TD thrills Conklin, but he won't rip Rypien Redskins notebook

November 30, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Cary Conklin started one controvers yesterday, but he wasn't about to start a second.

The Washington Redskins' third-year quarterback got a chance to play for the first time in a regular-season game when coach Joe Gibbs decided to rest Mark Rypien with a 34-3 lead over the Phoenix Cardinals yesterday.

Conklin came in and completed both passes he threw, including a 10-yard pass to Art Monk that was Monk's first touchdown catch of the year. That pass enraged Cardinals coach Joe Bugel, who thought the Redskins were running up the score.

Conklin savored it.

"Throwing my first touchdown pass to Art, a guy I respect a whole heck of a lot, is a thrill for me," Conklin said.

Conklin, though, deflected all the questions about the fans who want him to replace Rypien.

"It's Mark's job right now. That's the way I look at it," he said. "I'm just trying to support him and get us back into the playoffs."

He won't take pain sitting down

The Redskins got through the game without any serious new injuries, but they never know how long guard Mark Schlereth is going to last at right guard.

Schlereth has a loose piece of cartilage in his right knee that locked up on him Saturday night while he was in bed.

"I couldn't straighten or bend my knee and it felt like somebody drove a nail in my knee. It brought tears to my eyes," he said.

Schlereth said the pain only lasted about two seconds when the cartilage piece must have moved.

"Maybe it was me screaming, that's what it was [that caused the pain to stop]. I was screaming like a girl, no offense ladies," he said.

Schlereth came back to play until offensive line coach Jim Hanifan pulled him in the fourth quarter with a big lead.

"He's a throwback, man," Hanifan said. "He can play in any era. We're talking about one tough, tough human being."

When Schlereth was asked why he doesn't have knee surgery now, instead of after the season as is scheduled, he said, "This is what I love to do. I love to play."

Rypien splits, for play or two

The Redskins caught the Cardinals off guard by twice lining up running back Brian Mitchell, who played quarterback in college, at quarterback and splitting out Rypien. Mitchell ran both times, for 8 and 17 yards.

Mitchell could have passed against the right defense, but said he was happy running.

"I'm a running back now," he said. "It makes you feel good that they have that kind of confidence in you."

Rypien said jokingly that when the Cardinals saw him split as a receiver, they yelled, "Look for Rypien to run the fade route."

"We wanted to take some shots with some special plays," Gibbs said.

Lining up some help

With Jim Lachey back in the starting lineup at left tackle, Rypien wasn't sacked yesterday although the Redskins were helped by the fact the Cardinals' top two pass rushers -- Ken Harvey and Freddie Joe Nunn -- were injured.

The line of Lachey, Raleigh McKenzie, Matt Elliott, Schlereth and Ray Brown went most of the way although Elliott was sidelined briefly when he was poked in the eye, and Brown limped off with a sprained knee, but came back.

Good plays just in Cards?

Tim McDonald, who intercepted a pass that bounced off Gary Clark's arms, suggested the Redskins saved plays especially for the Cardinals.

"They beat us solid. Hats off to them. They played New Orleans last week [and lost 20-3], but used plays today that they didn't use last week. They saved them for the Cardinals," McDonald said.

Missed opportunity

The Redskins had the ball on the Phoenix 2 with 27 seconds left in the first half and two timeouts left. They didn't call a timeout after Earnest Byner was stopped for a yard and Rypien then misfired on a pass to Ron Middleton. There were only three seconds left then and they had to settle for a field goal.

Gibbs took the blame for telling Rypien to call two plays while Rypien said he thought Middleton broke free because they didn't call a timeout. The only problem was Rypien blew the pass.

"Maybe the pass to Ronnie wouldn't have been there [if they'd called a timeout], but I made it not be there. I didn't make a good throw," Rypien said.

On the two plays, they lined up rookie defensive lineman Shane Collins in the backfield as a blocker.

"We kind of took a vote and came up with him as the most explosive at fullback," Gibbs said jokingly.

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