Hobbled Taylor says this won't be last year

December 16, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- When the Pro Bowl teams are named this week, there may be a familiar face missing from the squad.

Lawrence Taylor, the New York Giants linebacker who's often been called Superman, has made it a record 10 straight years.

But nobody will be surprised if Taylor doesn't make it this year.

He's suffered a knee injury and at age 32, isn't the dominating player he once was.

He was hobbled by the knee injury in the 34-17 loss to the Washington Redskins yesterday and was forced out at times. Not only did he fail to get a sack -- Jim Lachey has held him without a sack for three straight seasons -- but he got just one tackle.

Taylor, though, made it clear he's not going to retire even though there had been some speculation he might.

"I have had a great career, and I'm not going to end it on a season like this. I'm going back to the drawing board and get ready to play some ball next year. And we will stop at nothing short of the playoffs," he said.

"Obviously, we've had a lot of problems and there are things we are going to have to address. But there's always next year. That's the great thing about football," he said.

The last time the Giants were defending Super Bowl champions in 1987, they went 6-9 (6-6 in non-strike games) but bounced back the next season to finish 10-6.

* Wide receiver Gary Clark changed the route on the 50-yard touchdown pass that wrapped up the game on the first play of the final quarter.

"That was more of a great play by Ryp [Mark Rypien] than me," said Clark, who caught three passes for 129 yards and two

touchdowns. "I broke the pattern and turned it into more of a post route instead of a streak route. Mark was able to pick me out. I'm glad [it worked] because now I don't have to answer to Coach [Joe] Gibbs tomorrow [for changing the route]."

Clark said he changed the route because the streak pattern was covered. Rypien said he had time to see Clark before he unloaded the pass. In doing so, he broke his fingernail.

Clark's first touchdown was a short pass that the Giants turned into a 65-yard touchdown with poor tackling.

"The first one was a middle route, a square-in type of route. The guys [Myron Guyton and Mark Collins] came up and hit me and I was able to keep my feet. They slipped because it was slippery footing out there all day. I came out of it and I was still up and they were down. It was wet out there," he said.

* The Redskins were charged with a sack on the final play of the first half when Corey Miller knocked the ball out of Rypien's hand while he was scrambling. It was the second straight week that's happened at the end of the first half. The Redskins have allowed six sacks and must blank Philadelphia next week to break the Miami Dolphins' record of seven set in 1988.

Rypien took all the blame for not throwing the ball away on the play and the offensive linemen needled him about it.

The linemen were telling Rypien one thing. "Just throw it out of bounds," Lachey said with a smile.

The linemen, though, praised Rypien for his ability to handle the no-huddle offense.

"That quick offense was something we fell into during the Dallas game. We've just been kind of adding a little bit more to it each week," Lachey said.

* Danny Copeland, a Plan B free agent who's been the starting strong safety since Alvin Walton was hurt early in the year, has been just a face in the crowd.

"You see these guys making plays, like Wilber [Marshall], Darrell [Green] and Charles [Mann] and you don't want to be the guy on the field who's just taking up space and is along for the ride," Copeland said. "I was hoping I could go out and show my worth as a player. It's a little late coming, but I'm just as thankful."

He recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass and made a jarring block on the Giants' Brian Williams that knocked him out of the game, although Williams wasn't seriously injured.

Copeland, though, did take the blame for Phil Simms' third-period touchdown pass when he went for a pump fake and jumped in the air.

"He made a nut out of me. I knew I wasn't supposed to jump on that play," Copeland said.

It was still a good day for him.

* Don't tell Ricky Ervins how tough the Giants defense is supposed to be against the run.

He ran 20 times for 82 yards in the first game and got 85 yards in 13 carries yesterday. By contrast, Earnest Byner had 68 yards in 17 carries, boosting his season total to 1,020.

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