Redskins much too hurt to cry wolf Offensive line has taken beating

November 10, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

The coach who often cries wolf now may have seen the real wolf.

After the Washington Redskins escaped with a 16-3 victory over the 1-8 Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, coach Joe Gibbs made his usual gloomy prediction.

"Right now, when you look at it, you don't give us much of a chance [in the next two games]," Gibbs said. "It's going to be a tough deal for us. We play Kansas City and then turn around and go down to the dome."

He was referring to his sputtering offense's playing back-to-back road games against two of the toughest defensive teams in the league -- the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints.

It's an exaggeration to say nobody will give the Redskins much of a chance. After all, neither Kansas City nor New Orleans has an explosive offense. In fact, the Redskins, who've been favored in every game this season, are listed as a one-point choice over the Chiefs.

The Redskins (6-3) have to be thinking more about a wild-card berth than the NFC East title because they're two games behind the Dallas Cowboys.

That's because the Redskins' offensive line is in shambles, and the offense is averaging 17.7 points. Last year, it averaged about 31 points.

The Redskins are 12th in scoring in the NFC with 159 points (only the Phoenix Cardinals, 157, and Green Bay Packers, 124, have scored fewer points). The Minnesota Vikings lead the league in scoring with 246. Last year, the Redskins scored 485. At this pace, they'll score 283, a drop-off of 202 points in one year. The record for a one-year drop-off is 207, set by the 1964 New York Giants and the 1974 Atlanta Falcons.

One of the reasons for the Redskins' scoring problems is that they've lost five offensive linemen from last season. First, Russ Grimm retired, and then Mark Adickes injured his back in training camp and went on the injured reserve list.

Things got worse Oct. 8, when Jeff Bostic went on injured reserve with a torn rotator cuff, and Oct. 15, when Jim Lachey went on IR with a knee injury.

Now, Mo Elewonibi, who was activated from the IR list to replace Lachey, is the latest victim. He went out against the Seahawks in the second quarter with a knee injury and likely will miss several ++ weeks. He underwent a magnetic resonance imaging yesterday and the Redskins will get the results today.

That left the Redskins scrambling for an offensive lineman. Neither Lachey nor Bostic is close to being ready to return, so the Redskins have decided to activate the only offensive lineman on the practice squad, rookie Tom Myslinski, who was cut by the Dallas Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns.

The Redskins have two rookie linemen they drafted on the physically-unable-to-perform list, Darryl Moore and Paul Siever, but they have to use a move to activate either player. They didn't have to use a move to bring up Myslinski from the practice squad.

The Redskins looked at the players available on the waiver wire, but decided that they were better off activating a player who was in camp.

That leaves the Redskins with five veteran linemen who've played for them in the past -- Joe Jacoby, Ray Brown, Raleigh McKenzie, Mark Schlereth and Ed Simmons.

Jacoby and Schlereth are playing hurt. Jacoby was supposed to sit out the Seattle game, but replaced Elewonibi, and Schlereth will need elbow surgery after the season. And Simmons has come back from reconstructive knee surgery.

Gibbs called Jacoby a hero for even playing. "Most guys would have said, 'I'm not playing,' " Gibbs said.

That's not Jacoby's style. He kept going even though his shoulder went numb on his first play. But there's no guarantee he can keep going.

Behind those five veterans, the Redskins have rookie Matt Elliott, veteran Mike Haight, who was cut by two teams this year, and Guy Bingham, who's a long snapper. Gibbs said that if Jacoby goes out, McKenzie will be switched to right tackle and Elliott will play center.

"When all the guys you're depending on for years are in there and nobody gets hurt, it's easy to win games like that," defensive lineman Fred Stokes said. "But what shows the quality of the players you have on the depth chart is when the starters get hurt and your backup guys have to come through. Everybody has to work together through the ups and downs. It's actually brought our team closer."

NOTES: The Redskins hope to get some of their ailing defensive players back this week. LBs Monte Coleman (neck) and Andre Collins (back spasms) missed the whole game, and Kurt Gouveia (neck) saw only spot duty. S Danny Copeland also sat out with a neck injury.

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