Day 5 of the Marty watch

More rumors, denials and speculation. Welcome to Day 5 of the Marty Schottenheimer watch at Redskin Park. But it does appear the Redskins have intensified their pursuit of former Florida coach Steve Spurrier. Then again, maybe they haven't. Such is the way at Redskin Park, where speculation and fact often collide.

Here's what we know as of Jan. 11:

. . . The Orlando Sentinel has reported that the Redskins will meet with
Spurrier sometime this weekend, with a group headed by Redskins vice
president of football operations Pepper Rodgers. However, the Redskins
vehemently deny this, much like they did a report earlier this week
suggesting a buyout was about to occur.

That said, a league executive who has talked with Bobby Beathard, a
potential general manager here, confirmed the initial report.

Who to believe? Hard to tell. One possibility, according to a source who
has spoken with friends of Spurrier, is that the meeting was arranged on
Thursday when it appeared an end had come to the Schottenheimer
stalemate. Now that it's ongoing, the meeting might take place at a
later time.

The Redskins have reason to keep such a meeting quiet. But they were
also adamant in their denial. Make of it what you will.

. . . Schottenheimer might meet again Sunday, though one team source
said it would not be at Redskin Park. And they're not certain a meeting
is truly scheduled. Most likely, they said, the earliest anything would
happen is Monday. But no one really knows for certain.

The situation has reached a holding pattern. There's no reason for
Schottenheimer to relinquish power--he wants it or else he'll take the
money. And there's no reason to can Schottenheimer until a coach can be
hired immediately. If it's not Spurrier--and too many people have told
us it won't be, though you never know--then Snyder wants a chance to
pursue someone else. Maybe Steve Mariucci or Jon Gruden.

. . . The Redskins assistant coaches fear the worst. One told us that he
has his bags already packed. But this same coach has time and again
pointed out that this battle is bigger than all of them. It's about an
organization that has meant a great deal to the NFL. He wants that kept
in mind. Unfortunately, the history of the franchise doesn't mean much
as much right now.

. . . Several league sources say that while Beathard would love to hire
a coach such as Spurrier, it's not certain whether the latter would want
to work for him. What makes Beathard attractive now? He made several
horrendous decisions in San Diego, including his last two coaching hires
(Kevin Gilbride and Mike Riley). And word has spread that when Beathard
is in charge, it's his show and the coach doesn't have as much input.
But we stress that we did not hear this from Spurrier. Until we do, it's
open to debate. Remember, Schottenheimer said he'd never work for
Snyder. Guess he should have listened to himself.

. . . Also on Spurrier: sources who know him well say the golf thing
isn't as big a deal as portrayed. Like many coaches, he golfs only three
to four months a year--when recruiting is done and football hasn't
started. But he has told people he won't just go to the highest bidder.

. . . Spurrier's first choice is the Bucs, which is why he's waiting to
see what happens to Tony Dungy. The St. Petersburg Times reported that
Tampa would fire Dungy and hire Bill Parcells, that a deal already is in
place. That means Spurrier will have to find another team. Carolina
still is the favorite. Owner Jerry Richardson is desperate to fill seats
and he's just as awestruck by big names as Snyder. But he's reluctant to
hire a GM, which is something Spurrier wants. Atlanta is a sleeper,
though the new ownership group likely will give Dan Reeves an extension.

And don't look at Washington's offense as a hinderance to Spurrier. The
Redskins have few players who can play his style of offense. But one
source said that would only provide a challenge to him, which is what he
wants.


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