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Rhodes new Skins coach ?


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A league sources tells us that, notwithstanding an ongoing parade of candidates through Redskins Park, owner Dan Snyderbrenner privately is saying that he plans to hire Seahawks defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes to be the team's fifth head coach since 1999.

When Rhodes' name emerged as a candidate, league insiders were questioning (yet again) Snyder's sanity. After all, Rhodes developed a reputation in two stints as a head coach (with the Eagles and Packers) as being too cozy with the players, resulting in a lack of discipline on the team.

But the source says that Snyder wants Rhodes because he served for one season as the team's defensive coordinator, and he worked well with Snyder (i.e., he kept his mouth shut except when saying, "Yes, sir," and "That necktie makes you look taller, sir").

Rhodes also is familiar with Snyder's right-hand man, Vinny Cerrato. Rhodes and Cerrato were together for two seasons in San Francisco (1991 and 1994) and Cerrato was Snyder's chief player acquisition guru in 2000, when Rhodes was the coordinator of one of the highest-priced (and most underachieving) defenses in league history.

As we see it, Rhodes fits perfectly the profile that Snyder desperately needs -- a coach who is content only to coach and who won't get his nose out of joint as Snyder and Cerrato continue to collect washed-up stars (e.g., Byron Chamberlain) and turds (e.g., Darrell Russell).

Likewise, hiring Rhodes helps boost Snyder's standing within the league and his image within D.C. Giving the job to a minority candidate will help to reduce (even if only temporarily) the flames of controversy that have been stinging the NFL's rear end of late, given its pathetic track record of hiring black head coaches. Also, since Rhodes won't be pissing and/or moaning (privately or publicly) about personnel moves, the media types will have less ammunition for criticism of the local buck naked Emperor.

Actually, Rhodes' 38-44-1 record in five years as a head coach compares favorably with the won-loss totals of guys like Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, and Steve Spurrier. So from Snyder's perspective, the analysis is simple -- he can either hire another high-priced flavor of the month and watch the franchise further disintegrate in a cloud of internal acrimony or he can appoint someone who'll play the in-house political game correctly (i.e., mouth shut, eyes front, and lips on asses) and possibly lift the team back into contention in this era of anything-can-happen parity.

Indeed, there may be a degree of wisdom in Snyder's choice. Recognizing that he'll never change his meddling ways, why not hire a coach who'll simply let Snyder be Snyder? If that coach likewise can mold Snyderbrenner's collection of organic football cards into a winner, Snyder might just come out of this looking pretty good.

Not a bad outcome, since at this point Snyder can't look much worse.

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