Rypien gets flying start against Jets Completes 7 of 10 in Redskins' win

August 01, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA — BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- It might have been a good omen for Mark Rypien.

Two years ago, he started his season with a scrimmage at Lehigh University and ended it in the Super Bowl.

Last year, he was holding out when the Washington Redskins scrimmaged here, and he never found himself all season after missing three weeks of training camp.

Rypien was in camp from day one this season, and it showed yesterday when he made his scrimmage debut and completed seven of 10 passes for 51 yards in his one, 12-play series.

The Redskins went on to beat the New York Jets, 29-16, at Lehigh before 9,143 fans in their final tuneup before their first exhibition game next Monday night against the Cleveland Browns at RFK Stadium.

"Obviously, it was a much better performance than last week," said coach Richie Petitbon, referring to the team's 34-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a scrimmage last Saturday.

"I think we've had a good camp. I think we're on our way," Petitbon said.

Petitbon was encouraged that backup quarterback Cary Conklin, who was held out last week with a tender knee, followed Rypien for two series and virtually matched him. Conklin completed 12 of 18 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. He also had one interception.

"I thought the first two [quarterbacks] did all right, but I didn't think Chris [Hakel] played very well," Petitbon said.

Hakel, the third-stringer in his second season out of William & Mary, completed three of six passes for 40 yards in the final drive.

Petitbon said he was pleased that Conklin seems to have overcome the knee injury that slowed him the first week.

"It's probably the most encouraging thing that's happened to us all week, getting [Conklin] back," Petitbon said.

"That's important. That's a very, very encouraging thing for us."

Conklin said: "I'm really happy with the way my knee feels. I'm definitely over the hump. I played pretty well."

It's also a positive sign that Rypien is showing signs of reverting to his 1991 form.

"The Super Bowl [year] did start here in Lehigh," Rypien said. "I came

here the week we played their rookies [after a brief holdout]. I got off to a good start.

"I think that's what it's all about, getting off to a good start and getting that relaxed feeling, the feeling your timing is down and everything is in sync. No doubt that being in camp helps."

Petitbon said it's important that Rypien and all the starters have been in camp from the start. The only holdout is running back Ricky Ervins.

A year ago at this time, Rypien, Jim Lachey, Darrell Green and top draft pick Desmond Howard were holding out.

"All this stuff that's going on the first two weeks, that's going to go on no matter when you come back," Petitbon said.

PTC "If you come back in the fourth week, it's going to go on for two weeks. When you have everybody for five weeks, you're going to be a better football team.

"Unless you get good quarterbacking, you're not going to go any place," he said.

"For him [Rypien] to come back is probably the biggest thing we need on this football team."

Petitbon said he was impressed that wide receiver Mark Stock continued to be the surprise of camp with another good showing. Stock, in his third season out of Virginia Military Institute, caught three passes for 46 yards.

"Every time we take the field he makes plays," Petitbon said. "After a while, you've got to say the kid's doing something. If he continues to make plays, he's going to be on our football team."

Stock is getting more time to play because Howard and Stephen Hobbs have abdominal injuries.

Petitbon said the main concern was the running game. Brian Mitchell ran four times for two yards, Earnest Byner had nine yards in two carries and Robert Green gained 22 yards on six carries.

Petitbon, though, seemed convinced the team will get the running game rolling.

"That's just going to take some time," Petitbon said.

NOTES: QB Boomer Esiason made his debut with the Jets and completed four of six passes for 46 yards. Although Esiason played the first series and seems certain to open the season as the starter, coach Bruce Coslet hasn't made it official. "Overall, it was spotty, but we did some nice things," Esiason said. . . . WR Art Monk, who has lost his starting job, was cheered when he caught a pass and spun away from a defender for a 17-yard gain. But he failed to run under the only other pass thrown to him. . . . Chip Lohmiller kicked five field goals for the Redskins. . . . Rookie TE Frank Wycheck of Maryland continued to play well, catching two passes for 29 yards. . . . Petitbon said he expects Ervins to end his holdout this week, but added he thought he'd end it two weeks ago.

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