Rhodes Would Be a Mistake

The Redskins have a chance to head in the right direction. They have a chance to become a decent team next year. If they make the right choice. Ray Rhodes would be the wrong choice. Very wrong.

It sounds as if Rhodes is high atop the Redskins' list of candidates. Listen to this response from someone in Green Bay, where Rhodes last served as the head coach, when told of this, ``You've got to be kidding me! It's a farce!''

But it might happen. Jim Fassel likely will have better options, like Chicago or Buffalo, where owners won't pretend to be GM's. And unless the Redskins overpay, which they could, Fassel likely would go elsewhere.

Dennis Green's desire for power could end his chances for the job.

That leaves Rhodes. That leaves trouble. The biggest misconception about Rhodes is that he's a strict disciplinarian. Nothing could be further from the truth. He comes off as a gruff man, a tough guy who will talk a good game. But the reason he got canned in Green Bay -- after only one year -- is the reason he can't work here: a severe lack of discipline. At least one source in Redskins management is well aware of this. But is the owner? Or will he hire Rhodes simply because he's somehow remained friendly with the guy? (Though we have our doubts about that; we know Rhodes thought this place was a zoo. Also, how badly does he want to be a head coach?)

I can't believe this guy is even an option, that's how strongly I feel about what a poor hire he would be. Sure, the players will talk about his strong discipline this summer but it will deteriorate; that's the same thing that happened in Green Bay. And his teams slowly got worse in Philadelphia.

While in Green Bay, some Packers complained about teammates drinking heavily the night before games -- something that had never happened under previous coach Mike Holmgren. Quarterback Brett Favre went to management in September to tell them how bad things were in the locker room, largely because of the lack of discipline. Others in Green Bay say Rhodes was ill-prepared. His players liked him -- just as they liked him for his one season as a coordinator in Washington, where the defense played well under him -- but, a Packers source said, ``They walked all over him. He let a lot of things slide.''

Sound familiar? Oh yeah: Under Rhodes, the Packers committed their most penalties in a dozen years and their most turnovers in seven years.

He brought in poor character guys -- including Lawrence Phillips -- during his season in Green Bay. The defense featured poor tackling and wasn't all that good. Nor was his defense in Denver. Nor was his defense in Seattle (no blitzing against the Redskins? Come on.) Rhodes apparently had lost his passion for being a head coach and maybe that contributed to his problems in Green Bay. Maybe he's been refreshed after serving as a coordinator since being fired. And maybe that would lead to changes in his coaching style, or give him the energy to be more disciplined.

If not . . .

This season, Packers safety Darren Sharper was quoted in a story about run fits. He talked about how everyone was assigned a gap and how on well-coached teams, players stuffed their gaps. ``The well-coached teams all do this,'' he said. ``Teams that have poor run defense and are badly coached, they don't hit it. In my third year [under Rhodes] we had horrible run-fit defense. We didn't know where we needed to be.'' This is the guy Washington wants?

Owner Dan Snyder made a major mistake when he never interviewed Steve Spurrier to determine what he knew about the NFL. One Redskins source said that he knew of other teams who had interviewed Spurrier and were shocked by how little he knew about the NFL or any of its assistant coaches.

This person said Snyder learned his lesson. If that's the case then he'd better talk to others about Rhodes (like Ron Wolf, who hired and fired Rhodes). But if he doesn't, this much is clear: nothing will ever change at Redskins Park.

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