Redskins cut QB George

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2001

ASHBURN, Va. -- Marty Schottenheimer thought he could be the coach to make it work with Jeff George. Two weeks into the season, he gave up.

The Washington Redskins cut George on Wednesday, ending a bad match between two strong-willed people with different football philosophies.

''I reached a point where I just didn't feel the Washington Redskins could win with Jeff George as their starting quarterback,'' Schottenheimer said. ''I quite frankly didn't feel that coming off the bench he could help us win.''

Handcuffed in a system that didn't suit him, George was scoreless in 6 1/2 quarters. The Redskins have been outscored 67-3 in two losses, with the field goal coming while backup Tony Banks was on the field in the opener against San Diego.

Something had to be done. Players were starting to grumble following Monday night's 37-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers, a game that only reinforced the obvious: George's strong-arm, downfield game isn't compatible with Schottenheimer's quick-drop, short-pass West Coast offense.

''I thought it could work because I thought I was a pretty good teacher,'' Schottenheimer said. ''We all have our egos. I believe we can do this, where others have not. I did everything I think I could possibly could to try to make it work, and I honestly believe Jeff did, too.''

George's 34.6 quarterback rating ranks last in the NFL. In the two games, he was 23-of-42 for 168 yards and three interceptions. He was also sacked six times.

The Redskins are without a touchdown two games into the season for the first time in their 69-year history, which includes three Super Bowl titles.

George was told of the decision when he arrived at 7:15 a.m. for a workout. He said he was shocked, and said his struggles came as he was simply trying to run Schottenheimer's offense.

''You do what you're told,'' George said. ''I was only doing what I was asked to do.''

George, who was in the second year of a four-year, $18.25 million contract, was the NFL's No. 1 pick in 1990 out of Illinois, but he has had a troubled career. Although blessed with a strong arm, he is just 46-78 as a starter with five teams.

Soon after cutting George, the Redskins signed quarterback Kent Graham, who was cut by Pittsburgh earlier this month. Graham has also played for Arizona and the New York Giants. He signed a one-year contract for the veteran minimum of $477,000.

Banks, who joined the team last month and is still trying to master the offense, will start Sunday's home opener against Kansas City. Graham will compete for the No. 2 job with rookie fourth-round draft pick Sage Rosenfels, who now has senior tenure among the Redskins quarterbacks.

Controversy has followed George everywhere, reaching its peak when he argued with Atlanta coach June Jones on the sideline during a game in 1996. The Falcons suspended George, then cut him.

In the Redskins' season opener, a 30-3 loss to the Chargers, George and Schottenheimer had an animated sideline discussion after Schottenheimer put Banks in the game. George had four turnovers against San Diego -- two fumbles and two interceptions -- and refused to speak to reporters for the next 11 days.

Schottenheimer kept George as his starter for the Packers game. George played the entire game, going 15-of-24 for 102 yards with one interception.

George's agent, Leigh Steinberg, said he had already received several calls from teams expressing interest in the 33-year-old. He did not disclose the teams.

George missed nearly all of training camp with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, but he said he is now as healthy as he's been in his career.

But he never looked comfortable. Some of his attempts to dump the ball for short gains were awkward. In both losses, the first two drives were killed when a third-down pass was completed short of the first-down marker.

George was drafted by Indianapolis and played with the Colts from 1990-93. He was in Atlanta from 1994-96, then spent two seasons with Oakland and one with Minnesota before joining the Redskins last year as Brad Johnson's backup.

George started five games last year, going 1-4. Ironically, Johnson would have been a perfect fit for Schottenheimer's offense, but he grew disgruntled with owner Dan Snyder and left as a free agent to sign with Tampa Bay.

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