LOS ANGELES -- Joe Gibbs, who likes a good story, wouldn't resist telling the one about the videotape session after Mark Rypien's first practice at training camp Tuesday.
"Ryp threw about four balls at the end of practice right into the ground. Our guys were going at the meeting, 'It's not like throwing to your brothers.' Ryp starting laughing," the Washington Redskins coach said.
During his holdout, Rypien had said he was keeping in shape by throwing to his brothers.
When Gibbs' story was relayed to Rypien, he made one correction.
It turned out it wasn't "the guys" who made the comment. It was Gibbs.
"He didn't tell it that way, did he?" Rypien asked.
Back to Gibbs.
"I confess," Gibbs said.
The point of all this is that the Super Bowl MVP is still trying to get his timing back after missing three weeks in training camp during his holdout.
Going into today's 4 p.m. preseason game against the Los Angeles Raiders at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Rypien has had only six practice sessions -- two in London last week and four at Carlisle, Pa., this week before the team broke camp.
Rypien hopes to look much sharper today than he did last Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers when he played three series and completed only two of seven passes for 50 yards.
After being needled by Gibbs about kicking up divots with his throws Tuesday, Rypien decided he needed to do more throwing.
"I was telling [assistant coach] Rod [Dowhower] afterward, I just need to get some throwing in. We worked before practice and I threw 40 to 50 balls afterward. It felt a lot better and I'm gradually honing it to where I feel real comfortable about what I'm doing," Rypien said.
Gibbs won't say how long Rypien will play today, but he figures to go at least a half. The Redskins will be watching him closely to see if he's getting his timing back.
As Rypien said: "If you're throwing an out route and the guy's three or four steps out of his break, your timing isn't there and if it's got a little lollipop to it, a little arc to it, that's not what we're looking for, either. If you're getting back there and throwing with some velocity, that's what you're looking for."
Because the Redskins will have only one more preseason game before the Sept. 7 opener in Dallas, they'll be worried if Rypien isn't sharper today. Rypien said he feels he'll be in top form by the opener.
They'll also be looking at how Raleigh McKenzie performs at left tackle protecting Rypien, who took some shots during the San Francisco game.
Ray Brown had trouble at left tackle, so the coaches moved him inside to left guard and moved McKenzie to the left tackle slot.
Although the Redskins still expect Jim Lachey to end his holdout by the time the season starts, they don't know how long it'll take him to get ready, so they want a contingency plan.
The Redskins also would like to get a victory after losing their first three games by a total of four points.
"We want to look good. We want to finish strong and get off on a good note for the season," Rypien said.
The Redskins also want to look at their young players because they've got to make the mandatory cut to 61 players next week.
Meanwhile, the Raiders will be looking for a big game from Eric Dickerson, who gained 22 yards on six carries in a 24-10 loss to the 49ers and got just 1 yard in five carries in a 19-16 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams last week.
Dickerson, who'll be 32 on Sept. 2, wants to prove he has something left. He gained only 536 yards for the Indianapolis Colts last year before being traded, but says he had no help from the offensive line.
"I don't care how great you are," he said. "You have to have an offensive line. If you've got a good offensive line, an average player can still be good."
He brushes off last week's showing against the Rams when he played behind the second-string line in the second half.
"It was just one of those days," he said. "You show me a back who has a great day every single day, I'll pull the moon out of the sky. Even Michael Jordan has off-days."
Opponent: Los Angeles Raiders
Site: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Time: 4 p.m.
TV: Channel 5
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WTEM (570 AM)