All along the line Veteran Jacoby shows versatility as one-man Skins' bench

November 30, 1990|By Jack Mann | Jack Mann,Evening Sun Staff

HERNDON,VA. — HERNDON, Va. -- "I'm John Havlicek, the sixth man," Joe Jacoby said. "Call me Hondo."

At age 31, in his 10th season, a year after reconstructive knee surgery, the 310-pound offensive tackle for the Washington Redskins is about to begin a new phase of his career.

When the Redskins meet the Miami Dolphins at RFK Stadium Sunday, Joe Jacoby will be a one-man bench for the offensive line.

He'll be a substitute not only at tackle, his job description, but at one guard position, coach Joe Gibbs said. Maybe both guard positions.

"Oh, Jake has played guard before," said guard Russ Grimm, who was a rookie with Jacoby. "When? Hey, Jeff: when?"

"In Chicago," said center Jeff Bostic, a year senior to Jacoby. "In '81."

The record showed that Jacoby, as a free-agent rookie out of Louisville, filled in at tackle and guard for the first half of 1981 before he "settled in" at left tackle for an eight-year tenure.

In the sixth game of that season Jacoby played guard as the Redskins defeated the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, 24-7.

"I remember," Bostic said, "because they took Jake to the hospital to X-ray his neck and we waited in the plane, on the runway, to see if he was coming with us."

Jacoby returned to the lineup two weeks later to start at left tackle and played the next 55 games in a row.

Gibbs would remember that Chicago game because it was his first victory with the Redskins after an 0-5 start. They went 8-3 the rest of the season and went to the Super Bowl the next two seasons.

Jacoby started the Redskins' last two games at right tackle, but Ed Simmons has recovered from a bruised knee. So the starting line of (left to right) Jim Lachey, Grimm, Bostic, Raleigh McKenzie and Simmons is intact.

Gibbs' text this week has been that "one-dimensional" football does not win in the NFL. The Redskins produced 36 yards rushing on Thanksgiving Day and were drubbed by the Cowboys, 27-17.

"The Dolphins have seen the films of our Dallas game," special teams coach Wayne Sevier said, "so I'm sure they can't wait to get here."

Guard Mark Schlereth, who started the season, is listed as "probable" after nursing a sprained ankle for three weeks but offensive line coach Jim Hanifan isn't so sure about him.

Hanifan is "happy with" veteran guard Mark Adickes, he said. Adickes started in the New Orleans victory and "played well," Hanifan said.

"But his problem is understanding a couple of our schemes in pass protection," Hanifan said.

Playing guard instead of tackle will be "less taxing" for Jacoby, Hanifan said, "easier on his knees." The theory is that it's easier on pass plays to block tackles coming straight on than to pick up rushers circling on the outside.

"I've been doing that [practicing Jacoby at guard] for some time," Hanifan said. "I believe he can handle it."

Jacoby believes so, too. "There's no big difference physically," he said. "It's mental. If I'm playing right guard, then left, I have to think: 'Which way do I go this time?' "

*

It isn't exactly a youth movement, but two of the Redskins' bright young players might have featured roles against the Dolphins Sunday.

AJ (no periods, please) Johnson, the rookie cornerback who led the team in interceptions and pass deflections last year, will be activated "and we'll get him in there," Gibbs said.

Johnson has been practicing for several weeks since recovering from offseason knee surgery and his "enthusiasm and bouncing around" have convinced Gibbs he is ready.

AJ will be in there as a "nickel" and "dime" back against Miami's multiple-receiver formations.

And rookie Brian Mitchell will get his chance at running back, Gibbs said. A problem in Dallas, the coach said, was that "I should have called more running plays."

Should running back Earnest Byner need a rest, Gibbs indicated, Mitchell will get the ball. "If I do," Mitchell said happily, "I'll try to do something with it." Drafted in the fifth round and converted from quarterback, Mitchell has carried only three times, for 12 yards.

He did that, and scored a touchdown, as an emergency quarterback after Jeff Rutledge and Stan Humphries went down in a 28-14 defeat at Philadelphia.

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