Eagles dodge media blitz, but face rush of Redskins Quarrel over, Philly turns to game plan

December 17, 1992|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- If this is Redskins Week, the Philadelphia Eagles have no time for controversies, thank you.

Seth Joyner? Old news.

Buddy Ryan? Ancient news.

Designer suits? Now you're talking business.

"I just got these things, and I want to go try some of them on," Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham said, trying to pry himself loose from a pack of journalists around his locker yesterday.

Four days before the Eagles re

new their rivalry with the Washington Redskins at Veterans Stadium, Cunningham spent part of his lunch hour slipping into expensive-looking suit jackets.

Ever the fashion plate, Cunningham did not soil a single one with venom from the Eagles' latest round of locker-room acrimony.

About those comments by Seth Joyner, Randall . . .

"I don't pay attention to it," Cunningham said. "You guys have to sell papers. The stations have to have high ratings. If you have a controversy, you have to put it out there. "Seth didn't mean anything by that."

Apparently not. Joyner, who was critical of Cunningham, Eagles coach Rich Kotite and team owner Norman Braman in a New York Times story Sunday, issued his mea culpa Tuesday, the players' day off. The veteran linebacker didn't recant his comments, but did regret them.

In the Sunday story, Joyner blamed Cunningham for getting Ryan fired as coach two years ago, said Kotite was the "puppet" Braman wanted to replace Ryan, and said Braman cares only "about making money."

Joyner wasn't talking yesterday. Now he'll talk football on game days only. Meanwhile, his teammates were busy spreading word that everyone in the Eagles' locker room was on the same page this week.

"Everyone was on the same page when it was all happening," said running back Herschel Walker, who expressed the opinion this latest flap was, after all, the media's fault.

"I don't think it was a distraction. It's more someone trying to create something."

Tight end Keith Byars said the Eagles had moved on.

"No distraction at all," he said. "It happened Monday and Tuesday, our time off. . . . Sometimes, bad memories get brought up."

The Eagles may have some bad memories of their 16-12 loss to the then-struggling Redskins on Oct. 18 at RFK Stadium. But they acknowledge no hang-ups about needing four quarters and all of overtime to outlast the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday

at the Kingdome, 20-17.

"There's been a negative cloud over us for winning the way we did," tackle Ron Heller said. "In my mind, I look at all the adversity we had, and it shows more character [to win that way] than [just] going up and beating a 2-and-whatever team."

It was up to Cunningham to show the most character in Seattle, though. Against a relentless array of safety blitzes, he was sacked 10 times, but still threw for 365 yards and brought the Eagles from behind.

If the Seahawks can sack Cunningham 10 times with a variety of blitzes, what havoc might the Redskins -- with defensive guru Richie Petitbon -- throw at the Eagles' beleaguered offensive line?

"They do bring more than the normal four," Heller said of the Redskins pass rush. "The onus falls on the running backs to pick up the hot linebacker, the backs to get the route changes, and the quarterback [to make the right audibles]."

The Eagles have a pretty good idea of what's coming Sunday. The same blitzes they didn't handle in Seattle. "If I was them, I'd blitz us until we get it right," said wide receiver Calvin Williams, a graduate of Dunbar High. "I expect them to blitz us until we hurt them."

But Cunningham rejects the notion that it is up to him to deliver a big game this week and improve the team's playoff position.

"When Buddy was here, he expected his best players to go out and win [the game]," Cunningham said. "Richie's here now, and he expects everybody to go out and win."

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