Turner drops some Shuler hints NFL TRAINING CAMP

August 10, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

The Washington Redskins' quarterback derby has only reached the one-quarter pole, but it's already possible to forecast a winner.

The way coach Norv Turner was talking about the Redskins' 13-11 loss to the Buffalo Bills in their exhibition opener Monday night, it's likely that rookie Heath Shuler will get the nod over John Friesz in the regular-season opener.

Even though Shuler played like a rookie who didn't arrive in camp unti last Tuesday night -- completing four of 10 passes for 47 yards and one interception -- Turner used words such as "phenomenal" and "amazing" to describe his debut.

"I'm surprised we were able to get the ball snapped with him," Turner said of his lack of practice time.

He singled out a 22-yard Shuler pass to rookie tight end Kurt Haws for special praise.

"He squeezed it in a tight fit. The reason he can do that is he releases the ball so quickly and it has so much velocity defenders just can't react to it as easily," he said.

Shuler also gave himself good reviews. "It went good," he said. "I felt obviously I could do better. I'd like to complete all of them, but there's a lot of work involved."

Turner also praised Friesz and seventh-round pick Gus Frerotte. "I liked the way all three played," he said.

But Turn- er's lavish praise of Shuler and the fact he said he wants him to play a half Friday against the Kansas City Chiefs is a sign he's ready to rush Shuler in the lineup.

It didn't help Friesz that he wasn't spectacular -- 3-for-7 for 36 yards.

There is a certain logic in going with Shuler even though he's learning on the job. The way Jim Kelly shredded the first-string defense -- he was 9-for-12 for 141 yards and a touchdown -- it's obvious the Redskins will have problems regardless of how well the quarterback plays.

Turner brushed off the lackluster showing by the defense by noting Kelly has done that to a lot of teams.

But it was just 30 months ago that the Redskins routed the Bills and Kelly in the Super Bowl. The Redskins had only two starters from that Super Bowl defensive unit on the field Monday night.

It's going to be a long way back for the Redskins so Shuler might as well get some experience.

The Pose

Remember when Desmond Howard made the Heisman Trophy pose in the end zone in 1991 after a touchdown catch against Notre Dame?

Defensive back Jeff Burris hasn't forgotten. He was the player Howard beat on that play.

That's why Burris, a rookie drafted on the first round by the Bills, enjoyed blanking Howard on Monday. He also picked off a Shuler pass.

Talking about covering Howard in college, Burris said, "I chased him a couple of times."

He also said he covered Howard on a couple of plays that were featured in Sports Illustrated. "I was cut off [the page]," he said.

The issue

Former New York Jets offensive lineman Dave Cadigan is one player who may have misjudged his value in free agency. For $25,000, he bought out an option for the final year of his contract even though it would have paid him $850,000. Cadigan thought he could get more, but he's still unsigned.

After second-year guard David Ware walked out of camp this week, the Jets called Cadigan and asked him if he wanted to return at about $400,000.

Cadigan, still hoping a job will open for more money when teams suffer injuries, rejected the offer.

"I get the feeling money is the issue," said Jets GM Dick Steinberg.

It usually is.

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