ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien will head for the bench as soon as Rich Gannon's foot is completely healed.
Coach Richie Petitbon telegraphed the fact he plans to make a move yesterday when he went with Gannon at quarterback in a light practice the day after their 20-6 loss to the New York Giants.
"We certainly want to take a look at him [Gannon]. Absolutely," Petitbon said after the team dropped to 2-7.
Gannon apparently will go Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams if he has no problems playing on his right foot. He broke a bone in the foot on Oct. 4 against the Miami Dolphins and has played in only one game since.
"I feel OK, but when I was out there on the field and made some easy drops, I could feel it. The question is how it reacts," Gannon said.
If Gannon's foot doesn't swell and he is able to practice tomorrow when the team starts the heavy work for the Rams game, he'll probably start. Petitbon may not make an announcement until Sunday morning.
"What'll probably happen is that Richie will wait until the last minute to make a decision," offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower said.
Gannon, who was obtained in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings on Aug. 19, has yet to start for the team, but Petitbon said he likes his mobility.
Rypien had a good training camp and played well in the opener against the Dallas Cowboys, but injured his knee in the second game against the Phoenix Cardinals.
The Redskins rushed him back into the lineup after he missed two games because Petitbon was unhappy with the play of Cary Conklin, and Rypien hasn't been the same since. He has thrown one touchdown pass and been intercepted seven times in the past five games.
Rypien conceded he hasn't been playing well. "I never doubted myself," he said. "There are so many excuses we can use, but I'm a guy who likes to be blunt. I just don't think I'm playing very well.
"I'm not going to be a guy who's going to cause a lot of fuss [about being benched]. I'm also going to say I'm not going to be totally excited about the whole thing, but I think it's something you've got to live with and be as professional as possible."
But with a salary cap coming next year, when he's due to make $3 million for the third straight season, Rypien knows he could be shipped out or be asked to take a salary cut. Even if Gannon isn't the answer, the Redskins could shop for a free-agent quarterback. Scott Mitchell of the Miami Dolphins was a leading candidate until he was injured Sunday.
Rypien said he knows there are no guarantees next year.
"Management has to definitely think about something like that," Rypien said. "Can you keep a player who is not playing at the level he was a couple of years ago? There are going to be wholesale changes around the league."
Rypien has to wonder if the changes are going to include him.
NOTES: The Redskins have 17 new players on their injury list after the Giants game. The three most seriously injured are DL Bobby Wilson (knee) and DL Jim Wahler (arch). G Mark Schlereth, who came out with the flu Sunday, also is bothered with a foot injury.