Rypien gets a line on how to succeed Redskins QB back in form as Lachey back in uniform

December 12, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- When Mark Rypien was going through tough times earlier this season, going home was a refuge for him.

"Instead of worrying about the safety blitz, I'd have hugs and kisses and watch TV with the kids [daughters, Ambre, 3, and Angela, 1]," he said.

There were times, though, that even at home, Rypien couldn't escape football.

"My wife would ask me, 'What happened on that two-deep zone? Why did you throw down the middle of the field?' Then all heck would break loose. She started it," Rypien said jokingly.

These days, Rypien is enjoying himself at Redskin Park and at home.

He has directed the Redskins to easy victories over the Phoenix Cardinals and the New York Giants, completing 29 of 43 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Rypien is quick to admit that one of the reasons for his recent success is that he has Jim Lachey back at left tackle, and his offensive line is virtually intact for the first time since early in the season.

"You know you can relax about your back-side situation [when Lachey is in there]," Rypien said.

"I think for the last couple of weeks, he's had better protection," said coach Joe Gibbs. "The quarterback normally looks good when he has real good protection. I think his performance reflected that."

His lack of protection earlier in the year is one reason Rypien is still the lowest-rated passer in the NFC, although at 73.3 he's only 0.2 behind Vinny Testaverde of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Redskins this year have had four left tackles, three left guards, three centers, two right guards and three right guards. The constant shuffling robbed the Redskins of their continuity on offense.

But Rypien never used the lack of protection as an alibi. He lashed out at the fans for booing him in the introductions before the first home game, and he walked away from one TV interviewer who asked him if he should sit down. But he never used the line problems as an excuse.

"Our guys work as hard as they can and they don't want to hear some quarterback moaning and groaning about not getting enough time when they're playing their butts off," Rypien said. "You don't want to have someone sitting there telling you you're not getting it done when I know they're trying to get it done."

The Redskins begin their stretch run tomorrow when they play host to the Dallas Cowboys, and Rypien will have a solid line in front of him. He knows what that means.

"We have no more excuses," he said. "It's just a matter of getting it done."

L Gibbs will argue the point, but the burden is now on Rypien.

"The burden is on all of us, right on our shoulders," Gibbs said. "If we don't coach well, he'll have a tough time making plays. If we don't block well, he'll have a tough time. It's all of us. He's got to do his job, do his part."

In the end, nothing works if the quarterback doesn't do his job. Lachey was still at left tackle early in the fourth game of the year in Phoenix when Rypien threw two third-down passes into the arms of defensive back Robert Massey. Massey returned them for touchdowns as the Cardinals rallied from a 24-6 deficit to a 27-24 victory that has haunted the Redskins all year.

If Rypien rallies the team now, the misplays early in the year will be forgotten. If he flops again, the year will be remembered as a lost one.

Rypien relishes the challenge. A victory over the Cowboys tomorrow -- combined with a Green Bay Packers loss in Houston -- would clinch a playoff berth for the Redskins.

"When I was in high school, the coach said there were going to be pressure situations," he said. "His definition of pressure was a chance to prove yourself. I think all of us have been in those situations when we have something to prove. We want to try to prove that we are for real and we want to get back. If we make it to the playoffs, we'll see what happens."

Rypien in '92

Opp.... Att... Co Yds TD Int

at Dal. 20 ... 38 208. 1 0

Atl.... 18 ... 28 181. 2 1

Det.... 14 ... 24 136. 0 3

at Phoe.12 ... 28 258. 1 3

Den.... 16 ... 26 245. 1 0

Phila.. 14 ... 24 240. 1 1

at Minn.18 ... 32 148. 0 1

Giants .14 ... 31 187. 0 1

at Sea. 21 ... 30 248. 1 0

K.C. 23 ... 40 217. 0 1

N.O. 21 ... 38 207. 0 1

Phoe. ..14 ... 25 175. 2 2

at Giants 15...18 216. 2 0

Totals 383... 220 2662 11 14

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