Frerotte to start Friesz bypassed

NFL REPORT

October 18, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

ASHBURN VA. — ASHBURN, Va. -- For the Washington Redskins, quarterbacks have become like subway cars: There's always another one coming along soon.

The latest for the Redskins is Gus Frerotte. Remember him?

Yes, he's the seventh-round draft pick from Tulsa with the $125,000 salary cap number who played well in the preseason but was expected to spend this season on the bench.

In the most surprising decision of his first season as head coach, Norv Turner bypassed John Friesz yesterday and named Frerotte to start in place of ailing rookie Heath Shuler against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

With Shuler on crutches after severely spraining his ankle, it was assumed that Turner would go back to Friesz, who started the first four games.

Frerotte intrigued Turner with his fast start in training camp when Shuler held out for 13 days. But because he was a seventh-round pick, there was never any thought to starting him in front of Friesz or Shuler. Now that Shuler is hurt and Friesz has a 1-3 record, Turner wants to look at Frerotte.

"What tends to happen to you with a guy like Gus you get in the seventh round, he plays good and there's something in the back of your mind because of where he was drafted and you say, 'This is too good to be true. He probably isn't this good.' Everyone is waiting to say, 'He's not as good as he looks,' " Turner said.

"He kept doing it. He kept making plays. And at some point, you say, 'This guy is going to be a very good player,' and that's the way I feel about Gus."

At 6 feet 2, 221 pounds, Frerotte doesn't have Shuler's athletic gifts, but he grasped the offense quickly and has a knack for making plays.

Still, he's a rookie who hasn't played in two months except in practice and could have a tough transition. Frerotte was stunned to find out he would start this week.

"I never thought this would happen," he said. He said that in his senior year last season the "thought never crossed my mind" that he might start an NFL game this year.

Friesz also was surprised he didn't get the nod, but he didn't complain. "There's obviously a degree of disappointment, but I'm excited for Gus," he said.

Despite Shuler's five interceptions Sunday, Turner said, "If Heath were healthy, my inclination would be to play him."

This is now the second straight year the Redskins have started three different quarterbacks. Frerotte will be the fifth one to start in the last 12 games over the last two seasons.

Going for two

Philadelphia Eagles coach Rich Kotite said yesterday that he's still having trouble adjusting to the league's two-point conversion rule after going for two with his team trailing 24-13 with 5:27 left against the Dallas Cowboys.

The move didn't make much sense because the Eagles still would have needed two scores if they had made it. When they didn't make it, they needed two touchdowns or a touchdown, two-point conversion and a field goal to tie. If they'd taken the extra point, they could have tied with a touchdown and a field goal.

"It was raining very heavily then, and we looked at the chart and we misread the chart. It was my mistake," he said.

Warning

Coach Dan Reeves of the New York Giants, who are mired in a three-game losing streak, said he'll consider benching

quarterback Dave Brown for Kent Graham if he doesn't start playing better Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"A quarterback has got to win. A quarterback has to make plays that help you win ballgames and we haven't had that happen over the last three weeks," Reeves said.

Seahawks want dome update

Unhappy with the Kingdome, the Seattle Seahawks want the stadium revamped at a cost of about $120 million. That's almost double the $67 million it cost to build the multi-purpose facility the Seahawks have been using since 1976.

"We no longer feel the Kingdome is a first-class facility and it doesn't comply with the terms and conditions of our lease," Seahawks president David Behring said.

The Seahawks want seating expanded from 66,122 to 67,817.

Baseball's Seattle Mariners have also said the Kingdome doesn't work for them.

Around the league

Gerald Perry, the Los Angeles Raiders' starting left tackle, could be lost for the season after fracturing a bone in his right ankle in Sunday's loss to Miami. . . . With running back Barry Foster out for two or three weeks, the Steelers will start Bam Morris against the Giants on Sunday. . . . New York Jets linebacker Kyle Clifton underwent arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday, but he hopes that because his team has a bye this week he can avoid missing any games.

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