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CZAR: How does Daniel Snyder balance that checkbook?

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The intrigue within the NFL coaching fraternity seems to become more bizarre every year as the playoffs begin. Now, Marty Schottenheimer will leave the Redskins with $10 million for one year¿s service. (Translation: $7.5 million for receiving a pink slip and $2.5 million for coaching this season). Not bad in this economy. Steve Spurrier, the offensive genius from the U. of Florida, will soon take his place. His deal will be worth $5 million a season. No wonder Redskins owner Daniel Snyder had nothing left in his checkbook for Bobby Beathard, who most likely will continue to surf rather than rekindle his Washington football career. People joke all the time about money, but Mr. Snyder must have a printing press, right? There is no other explanation for how he has performed thus far in the NFL, considering he arrived on the scene three years ago by paying a hefty $800 million, the largest-ever purchase price for a NFL franchise. Then, he went on a spending spree, acquiring the likes of Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jeff George, etc. He fired Norve Turner with a year left on his contract. He dumped interim coach Terry Robiskie. He went for stability in Schottenheimer, but his wife, partner Fred Drasner and his friends who like wide-open offenses didn¿t much care for Marty. Now, he¿s demanding Spurrier to produce some Gator-like 50-point afternoons at FedEx Field. I just don¿t think Spurrier can generate that much scoring with Tony Banks. Tony Dungy has had a nice run in Tampa. He turned the franchise around, and drafted some Pro Bowl defensive talent. He put his neck on the line for Keyshawn Johnson, believing the Jets receiver was worth two No. 1 picks. Tony was right; he simply couldn¿t build an offense around a physical receiver who can¿t go deep. Keyshwan displayed as much mortal fortitude as I¿ve ever seen during a NFL season. But, sadly, he did everything but score. Had he scored Saturday on that long pass play before halftime, the Bucs might have found life. They didn¿t and Dungy, a talented coach, will pay with his job.

Mooch is struck

A few weeks ago, we reported that John York, husband of the 49ers owner, promised Steve Mariucci that he could investigate other jobs and possibly leave San Francisco for something better. That won¿t happen now. The braintrust operating the 49ers wants Mooch to honor the final two years on his contract ($2 million annually) and do so without receiving an extension.
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If the San Diego Chargers want Mariucci, they will have to pay with draft choices. And that won¿t happen. Mariucci is fuming about this turn of events. He wanted a contract extension when Notre Dame came calling, but York said no after originally saying ¿maybe.¿ But, honestly, the 49ers would be nuts to simply allow Mariucci to leave. He turned a team that looked like a 6-10 bunch in August into a 12-game winner. His team played super in Lambeau Field Sunday, and the ending might have been different if Mike McKenzie hadn¿t tipped a pass intended for Terrell Owens. Tyrone Williams, who was out of position on the play, luckily grabbed the ricochet and Green Bay went on to a 10-point victory. If Owens catches that pass, the 49ers might have scored or at least have had the ball inside the Green Bay 10-yard line. Instead of a potentially tied game, the football gods were smiling on Green Bay once again.

What were the Jets thinking?

I realize its great to look cool under pressure, but Herm Edwards¿ team took it to a new level in Saturday night¿s fourth quarter. Down two touchdowns, the Jets never showed any sense of urgency. They were methodical to a fault, no matter how much I screamed at the TV, encouraging them to hurry up. The end result was a 14-point loss. They didn¿t much care about running out-of-bounds and they kept running Curtis Martin sporadically when their biggest need was more time, not rushing yards. Pure and simple, it was horrible clock management. Edwards should have a sit-down with offensive coordinator Paul Hackett and demand an explanation. Ted Cottrell, whose name has been mentioned as a head-coaching candidate, didn¿t help himself, either. His unit was burned by a 39-year-old receiver and they looked awful on Charlie Garner¿s clinching touchdown run -- stay in your lanes, baby. Of course, Cottrell wasn¿t helped when Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham declined to play because of the flu. Don¿t you at least try to play with the flu? Who cares if you barf in Oakland? Thousands of fans were doing that in the parking lot.

Gruden vs. Belichick

One of the best games this season was when Mike Martz took his Rams into Foxboro. It was a super matchup of offense vs. defense, and Martz was jazzed about anticipating Bill Belichick¿s every defensive move and adjustment. St. Louis won, but barely. Next Saturday night¿s matchup between the Raiders and the Patriots will be very similar. Jon Gruden and Belichick are pretty much the same person, except one is consumed by offense, the other by defense. Gruden admits that he likes Belichick, even thanking him Sunday for some Bon Jovi concert tickets. One would also expect a Raider-like crowd for the last game in Foxboro.

Feeling sad for Wannstedt

When it comes to being a Regular Joe, Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt rates very high. He is a tireless worker, and a solid coach. Every time we talk, he prefaces our conversation with: ¿I know you don¿t like our quarterback, but¿¿ Granted, it isn¿t Jay Fiedler¿s fault that Miami has no offense, but he plays a major role. Despite his 200 yards rushing last year in the playoffs, Lamar Smith is just a guy disguised as a running back. The offensive line lacks punch and the Ravens exposed it. What had to be tough was losing to Brian Billick, whose winning grin is sometimes difficult to swallow. But, yes, Elvis Grbac was a better quarterback than Fiedler this day.

Weekend Thoughts

The 49ers should feel good about their future, because Jeff Garcia played very well in his first playoff game. It was a considerable upgrade from his performances against the Rams this season. ... Terrell Owens is becoming a bore with his continuing lament that Mariucci doesn¿t call his number enough. He moaned afterwards in Lambeau; enough already! ... Mike Sherman made a mistake in going for two points Sunday; plus his play call in that situation stunk. You have to throw the ball into the end zone. ... Gruden had a terrific game plan for the Jets. You could tell he worked hard this week. And if he had enough healthy players for practice during the week, he might have used the no-huddle offense a lot more. ... Maybe it¿s me, but did Rich Gannon go out of his way to ignore Tim Brown, who caught only three passes for 13 yards, and a touchdown? ... The Steelers can¿t be too happy about seeing the Ravens again. Lucky for them, their offense is ten times better than Miami¿s. ... Brett Favre will need more than 25 points to beat the Rams. ... Marshall Faulk spent the weekend in Las Vegas. Doing what? Chilling and playing golf. John Czarnecki is the NFL Insider for the pregame show and NFL This Morning on Fox Sports Net.
Tagged: Cowboys, Packers, Chiefs, Raiders, Rams, Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, 49ers, Buccaneers, Redskins, Ravens, Steelers, Chargers, Tony Banks, Mike McKenzie, Brett Favre, Charlie Garner, Marshall Faulk, Jay Fiedler, Curtis Martin, John Abraham, Jeff Garcia, Terrell Owens, Jeff George, Deion Sanders

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