Whisper Room

If Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis doesn't get a head coaching job, look for him to make stronger suggestions about how things must be run at Redskins Park.

We hear that he likes Steve Spurrier, but their styles clash in a major way. Lewis chafes at the unorganized manner at which things are done at the Park these days.

And he's talked to owner Dan Snyder about it. That could be one reason Spurrier promoted Hue Jackson to offensive coordinator, giving him a more organized person in charge (at least on occasion).

Lewis is a highly organized and disciplined coach, cut from the Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Cowher mold. It's not that he thinks Spurrier can't coach, but he has told others things must change in the way things are run. Spurrier has a less-disciplined approach and it shows.

They certainly differ on where training camp should be held. Lewis is adamant that it be held out of town; Spurrier wants it at Redskins Park. Lewis believes in the get-away-and-bond mentality. And he'd go through the roof if the veterans are allowed to stay at home while others are in a local hotel, as Spurrier has suggested is a possibility.

It might not matter, though, if Lewis leaves for a head coaching position. He's afraid his window is closing on this opportunity, which is one reason he'd probably accept the Cincinnati position.

But he also would be wise to listen to what others in the organization have told him: he must interview better. Lewis comes across as smug in initial conversations, thanks to a nervous laugh. It was a constant topic of conversation among reporters, who anticipated a much different approach.

The man can coach, but he must first convince an owner he's the right one for the job. You can't do that by making him think he's a fool for asking certain questions.

As for his replacement, George Edwards has the players' backing. But some fear Spurrier would tap Ricky Hunley because he's coached with him longer. Hunley, they say, is too temperamental to be in charge of the entire defense. However, this person also said Edwards, a good teacher, is a bit too uptight at times. Still, it's not enough to look for someone else.

. . . Want a few names to watch for next season? How about safety Ricot Joseph and linebacker Orantes Grant. If these players make the roster in 2003, look for them to become major contributors on special teams. They brought an energy to this unit late in the year--they run well and are big hitters. The Redskins really like them on special teams.

The Bengals have asked for, and received, permission to interview Washington defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis for their vacant head coaching position.

Cincinnati fired Dick LeBeau on Monday. Lewis rejected an offer from Michigan State earlier this season because he held out hope of getting a similar job in the NFL. One NFL GM said the league asked Lewis to not take the job, hoping he would get one in the NFL and improve their percentage of minority coaches.

Jacksonville and Dallas also have openings. Detroit could have an opening soon.

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