the first year but  in the second year you did?

I don't know. Maybe it was just something new. I mean I've been in it  for 25 years and the fact that having a lot of free time to go play golf  was kind of appealing to me, but I couldn't get my handicap down much  below 5 or 6 so I decided that wasn't going to be a solution for me. I  just missed it. I missed the interaction with people, I missed the  teaching, and I missed the day-to-day working with players. The frustrating thing is that when you are working like you know you can teach, it is frustrating when it doesn't get done. We got to fight our way through some of these issues that are facing us right now.

Has it been difficult on you personally not having had much experience  with this kind of team during your career? 

Well I think, somebody told me we had been 1-3 the year before, the first  year in Cleveland; the first full season, as well as the first year in Kansas City. They were pretty demanding, because you are involved in so  much that is new and different. The change, the transition, if you will, and that makes it more difficult. I went into this thing with my eyes wide open and I fully expected that we could compete. We haven't given  any evidence of it at this point that we can and until you do it is idle chatter. We know how we want and we know how to do it, we just have to keeping working at it

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