Another yank of Rypien possible, Petitbon says

November 09, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- These are strange times for the Washington Redskins.

Although they ended their six-game losing streak Sunday night, there wasn't much celebration at Redskin Park yesterday because coach Richie Petitbon immediately created a quarterback controversy.

Petitbon, who pulled quarterback Mark Rypien for one second-quarter series in their 30-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, said he won't hesitate to do it again.

"I don't think he has to look over his shoulder, but at the same time, if he gets batted balls, he's coming out," Petitbon said.

Rypien wasn't intercepted against the Colts after being picked off four times by the Buffalo Bills last Monday night. Petitbon, zTC asked if batted balls annoy him more than interceptions, said, "Read that any way you want. There's a lot of things [involved]. I don't think anybody likes to get pulled. Ryp understands the situation. He took it very well."

Explaining the decision to bench Rypien, he said, "Sometimes you have to let people know you're not happy with what they're doing. I got tired seeing balls batted. It's as simple as that.

"That's something that kills drives. That hurt us last week in Buffalo. I wasn't going to let it hurt us again Sunday night. That's just got to stop."

Pulling a player for a series is somewhat unusual, but it seems to be Petitbon's philosophy. He also yanked free safety Brad Edwards after the Redskins gave up a 72-yard scoring pass in the second quarter.

"If somebody does something you don't think he should do, I don't see anything wrong with resting him for a series," Petitbon said. "Nobody likes to be taken out of a game. I didn't like the way he [Edwards] played the 72-yard touchdown pass."

Petitbon conceded, though, that there's a bigger impact when a coach pulls a quarterback.

"The quarterback without question is the most important position on the field, just because of handling the ball every play directing the offense," he said. "And I think you give quarterbacks more consideration."

But Petitbon hasn't hesitated to yank his quarterbacks. After Rypien suffered a knee injury in Week 2, Cary Conklin went all the way in a 34-31 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

He then was pulled for Rich Gannon in the third quarter of the 17-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Rypien was rushed back for the next game against the New York Giants, but has had trouble finding his form on a gimpy knee, though he now says it's not bothering him.

Rypien got the hook Sunday night after getting just two first downs in the first three series. He twice had third-down passes batted down.

Rypien, who wasn't at Redskin Park yesterday because the players had the day off, was told he was being taken out for just one series.

"They just said to take a breath and get my thoughts together and come back out and get ready to go," he said.

After Conklin was sacked twice in three plays, the Redskins had to punt. Reggie Roby's kick bounced off Clarence Verdin's shoulder and the Redskins recovered on the Colts 6. Rypien was sent back in for Conklin, who wasn't told that he was going in for short-term relief duty.

"I think quite possibly if he hadn't gotten the ball on the 6-yard line, he probably would have had another series," Petitbon said of Conklin.

Quarterback changes are nothing new for the Redskins. Since Joe Theismann suffered a career-ending leg injury in 1985, only Jay Schroeder in 1986 and Rypien in 1991 and 1992 have gone all the way at quarterback for Washington.

Rypien, who completed only six of 13 passes for 45 yards in the first half, rebounded in the second half to complete 11 of 15 for 144 yards, including a 42-yard strike to Tim McGee that set up a touchdown.

Offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower said only one of the two batted balls in the first quarter were Rypien's fault.

But he wasn't going to second-guess Petitbon.

"Those are head-coaching decisions," he said. "Richie's the boss. That's his prerogative."

ereg,7.5,8 NOTES: Moe Elewonibi aggravated a knee injury Sunday night and if he can't play Sunday against the New York Giants, Greg Huntington will go in at center, center Jeff Bostic will move to guard and Raleigh McKenzie will move to tackle. . . . The Redskins hope to bolster their thin line by signing former Bear Vernice Smith this week. Another former Bear, Tom Thayer, has turned them down. . . . The career of Joe Jacoby, who has back problems, may be over. Petitbon said he doubted Jacoby will play again this year and he may go on the injured reserve list.

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