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New 'Skins coach wants Johnson

By ERNEST HOOPER

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 14, 2001


OAKLAND, Calif. -- Washington quarterback Brad Johnson was mentioned as a possible free-agent acquisition for Tampa Bay and Baltimore, but he may stay with the Redskins if new coach Marty Schottenheimer has his way.

Schottenheimer is no fan of Jeff George, who went 1-4 as a starter and argued with coaches. Although the Redskins have some salary cap issues, they could conceivably re-sign Johnson and release George, who would only count about $2-million against the cap.

"Brad may be reluctant to visit with me, and I can accept that, but I would like to talk to Brad Johnson," Schottenheimer said.

BEAR MARKET: The Bucs are not the only team looking for an offensive coordinator. Chicago is searching and Dick Jauron's list looks similar. After calling Norv Turner twice with no success, Jauron's list of candidates includes Bears quarterbacks coach John Shoop along with recently ousted Joe Pendry of Buffalo, Marc Trestman of Arizona and Kansas City's Jimmy Raye.

Jauron said he expects to interview all within the next 10 days and choose a successor to Gary Crowton, who became coach at BYU, within two weeks.

"I've had numerous other inquiries and conversations with coaches that were interested in his job," Jauron said last week. "But these are the people I'm interested in right now."

That may have changed last week when Cleveland fired Chris Palmer. Palmer was the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville when Jauron was the defensive coordinator.

HAWKISH: Since midseason, there's been talk about Seattle going after a quarterback this off-season, with Trent Green being mentioned as a possibility.

But the greatest changes may occur with the defense, which was ranked 31st. Armed with two of the top 10 picks in the draft and ample room under the salary cap, Mike Holmgren is likely to re-tool the defense and he may switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme.

The loss of middle linebacker DeShone Myles to injury, coupled with disappointing play from the secondary, also hurt.

Holmgren also singled out defensive end Michael Sinclair and linebacker Chad Brown. Each saw his role change in 2000 after issuing complaints in 1999.

"We attempted to involve Michael Sinclair and Chad Brown in ways that they were not involved last year, according to the players," Holmgren said, "and it didn't work all that well.

"There's little lessons in life that you learn. One is, there are coaches and there are players, and when the player starts to coach, it's not usually a good deal. While it was a little better deal for Michael and a little better deal for Chad, it was a very, very bad deal for our defense."

The truth is Seattle had too much talent to finish last in the league.

ET CETERA: ABC is interested in next season's Bucs-Eagles game as a Monday night contest. ... Tennessee's Frank Wycheck became the fourth tight end in history to lead his team in receiving at least five consecutive seasons. He joined the Broncos' Shannon Sharpe (1992-97), the Raiders' Todd Christensen (1982-86) and the Browns' Ozzie Newsome (1981-85). Over the past five seasons, Wycheck has 324 receptions, more than any tight end in the league. Sharpe is second with 306. ... The Eagles have done an excellent job of locking up their nucleus of important players. They control the rights to all of their starters and are sitting pretty with regard to the 2001 salary cap. ... For those keeping count, more than 90 Redskins employees have been fired or quit since owner Daniel Snyder's 1999 arrival. Doug Green became the fourth public relations director to leave under Snyder. Several other front office personnel were fired or quit. ... Playoff teams with a bye are 36-8 since the league adopted the current 12-team format. In the NFC, the bye teams are 21-1 in the first round while they're 15-7 in the AFC. ... For the first time in 35 Super Bowl seasons, the NFL has not had a repeat team in consecutive AFC and NFC championship games. This is the first time there have been eight different teams vying for Super Bowl berths in two years. ... With every failed Redskins kick this season, I said that Bill Gramatica, Martin Gramatica's brother, will be a top pick by Washington, given its place-kicking woes. But did you know Miami's Olindo Mare is a free agent? Hmmm. ... Saskatchewan quarterback Henry Burris may follow in the footsteps of Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia and become a hot commodity in the NFL.

- Information from other news sources was used in this report.

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