MIAMI -- The Washington Redskins finally unveil their $37 million passing combination tonight.
For the first time, they'll have their $19.25 million quarterback, Heath Shuler, throwing to their $18.02 million wide receiver, Michael Westbrook, when they play the Miami Dolphins in the third exhibition game at Joe Robbie Stadium.
Shuler and Westbrook have been the two most expensive acquisitions of coach Norv Turner, who convinced owner Jack Kent Cooke to commit almost $77 million for just eight players the last two years to help rebuild the team.
They paid $4 million to re-sign veteran Darrell Green and almost $73 million on seven newcomers -- Shuler, Westbrook, Ken Harvey ($11 million), Stanley Richard ($8.5 million), Marvcus Patton ($6.8 million), Rod Stephens ($4.8 million) and James Washington ($4.5 million).
So far, the Redskins haven't gotten much for their $77 million. They didn't play well while splitting their first two exhibition games and Shuler's quarterback rating of 39.9 is worse than the 40.3 mark he had when he was benched after four games last year.
Despite the statistics, Turner said Shuler is ahead of where he was at the end of last year and he thinks the big target that Westbrook provides will make him even better.
Turner, though, expects only a modest contribution from Westbrook tonight because he's been in camp less than a week.
"He's going to be extremely excited. He's going to have butterflies and he's not sure of what he's doing. That's a bad combination," Turner said.
Turner will be happy if Westbrook just gets a feel for things.
"I don't care if he catches a pass. I don't care if he runs a couple of wrong routes. I want to get him in the game so he can get through that period of getting excited, the emotional part and, hopefully, in the Green Bay game [next week], he can progress," he said.
Westbrook doesn't act as if he'll have any problems. He has a lot of self-confidence.
"I'm picking up the system," he said. "Football comes naturally to me."
Turner is looking for his team to play better.
The starters will play three quarters against a Miami team that is supposed to be a Super Bowl contender even though it was embarrassed in its first two exhibition games, losing to the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-21, and getting blitzed by the Atlanta Falcons, 37-0.
It may be a coincidence, but the Dolphins were aggressive in the locker room this week. Safety Gene Atkins was fined for body slamming a reporter.
The Dolphins will try to limit their hits to the field tonight. That's if the Redskins don't hit them with their wallets first.