QB Frerotte maintains low profile for Redskins Performance overshadowed by other stars of 8-3 team

November 24, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

The 49ers' Steve Young and Jerry Rice are in town.

The hype continues over a possible matchup of cornerback Darrell Green on receiver Rice in today's 1 p.m. game between the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers at RFK Stadium.

Washington's Terry Allen remains in the national spotlight with an NFL-leading 17 touchdowns and 1,060 yards rushing.

Teammate Henry Ellard rolls on, Brian Mitchell draws raves for his long kick returns and Michael Westbrook has arrived.

Gus Frerotte, meanwhile, is still putting the ball in the end zone on a regular basis but remaining somewhat in the background.

That doesn't usually happen to quarterbacks in the NFL. They are the most visible players in the league.

"Gus tends to be overlooked in this offense," Redskins coach Norv Turner said. "And that is normal for our offense because we're not throwing for a lot of yards. The guys who are throwing for big yardage are doing it because they're getting behind. We're getting the big plays we need and aren't coming from behind."

Turner said that every time Frerotte excels in a big game, the national media are surprised.

"But the people who see him every game and coach him know what he can do," Turner said.

Frerotte says he isn't hurt by the lack of recognition, even on his own team.

"I don't know if Norv praises me or cusses me," Frerotte said. "It doesn't bother me if I'm singled out a lot or never talked about. I'm still going to be the same."

Frerotte is proof that statistics are sometimes for losers.

Injured Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kent Graham (82.0 points) ranked ahead of Frerotte (79.6) this week in the quarterback ratings, but Graham was only 3-3 as a starter. Frerotte is 8-3.

Turner said the important thing for Frerotte is to "get to the point where he is comfortable enough playing that he will tell me he isn't comfortable with a play. It takes a long time for that to happen for most quarterbacks."

When Frerotte reaches that level of confidence, he will have an input in the play calling, Turner said.

Meanwhile, Frerotte keeps making impressive throws on the run, stays in the pocket as long as he has to, and keeps his status as the No. 1 quarterback for one of the top teams in the NFL in the proper perspective.

It all appears to be part of a master plan by Turner to keep the spotlight off Frerotte while he's growing into his position.

Monday, Turner talked about at least five or six players who came up huge in last Sunday's 26-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles and then said, "Oh, by the way, Gus Frerotte was outstanding on those two touchdown passes to Jamie Asher and he just missed connecting on a couple of other big plays."

However, if Frerotte guides the 8-3 Redskins past the 8-3 49ers today and follows with a victory over the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving, Turner will no longer be able to keep Frerotte from the bright lights of the NFL.

NOTE: Defensive end Sterling Palmer (sore left knee) will not play against the 49ers.

San Francisco (8-3) at Washington (8-3)

Time: 1 p.m., Ch. 5.

Line: 49ers by 3 1/2 .

Vs. spread: 49ers 6-5; Redskins 8-3.

Last week: 49ers beat Ravens, 38-20. Redskins beat Eagles, 26-21.

Outlook: If Redskins are to keep NFC East lead and make run at home-field advantage in playoffs, this is must-win game, because they face red-hot Cowboys twice in final five weeks. Steve Young, sidelined last week due to concussion, will start at QB for 49ers, who have just one win over playoff-caliber team, a 10-9 squeaker against Houston four weeks ago. Facing Washington's 30th-ranked defense will help San Francisco's cause.

By the numbers: 49ers have won 22 of last 23 games when they rush for 100 yards or more. Redskins have outscored opponents 50-19 in first quarter.

Injuries:

49ERS: Questionable: RB Tommy Vardell (ankle). Probable: DE Roy Barker (knee), S Merton Hanks (leg), RB Derek Loville (toe), WR Terrell Owens (foot), LB Gary Plummer (knee).

REDSKINS: Out: C Cory Raymer (back). Questionable: DE Sterling Palmer (knee). Probable: RB Terry Allen (ankle), DT Marc Boutte (knee), G Bob Dahl (knee), WR Leslie Shepherd (hamstring), DT Tony Woods (knee).

Statistical comparison:

............ ....... .. Off. ....... ....... .. Def.

NFL RANKINGS .. Tot. .. Rush .. Pass .. Tot. .. Rush .. Pass

San Fran. ..... 10 .... 11 .... 13 ..... 5 ..... 4 ...... 9

Washington .... 12 ..... 3 .... 22 .... 30 .... 29 ..... 29

............... ....... Yds. .. Yds.

PER GAME ...... Pts. .. rush .. pass ... TO .. Sacks

San Fran.

Off. ......... 24.7 .. 115.3 .. 214.1 .. 1.5 .. 2.5

Def. ......... 15.6 ... 90.1 .. 191.3 .. 2.5 .. 3.1

Washington

Off. ......... 24.1 .. 137.4 .. 190.0 .. 1.0 .. 1.3

Def. ......... 19.2 .. 141.0 .. 245.3 .. 2.2 .. 2.2

Pub Date: 11/24/96

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