Rescued from San Diego, Orr is putting charge into Redskins' air attack

December 12, 1991|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Evening Sun Staff

HERNDON, Va. -- Two weeks from the end of the regular season, the Washington Redskins' Terry Orr is preparing for a game of little or no consequence.

It could be worse, though. A lot worse. He could be in San Diego preparing for a game of no consequence.

Placed on 24-hour waivers last August by the Chargers, Orr caught one of the better breaks of the NFL season when he was claimed by the Redskins.

Washington had just lost Ken Whisenhunt to a waiver-wire gamble, and was in need of an H-back. Orr, who played with the Redskins from 1985 to 1990, fit the job de

scription like a glove.

The rest is playoff history. Orr has started five games in the Redskins' dream season and caught six passes, three for touchdowns. When the Redskins beat Phoenix last week to go 13-1, they locked up home-field advantage through the playoffs and reduced the remaining regular-season schedule -- against the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles -- to pride games.

In San Diego, Orr would have been playing out the string on a 3-11 team that figures to endure more turmoil in the offseason.

"I think there is a little irony that I'm not [in San Diego] now, where they're struggling," Orr said yesterday. "The guys here kid with me and say, 'Hey, you could've been out there, look what's going on.'

"But I just tell them, 'If I was out there, you guys would be 2-10 and [the Chargers] would be 11-1.' "

Orr definitely has been in the right place at the right time this year. In the past two weeks, he scored wake-up touchdowns for the sluggish Redskins. He scored on a 47-yard pass play with Mark Rypien two weeks ago in a 27-6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. That wiped out a 3-0 Rams lead. Last Sunday, with the Redskins trailing Phoenix 14-0 in the second half, he pulled in a 4-yard touchdown pass to launch the comeback. The Redskins went on to win, 20-14.

In a passing game that features The Posse -- Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders -- Orr is an intriguing afterthought. He is averaging 23.7 yards per catch this season, with four receptions of 22 yards or longer. His three touchdowns have doubled his seven-year career total.

Still, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound blocker/receiver says those heroicsdo not constitute a new role with the Redskins.

"It's more of a situation-type thing," he said. "The past couple of weeks those situations have come up. It's not something that would happen on a regular basis. It could be in the weeks to come that the teams we play don't give us the opportunity for passes to be thrown my way."

Against the Rams, Rypien pump-faked a Los Angeles safety to the right side of the field and then let Orr beat an overmatched linebacker on the left side. In Phoenix, Rypien play-faked to running back Gerald Riggs going right and then hit an uncovered Orr in the left side of the end zone.

Orr's other touchdown came in a 56-17 rout over Atlanta in Week 11. Until his recent success as a receiver, Orr's biggest contributions had come on special teams. He has 61 special team hits this season, seventh on the Redskins.

And he can appreciate the difference between San Diego and Washington better than most.

"The big difference here is that we have guys who know how to play and win games when it gets tight," said Orr, 30. "We're fortunate enough to have guys who know how to win. San Diego, I don't think, has enough guys who know how to do that. It takes playing in games and winning."

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