Redskins report

November 07, 1996|By Bill Free

What's new: Boomer Esiason comes to RFK Stadium on Sunday with the Arizona Cardinals to take on the 7-2 Redskins and he's as quick with a quip as always.

"I've played for six coaches in my career, some offensive-minded, some defensive-minded and some no-minded," said the 35-year-old veteran out of Maryland who is back as the No. 1 quarterback now that Kent Graham has gone down with a knee injury.

Esiason said any reports that his arm isn't strong enough anymore to zip the ball through defenders are "such bull."

"Ask anybody who knows me and they will tell you that I can still throw the football," he said. "It's the people who aren't on the field with me that are saying those things."

Esiason said it will be a big thrill returning to the Washington area to "play on that grass in front of all those Washington fans in that historic stadium. Unfortunately, we only have 30,000 people coming to watch us play."

Esiason sprained his toe on his second play against the New York Giants on Sunday after replacing the injured Graham but completed 20 of 40 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown, with two interceptions. The toe has been wrapped and Esiason said he went through a full practice yesterday.

Next game: The 3-6 Cardinals don't have a lot of impressive credentials but they do have a newfound offensive weapon in third-year running back LeShon Johnson, who has undergone laser surgery on his eyes and can now see the whole field clearly.

Johnson, who was the No. 1 rusher in the NCAA in 1993, was released by the Green Bay Packers last season and virtually forgotten until three stunning runs jump-started his first season with the Cardinals.

Johnson ran 58 and 70 yards for touchdowns to beat New Orleans on Sept. 22 and came back the next week with a 66-yard run in overtime to set up the winning field goal against St. Louis.

Johnson has carried the ball 87 times for 476 yards this season.

What Norv Turner said: "He [Michael Westbrook] made an outstanding play [diving catch for a 27-yard gain to Buffalo's 1-yard line] and it's nice to see him do that in a game, but I know Michael can do that. What we need to see Mike do is go out and make it through a week of practice, which he's done the last couple of weeks, and then do all the little things.I see him getting back into it and making plays through the next seven games to help us win."

Injuries: Defensive end Tony Woods (sore knee) has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable and his return would be a major boost to a line that got pushed around badly by Buffalo last Sunday as Washington's seven-game winning streak came to an end. The Redskins were down to six defensive linemen last week. Marc Boutte and Sterling Palmer also were out but are probable for Sunday.

Quotable: "I know everybody's got him in the old-age home now, but Boomer's [Esiason] got a lot of football left in him. I don't think he's done. He's still a big part of this team," said Arizona coach Vince Tobin.

Pub Date: 11/07/96

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