Petitbon mulls Redskins cuts and injuries Hobbs is likely to go on IR list

August 24, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- As Washington Redskins coach Richie Petitbon ponders his first roster cutdown, injuries are going to play a role in his decisions.

Petitbon, who must slice his roster from 79 to 60 players today, indicated that wide receiver Stephen Hobbs will join Matt Elliott and Jim Lachey on the injured reserve list. Under the new rules, that means they'll be out all year.

Hobbs has been sidelined by a deep groin pull all training camp, and Petitbon said: "It doesn't seem like it's going to get better [soon]. That's a shame."

Petitbon also indicated that linebacker Ravin Caldwell won't make it because he's not as good as he was before he suffered a severe knee injury last year.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with the knee," he said. "It's just not as good as it was before he got hurt. He's struggling."

Besides Caldwell, the only veterans who appear to be in trouble are safety Terry Hoage, a Plan B acquisition in 1991 who spent last year on the IR list, defensive back Sidney Johnson, who was cut last year but came back to play in eight games after Darrell Green was injured, safety David Gulledge, who was active for four games last year, and linebacker John Brantley, who played in 12 games last year.

Most of those who will depart will be free-agent rookies. Petitbon said he has been happy with the play of the veterans.

The Redskins did their veteran pruning in the off-season, when ++ tight end Don Warren retired, quarterback Jeff Rutledge was waived, Wilber Marshall was traded and Gary Clark, Jumpy Geathers, Fred Stokes and Martin Mayhew left for the free-agent market.

The one player who came out of nowhere to virtually guarantee himself a job was wide receiver Mark Stock, who played in the World League and was cut by two teams but was the surprise of the camp.

Among the young players who are likely to depart are three from the University of Maryland -- defensive linemen Derek Steele and Ralph Orta and defensive back Irv Smith.

Tight end Frank Wycheck, who passed up his senior year at Maryland after new coach Mark Duffner phased out his position in the run-and-shoot, seems certain to make it after being drafted on the sixth round.

The only draft choice who definitely won't be on the active roster will be punter Ed Bunn. Petitbon said that veteran Kelly Goodburn is "way ahead" in that battle. Petitbon said Bunn could be signed to the practice squad.

Among the other young players who don't figure to make it are quarterbacks Chris Hakel and Chris Cochrane, wide receivers Vince Jordan and Gregory Clifton, tight end Yonnie Jackson, offensive lineman Guy Earle, defensive lineman Tom Fuhler and linebacker Jerry Dillon, who was cut once and brought back.

Once the roster is cut to 60, the Redskins only have to send two players packing. That's because after they cut the roster to 47 players next Monday, they can add six Tuesday to bring the roster back to 53 and sign five rookies to the practice squad.

In return for eliminating the four-week IR list, the teams can have a 53-man roster, but can dress only 45 each week plus a third quarterback. It's assumed that several of the 53 players each week will be sidelined with minor injuries.

One player who could be ailing when the season starts is defensive lineman Shane Collins, who started at right end as a rookie last year, but has yet to play in the preseason.

"That injury was obviously a lot worse than we thought," Petitbon said.

The injury originally was diagnosed as a shoulder bruise. The Redskins gave Collins a test for nerve damage yesterday after a CT scan didn't reveal any problems.

Petitbon said Collins is "pretty iffy" for the final preseason game Friday, although he won't rule him out of the regular-season opener.

After viewing the videotape, Petitbon was pleased that th Redskins pulled out a 10-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night.

"The way that game developed, it was more important than a lopsided win. A birdie in sudden death is a lot more important than a birdie on the first hole," he said.

NOTES: Rich Gannon will see his first action at quarterback for the Redskins Friday against the New York Jets at RFK Stadium. Since Mark Rypien and Cary Conklin will get tuneups, it'll be difficult to squeeze in enough work for all three. prompting Petitbon to say, "We'll see if we can get the game to go to overtime." . . . Petitbon said the Redskins' situation in the offensive line is "very fragile," prompting speculation the team will add a veteran backup, but Petitbon said he won't play "what if" games.

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