Falcons promise winner takes all Redskins' response is deafening silence

January 04, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Redskins will get their chance to prove talk is cheap when the brash Atlanta Falcons, who have proved they can talk the talk and walk the walk, bring their act into RFK Stadium.

"We're going to shock the world," said backup nose tackle Tory Epps, as the Falcons prepared for today's playoff game against the Redskins.

Wide receiver Andre Rison said: "I don't know if they've got the speed in their secondary to cover us. We've got four guys who all run 4.4 and they've got Darrell [Green]. This is going to be the best game of my life. It's the kind of game I live for. It's the kind of game where I'm supposed to jump out and make things happen."

Then there's the ringmaster of this gang, coach Jerry Glanville, who told Washington reporters on a conference call this week to "kiss my grits" and then hung up with the words, "nice talking to you."

Glanville also told his players that the winner of today's game is going to win the Super Bowl.

"He told us whoever wins this one will win the big one," said defensive lineman Tim Green. "That's been a recurring theme, and he's been pretty prophetic this year so far."

The Falcons also say the Redskins' offensive line held and tackled in the first game.

"They'll hold you on every play if they can get away with it," said defensive lineman Rick Bryan.

All the talking by the Falcons, the rapping crew that boasts it is "Too Legit To Quit," illustrates the teams' different philosophies.

As usual, the Redskins didn't do much talking this week. They're not looking ahead to next week's NFC title game, much less the Super Bowl. They're just worried about today's game.

Yes, they will admit under duress that they did happen to win the Nov. 10 meeting between the two teams, 56-17, but they're quick to point out that Falcons quarterback Chris Miller, cornerback Deion Sanders and offensive lineman Mike Kenn didn't play.

When the Falcons accused them of running up the score, they didn't say that the Falcons were foolish to try to cover Redskins receivers one-on-one without Sanders. Instead, coach Joe Gibbs said his team threw only three passes (two for long touchdowns) in the fourth quarter.

The Redskins were busy giving the Falcons more respect than they appear to deserve. The oddsmakers have made the Redskins an 11-point favorite.

"I wish we were playing Herndon High School," Darrell Green said. "I would think, 'OK, we've got a good shot at these guys, they're all kids.' It's not like that at this level."

Now there's a typical Redskins boast: Green admitting they should beat a high school team.

But at least Green talked this week. Art Monk usually declines to be interviewed, Gary Clark joined him in silence and Earnest Byner declined to talk once out-of-town writers arrived late in the week.

Of course, the man who sets the tone for all this is Gibbs, who never wants his players sounding off, although he denies that he doesn't want them to talk at all.

He said jokingly of their reticent ways: "They're just afraid of you guys. If we had better media around here, these guys would be a little looser. You've driven our players nuts and they won't talk anymore."

Gibbs likes them to do their talking on the field, and they've learned that lesson well. Now that John Riggins, Joe Theismann and Dexter Manley are gone, the Redskins have a shortage of free spirits.

"What inspires the Redskins will be the fact they have good football players and they're trying to get something we want," Gibbs said.

The Falcons are going to try to do it with the run-and-shoot offense that the Redskins have throttled three times this year with coach Richie Petitbon's complicated defensive schemes.

It also helps the Redskins that the Falcons' gambling, blitzing defense plays to their strength -- Mark Rypien's ability to throw deep to the Posse. Rypien had six touchdown passes in the first game. The Redskins may try the no-huddle offense today to make it easier to exploit the Falcons' defense.

Glanville had no apologies for his style of play after the first game.

"We could have lost that game by a nice margin [by playing conservatively] and everybody would have said we were great, but I think that sends a message to your team that you are surrendering, that you're giving up," he said.

Glanville, though, conceded the defense is vulnerable to the deep pass.

"If the throw is perfect, if the protection is good, then you have a shot at getting us," he said.

The Redskins can show that, if nothing else, Glanville is right about that.

Vito Stellino's picks

Both home teams figure to win today, so the most entertaining part of the day may come when Bill ("I never said I was going to take the Tampa Bay job") Parcells pops up on the NBC-TV pre-game show with this week's version of the truth about his coaching future.

His appearance should come with a warning label: You'd better be careful, because if his nose starts growing like Pinocchio's, it may come crashing through your TV set and pin you to your chair.

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