Lack of rest for Redskins no sore point for Petitbon

August 27, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Don't expect the Washington Redskins to read much into the results of their final exhibition game tonight.

In their exhibition finales the past two years, they've scored a total of nine points -- losing to the New York Jets, 13-9, in Columbia, S.C., in 1991 and to the Minnesota Vikings, 30-0, at RFK Stadium last year.

Two seasons ago, the loss preceded a Super Bowl season. Last season, it led to a disappointing 9-7 mark, although the Redskins did go on to beat the Vikings twice, including a 24-7 verdict in the playoffs.

"Preseason games are misleading," coach Richie Petitbon said as he prepared for the game against the New York Jets at RFK Stadium.

Petitbon was pleased his team beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 10-3, last Sunday night, but he's going into this game with more modest expectations because the team is playing with only four days of rest.

"We're getting to be experts on short weeks," Petitbon said. "We're getting ready for that Minnesota game [a Friday New Year's Eve special in the regular-season finale]. We'll have this thing down pat. It's tough. It really is tough, and when you have a cut day included in there, it's doubly tough. After this week, we'll get on some sort of semi-sane schedule."

On the plus side, the Redskins will have 10 days to get ready for the Monday night opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 6.

Petitbon admitted that "after the game is over," he'll probably have no complaints about the short week because of the extra time he'll have for the Dallas opener.

"I'd like to get out of the game without any injuries," he said.

Not that the Redskins need a lot of time to prepare for the Cowboys. They've spent a lot of time working on plays for the Cowboys -- none of which will be run tonight.

As offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower said, "We're always working on some things to use so we don't just show up at the last minute and try to run some of those plays."

The Redskins already are discussing whether running back Emmitt Smith will end his holdout in time to play against them.

Although Dallas owner Jerry Jones has said he doesn't expect Smith to sign in time for the opener, Petitbon is skeptical and predicts Smith will be there.

Why?

"Michael Irvin," he answered.

Irvin was a holdout last year, signed a few days before the game and caught five passes in the Cowboys' 23-10 victory.

Since the Redskins' main goal is a tuneup in this game, quarterback Mark Rypien won't go as long as he normally would in an exhibition finale.

"We want to get him rolling with that first group and get him out of there," Dowhower said.

Cary Conklin will follow, and veteran Rich Gannon, obtained a week ago in a deal with the Vikings, will make his debut in a Redskins uniform. A year ago, he started the final exhibition game against the Redskins, but lost his job during the season to Sean Salisbury.

Thirteen of the 60 Redskins must be cut Monday, but there won't be the usual drama about the final cut because the team can bring back as many as 11 -- six will be added to the new 53-man roster and five players will go on the practice squad. Whether they bring back 11 depends on whether they find anybody on the waiver wire who interests them. They'll be looking hard for a backup offensive tackle.

NOTES: OT Jim Lachey had successful knee surgery yesterday in Columbus, Ohio, at the Grant Memorial Medical Center. He will miss this season, but hopes to make a complete recovery and return next season. . . . Owner Jack Kent Cooke was a no-show at the annual "Welcome Home" luncheon yesterday, so there was no stadium update. Since he needs to start construction by Oct. 1 to play in the new stadium by 1995, it's beginning to look as if the team won't have a new home before 1996.

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