Redskins look to future, and past Monk

November 25, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- When a team is 2-8, it's time to look to the future and make changes.

That's what the Washington Redskins will be doing in their final six games as players fight for their jobs.

"Every player on this team ought to have that [keeping a job] in the back of his mind," offensive coordinator Rod Dowhower said yesterday.

One player who probably isn't part of the future is veteran wide receiver Art Monk, who was benched last week and will remain in a part-time role the rest of the year.

Dowhower called Monk the "odd man out" now that Desmond Howard will start with Tim McGee and Ricky Sanders will be the third receiver. The Redskins will try to give Monk enough action to keep his pass-reception string of 158 games alive.

Playing four receivers in three spots with three different quarterbacks has made it difficult for the receivers to get in a groove, but Dowhower said they're handling it well.

"I'm just thankful they're really good guys," Dowhower said. "I know they're frustrated. We've all got todeal with it."

In the past seven games, the Redskins have started Cary Conklin, Mark Rypien and now Rich Gannon at quarterback and have been unable to get their passing game -- ranked 22nd -- clicking.

Gannon will get his second straight start Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles and hopes he won't be as rusty as he was last week.

Monk, who could have been phased out earlier if Howard hadn't been slowed with a groin injury in training camp, seems to have accepted his fate.

"It's not a surprise," Monk said yesterday. "Our situation was kind of defined before the season started so I was kind of prepared for it. Regardless of how I feel, they're going to do what they're doing to do."

In his 14th season, Monk, who'll turn 36 on Dec. 5, won't concede his career is on the brink of being over.

"I'm not finished at this point. I believe in myself," said Monk, who has 28 catches this year. "I'm not going to let anybody tell me what I can and cannot do. I just want to get through this year. When the off-season comes, I'll think about what I'm going to do next."

The Redskins, meanwhile, want to find out if Howard is going to live up to his Heisman Trophy credentials at Michigan two years ago.

"The only way to find out is to play him," Dowhower said.

Coach Richie Petitbon, who called Howard's performance in his first start (two catches) "just average," said that this should be considered Howard's rookie year. Petitbon said Howard's rookie season was a "washout" because he missed training camp in a holdout.

Howard, who declined to comment on his performance yesterday, has been criticized within the organization for running poor routes.

"I think there's an obvious adjustment [from college]," Dowhower said. "You don't see the same coverages all the time and they disguise them and you're lining up against players pretty close to your ability or maybe even better at times."

Even the veterans, Sanders, who has 43 catches, and McGee, who has 30, haven't been able to break open games this year.

"We really can't get any continuity or timing," Sanders said.

McGee, though, has no regrets about his decision to leave the Cincinnati Bengals and sign with the Redskins as a free agent. As bad as things are with the Redskins, he said they were worse in Cincinnati, which is 0-10 this year.

"I try to think of the positives," McGee said. "There's a positive attitude [here]. Look around. You don't see anybody walking around with their chin Velcro-ed to their chest. Guys still got their heads up. There's no personality conflicts. We understand the game. We try to make the best of it. That's all you can do. I don't many chances, but when I do I take full advantage of them."

McGee didn't see much action in the second half Sunday when Monk played, but accepted his role.

"I got two things to do. I can sit over there moping and crying. That won't do anything," McGee said. "Or I can just sit over there and pay attention and I'm one play from being back in there."

NOTES: The Redskins signed former Eagles DL Gerald Nichols to shore up their ailing defensive line. To make room for him, they waived OL Paul Siever. . . . Trainer Bubba Tyer said Rypien may have to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right knee at the end of the season.

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