QB controversy lives in Philadelphia

November 11, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

There will be at least three quarterback changes in the NFL this week, but there is really only one quarterback controversy.

The controversy is in -- where Notebook

else? -- Philadelphia, where Eagles coach Rich Kotite's decision to return to Randall Cunningham after a week of Jim McMahon did nothing to calm the controversy that has been front page news.

Cunningham did his best to fan the flames this week when he said he didn't want to be yanked again.

"If they want to put in Jim, that's their decision. But then I'll have another decision to make after that," he said.

He was presumably talking about trying to get out of town, but he is under contract for two more seasons.

When Kotite was asked to respond, he said, "He can imply whatever he wants to imply. I don't worry about things like that."

Cunningham also said he would change his style. "No more Mr. Nice Guy," suggesting he'll chew out his teammates if they make mistakes, although that doesn't seem to fit his personality.

Cunningham also suggested Kotite's offensive scheme is more suited to a pocket passer than the scrambler he is.

"I'm going back to my old style, the old Randall dropping back and doing whatever it takes to win," he said.

Whether it's the new Randall or the old Randall, he has to play better to quiet this controversy. He gets his chance in Milwaukee Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

The other two quarterback changes were made without much of a stir.

Art Shell, the Los Angeles Raiders coach, has decided to bench Todd Marinovich and go back to Jay Schroeder.

At least, that's what Marinovich announced. "I'm disappointed," he said. "I've still got time on my side. That's the only positive thing. I'm just starting my career."

Marinovich was pulled for Schroeder in the second quarter against the Eagles Sunday, after he was intercepted for the third time. Schroeder started the first two games before getting yanked.

The other change was made in New England because both Hugh Millen and Tommy Hodson are injured. former Maryland quarterback Scott Zolak, will make his first start against the Indianapolis Colts.

Two teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks, are debating their quarterback situations.

Steve DeBerg started Tampa Bay's last two games after Sam Wyche became the third coach to bench Vinny Testaverde. The Bucs lost both games and Wyche hasn't decided if he should start Testaverde Sunday against the Chicago Bears. "We're talking about it right now, trying to determine the best way to go against this particular team," Wyche said.

Testaverde is lobbying to get the job back. "The only way to stop the bleeding is to get a win and I think I can help," he said.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks are debating whether to bring back Kelly Stouffer from the practice squad to replace Stan Gelbaugh, although Stouffer still is recovering from a shoulder injury.

Gelbaugh has other things on his mind right now. He got a call Saturday informing him that his 22-year-old brother, Chip, was injured in an auto accident Friday night and is in Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center in a coma with severe head injuries.

Gelbaugh didn't even tell the Seahawks about the accident until after the 16-3 loss to the Washington Redskins.

"It puts the game in perspective," he said.

Gelbaugh declined to comment on the possibility he would be benched.

"On film, Sunday's game was ugly. That's all I can say. We've had better days," he said.

The Money Guy

Tim Robbie, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, is not a chip off the old block. His father, the late Joe Robbie, was noted for being frugal, but Tim Robbie is spending money as if he has his own printing press.

He's got the highest paid player in quarterback Dan Marino ($4.4 million a year), the highest paid coach in Don Shula ($1.85 million) and he went out and got the highest paid free agent in Keith Jackson ($1.5 million) and now he's signed linebacker Brian Cox, a second-year player who had two years left on his contract at $150,000 and $200,000, to an extension worth about $1 million a year through 1995.

Robbie is supposedly worried about free agency, but even the players' attorneys have said they could live with the idea of free agency only after the fourth season.

This is why the owners are fighting free agency. Even the threat of it kicks up salaries.

Miscellaneous

The Los Angeles Rams finally won a coin toss Sunday against the Phoenix Cardinals after losing 12 straight, including four preseason games. They still lost the game. . . . Seventeen NFL players have scored more touchdowns than the Seattle Seahawks, who have scored five. The leader is Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, who has 12. . . . At least 12 San Diego Chargers were fined from $1,000 to $4,000 for getting into a third-period scuffle on Oct. 25 against the Denver Broncos. Quarterback Stan Humphries was among those fined, but he's appealing because, he said, he was only trying to get players back in the huddle.

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