Receivers are catching it from outspoken Petitbon Redskins coach isn't satisfied

August 05, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Richie Petitbon isn't much of a diplomat.

The new coach of the Washington Redskins has a reputation for speaking his mind, and he proved it's well-deserved yesterday, when he criticized the play of the wide receivers in training camp.

"I don't think anybody has really jumped out yet," Petitbon said. "We keep waiting for them to jump out. I think they have to do a better job of catching the ball, getting deep, making big plays.

"And they've got to do a better job of blocking. Part of the problem in the running game is our receivers aren't blocking. That's a big factor."

Unlike former coach Joe Gibbs, who only made negative remarks behind closed doors, Petitbon doesn't hesitate to criticize his players publicly.

Petitbon's current target, the receiver corps, was revamped when Gary Clark left for the Phoenix Cardinals as a free agent and Art Monk was demoted.

Ricky Sanders and Tim McGee, who was signed as a free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals, are the starters. Desmond Howard, the former Heisman Trophy winner, was supposed to be the third receiver, but Petitbon said Monk has moved up to that slot because Howard has been slowed by a groin injury. The most impressive receiver in camp has been Mark Stock, but his job is simply to make the team.

When Petitbon was asked how close Howard is to being ready, he said: "That's a good question. I really don't know. He does some good things every now and then. He certainly hasn't had a total good practice yet. I just hope he gets over this thing, fights his way through it and starts getting in the work he needs."

On receivers' improving their blocking, Petitbon said he knows blocking isn't a priority for most receivers.

"Traditionally, receivers don't like to block. That's not the nature of the beast. Dogs don't climb trees. They're not going to be trained killers [when they block], but they've got to go down and get in front of people," he said.

Petitbon apparently is not impressed that Redskins receivers have blocked well in the past.

"You've got to do it every day," he said. "What you did last year means nothing. You've got to do it, and, right now, we're not doing it."

Petitbon then softened his comments by adding: "I don't think it's a big concern right now, but it's something that has to be done."

4 Neither Sanders nor Howard seemed too concerned.

Sanders said the problem is that he's overcoming a pulled hamstring he suffered in an off-season workout.

"I'm pretty much on a bum leg trying to get out there and get the best timing I can with the quarterback without messing up," he said.

Howard said he aggravated his groin injury by trying to come back too soon, and he's taking it slowly.

"Only a fool makes the same mistake twice," he said.

Howard said it doesn't bother him that Monk is now No. 3 on the depth chart. "I felt as though all I wanted to do this year is catch touchdowns," he said. "If that's coming off the bench, it's still going to be six points."

NOTES: Ray Newman, the agent for RB Ricky Ervins, called GM Charley Casserly the past two nights and got the message that the Redskins aren't budging on their offer of $450,000. It now appears that Ervins is close to accepting it and the Redskins are hoping he'll be in camp soon. He has extra incentive to come in this week because the Redskins can send him a letter next week saying that it would cost him the paycheck for the first regular-season game ($28,125) if he doesn't report by the second preseason game.

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