QB Conklin tops nerves, not Cards

Redskins notebook

September 13, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer Staff writer Ken Murray contributed to this article.

WASHINGTON -- Cary Conklin waited four years for the moment he was thrust into yesterday.

A fourth-round draft choice out of Washington in 1990, Conklin spent two years on the Washington Redskins' injured reserve list and then threw just two passes last year.

When Mark Rypien was injured with 13:24 left in the second quarter against the Phoenix Cardinals, Conklin was suddenly the Redskins' quarterback.

"I didn't really feel nervous pretty much the whole time I was out there," he said. "I just tried to stay under control and keep my poise with the good and the bad. Over the long stretch, that's a winning formula."

It wasn't a winning formula yesterday, as he couldn't bring them back from a 17-0 deficit at halftime.

Conklin's biggest mistake was throwing a pass to Art Monk in the end zone on a second-and-10 play at the Phoenix 20 in the third quarter. John Booty picked it off.

"That's just one I shouldn't have thrown. That was a forced ball," Conklin said. "I should have come off and thrown it to someone else."

Coach Richie Petitbon didn't exactly give him a strong vote of confidence when he was asked if Conklin was the quarterback if Rypien was lost for the season.

"We'll have to talk about it," he said.

Offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower said it's the head coach's prerogative, but said he's ready to go with Conklin against the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.

Rich Gannon, obtained on Aug. 19 in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings, still is learning the offense.

There aren't too many unemployed quarterbacks available, either. The current cast includes Chuck Long, Ken O'Brien, Mark Vlasic and Tom Tupa.

On rebound again

Rypien, who hurt his right knee yesterday, said he suffered a similar injury to his left knee playing basketball in 1981 while in college and was lost for three months after surgery on the medial collateral ligament.

"Nowadays, they don't even do surgery [on those ligaments]," he said. "It depends on how long you've got to let it heal."

Dr. Charles Jackson said the anterior cruciate ligaments "that are crucial to the stability of the knee feel quite good" and he doesn't think Rypien will need surgery.

Jackson was being cautious, though, until after Rypien undergoes a magnetic resonance imaging exam today because the Redskins' early diagnosis on knee injuries to Matt Elliott and Jim Lachey this year proved incorrect.

Bill of goods for foes

It may not have been a good omen for the Redskins when Bill Clinton was elected president.

The last time the Cardinals won a game at RFK Stadium was in 1978, the last time there was a Democrat in the White House.

The Redskins haven't made the playoffs in a year the Democrats were in the White House since 1945 when Harry Truman was president.

Unintended touchdown

Ricky Sanders wasn't the intended receiver when he caught a yard pass for the Redskins' only touchdown in the third quarter.

"I was trying to hit a guy in the flat and he got jammed up and I saw Ricky wide open," Conklin said.

Redskins hurting at tackle

The Redskins remain thin at left tackle with Lachey out. Two tackles, Moe Elewonibi (hamstring) and Joe Jacoby (knee) got hurt yesterday. When Jacoby went out, Elewonibi had to return.

The other injuries were to guard Mark Schlereth (knee), safety Danny Copeland (knee) and punter Reggie Roby (hamstring).

Roby got hurt trying to run down Johnny Bailey on his 58-yard punt return for a touchdown, but was able to keep punting. He averaged 51.4 a kick, but the low line drive on his first punt was perfect for a return.

"I knew I'd have a lane," Bailey said after the Cardinals' first punt return touchdown since 1987. "The kick was 45, 50 yards. Any time a punter kicks that far and it's a line drive, you're going to have a lane."

Still kicking

After his wife delivered a baby girl Saturday night in Phoenix, Ariz., Cardinals kicker Greg Davis caught a red-eye flight to Washington, arriving at 8 a.m.

It was worth the effort. He broke his own club record of 52 yards with a 53-yard field goal in the first quarter.

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