Players: Discipline needed

``[Discipline] has always been an issue,'' Redskins tackle Jon Jansen said, ``but it's a matter of guys taking ownership for what they do. If someone is in a business meeting they wouldn't take a loud cell phone call in the middle of a meeting. This is our business and we have to treat it as such.''

Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter remembered a story from his rookie season, one that he thought could help the Redskins now. Or at least next season. As a rookie with Philadelphia Trotter got into too many scrapes during training camp. Finally, defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes threatened him with a $5,000 fine.

Trotter's days as a fighter ended.

``That got my attention,'' he said.

And that's what he, and numerous other players, would like to see happen here next season. A day after the Redskins' season ended with a 5-11 record, change was the big topic. But what the players want changed more than anything is the discipline that isn't visible at Redskins Park.

``Big time,'' Trotter said, when asked if that was a problem. ``That's our number one goal, more so than worrying about turnovers and penalties. There has to be discipline. Not just on the field either. Our problems go way beyond the field. It starts with being on time and guys walking in late, cell phones ringing. All that stuff. Our problems go way beyond the field. Until we address that problem we'll play the same way.

``It's on everybody. Any type of structure starts at the top and works its way down.''

And something got lost on the way down, giving the Redskins a glaring disconnect. Trotter, and other players, talked about how players weren't fined or penalized for showing up late to meetings. On occasions players' cell phones rang during team meetings. And one player said that some players spent time in meetings playing video games on their phones.

``It was embarrassing,'' this player said.

Coach Steve Spurrier, though, denied these stories.

``We haven't had those problems,'' he said. ``That's not true.''

Problem is, it wasn't one or two players who said this. It was a handful -- and that's just the players who were interviewed.

``It's a problem,'' Redskins corner Champ Bailey said. ``Anytime you've got guys coming late or not showing up it distracts you, whether you like it or not.''

They didn't like it, nor do they like that it's marked Spurrier's first two seasons, regardless of who's at fault.

``[Discipline] has always been an issue,'' Redskins tackle Jon Jansen said, ``but it's a matter of guys taking ownership for what they do. If someone is in a business meeting they wouldn't take a loud cell phone call in the middle of a meeting. This is our business and we have to treat it as such.''

Spurrier and the coaches could say the players weren't disciplined when it came to playing their assignments. The players their problem stem from mistakes that aren't corrected during the week.

``It's all the little things, all the details,'' corner Fred Smoot said. ``That's what makes you win. Everyone has good coaches and athletes. It's the small things that separate winning teams from losing teams. We lost a lot of close games because of small things. Discipline helps all of that. It starts at the top, it always does. But we're grown men here.''

Still, if Spurrier returns -- and serious doubt remains.

``It's an old saying: Don't let the inmates run the asylum,'' Spurrier said, just before exiting his press conference.

. . . Spurrier said any decision made on his assistant coaches will come within the next two weeks. It's well-known that defensive coordinator George Edwards and offensive line coach Kim Helton likely will be the first casualties. Helton has no support among the line and one player said left tackle Chris Samuels probably would not redo his contract should Helton return.

And one player said, though the defensive players like Edwards, they sometimes felt unprepared in games.


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