Marshall revives Pro Bowl campaign Monday night show could sway voters

October 16, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- Forget comparing Wilber Marshall to other linebackers.

Compare him to Babe Ruth.

That was the parallel drawn by il,7p,14l Larry Peccatiello, the Washington Redskins assistant coach in charge of linebackers, after the game Marshall had against the Denver Broncos Monday night.

"Wilber had one of those nights when he did everything," Peccatiello said. "I think great athletes have those kinds of games. Babe Ruth probably hit four home runs on occasion, but he didn't do it often. This was Wilber's four-home-run night. He might have had his career game. He was charged, and it rubbed off on everybody else. He set the tone and everybody followed."

Marshall had a sack, caused a fumble and had five tackles in the 34-3 victory over the Broncos, but his eye-popping play came in the first quarter: He tipped a pass by John Elway, grabbed it after it bounced off teammate Fred Stokes and then ran 20 yards for a touchdown.

"It would have been one thing if it had bounced to him," Peccatiello said. "But it bounced low and he had the presence of mind to reach down and catch it about a foot off the ground."

Peccatiello doesn't expect Marshall to play that way every game.

"If you did those kinds of things every game, they'd have to build a cage around you. They wouldn't let you on the field," he said.

It was almost appropriate, though, that Marshall's career night was obscured by Art Monk's settting the all-time career receiving record later in the game.

Marshall has had problems getting recognition in Washington.

Since signing a five-year, $6 million contract with the Redskins in 1988, Marshall has missed the Pro Bowl every year -- even last year, when he had 131 tackles, five interceptions and 5 1/2 sacks.

His sensational showing Monday night might be enough to vault Marshall back into the Pro Bowl for the first time since 1987.

There are various theories about why Marshall hasn't made it since he got the big contract in Washington. One is that he's not exactly a Dale Carnegie on the field. He doesn't make many friends.

After the Redskins lost to the Phoenix Cardinals on Oct. 4, Cardinals offensive tackle Luis Sharpe said Marshall is "always running his mouth."

Cardinals quarterback Chris Chandler said one of the best things about his team's upset victory over the Redskins was that it shut up Marshall.

"Every time he tackled me, he'd say something like, 'It's me again. Here I am. I'm all over you,' " Chandler said. "I don't think you're ever going to silence him, but it definitely feels good at the end of the game when he doesn't have anything to talk about."

Marshall has a different theory. He thinks players put too much emphasis on sacks when they vote players such as Pat Swilling of the New Orleans Saints and Charles Haley, now of the Dallas Cowboys, into the Pro Bowl.

Swilling led the league with 17 sacks last year; Haley made it with seven.

"If you get on the corner and rush every down and get one sack a game, you end up with 16 sacks and you're all-world. But what else do you see him do?" Marshall said.

Since the league started keeping sack stats a decade ago, Marshall is the first player to get 20 interceptions and more than 20 sacks (he has 37 in his career).

"I want to be known as the guy who can do it all," he said. "I'm proud of saying I can do it all."

It won't get any easier for Marshall on Sunday, when the Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles at RFK (1 p.m.). The defense has to contain Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham, who has Herschel Walker's running to complement his scrambling.

"Herschel's changed his attitude [since leaving Minnesota]," Marshall said. "He's playing a lot harder, a lot better. We're playing well, but we can play a lot better. We're just starting to get that feeling back like we had last year. We really stepped it up [last week] and we want to keep it going toward the end," he said.

If Marshall keeps going, he should have a date in Honolulu in February.

NOTES: The Redskins offensive line troubles continued yesterday. RT Ed Simmons, who is in the lineup because Joe Jacoby has had to switch to left tackle, had to sit out practice yesterday with back spasms. Ray Brown played in his place, but the Redskins expect Simmons to be ready Sunday. . . . Mike Haight, who was claimed off waivers Wednesday after the Detroit Lions cut him, joined the team yesterday. He was cut by the New York Jets at the end of camp and still can't figure out why. "I guess they found somebody better. . . . but they're also 1-5," Haight said.

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