Redskins' new theme: running into the wall It's not just Frerotte: Veterans have begun to lose their patience

November 30, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Starting quarterback Gus Frerotte has been the target of jokes by national talk-show hosts.

Starting wide receiver Michael Westbrook has been chastised once again for his immaturity and short temper.

Veteran cornerback Darrell Green, the team's leader, seems to be losing his patience with Westbrook and other young players who are hurting the team with untimely mistakes.

However, coach Norv Turner keeps displaying patience with his players.

That is the state of the 6-5-1 Redskins entering today's 1 p.m. game with the 2-10 St. Louis Rams at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

Linebacker Ken Harvey, who had four sacks in the game, got in Westbrook's face after he was called for a 15-yard penalty for taking his helmet off late in overtime in last week's 7-7 tie with the New York Giants.

Green said last week, "We have a lot of patience for those with great potential."

Frerotte had to leave the Giants game with a sprained neck at halftime after head-butting a wall while celebrating a 1-yard touchdown run near the end of the first half.

Westbrook, arguing over a ball he thought he had caught, possibly took the team out of position to kick a winning field goal in overtime with his penalty, which moved the ball to the Washington 47-yard line from the New York 38.

Green said of the Giants' tie: "This game was a very pitiful kind of game. It was sort of embarrassing."

When talk show hosts Jay Leno, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern started making light of Frerotte's head-butt, the quarterback looked at his wife, Annie, last week and said, "I don't want to be remembered only as the guy who banged his head into a wall."

But Frerotte seems to know it will take a long time for this kind of embarrassment to go away. He has been given a new nickname by his teammates.

He is now known as "The Headbanger" instead of "The Sniper," courtesy of 326-pound left guard Tre Johnson.

"The good thing is everyone on the team can joke about it now," Frerotte said. "When I came out of the game, I put Hoss [Jeff Hostetler] in a tough spot. It's the 12th game of the year, and he hasn't had many reps. He finally got some, but it wasn't in the right way. Michael [Westbrook] and I both made mistakes. Michael is a great player and he wants us to win badly. He thought he caught the ball."

The intense Harvey and left tackle Joe Patton said it was time to back off on Westbrook and Frerotte.

Patton said: "They both hurt us, but I don't see a need to ridicule these guys. We can't hold it over their heads."

And what is Turner saying of Frerotte and Westbrook?

"They were wrong," said Turner. "They were critical mistakes that cost our team. Neither one of them is excusable. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it. I want it to be behind us."

Turner met with Frerotte and Westbrook on Tuesday and said afterward: "We spent time on what they did. Now let's move on."

St. Louis (2-10) at Wash. (6-5-1)

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

Line: Redskins by 8 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Rams 3-8; Redskins 7-5.

Last week: Rams lost to Panthers, 16-10. Redskins tied Giants, 7-7.

Worth watching: Jerald Moore gained 60 yards on 19 carries in his debut last week as the Rams' featured running back. Redskins QB Gus Frerotte has not thrown an interception in his past four games.

Outlook: After settling for a tie with the Giants last week, the Redskins trail New York by a game in the NFC East and need to keep winning so that the Meadowlands rematch in two weeks will mean something. As long as Frerotte gives up head-butting and Michael Westbrook keeps his helmet on, the Redskins should be fine.

Notable: Rams have lost eight straight games, including five by seven points or fewer.

Injuries:

RAMS: Out: LB Charlie Clemons (hamstring). Probable: T Orlando Pace (knee); LB Lorenzo Styles (hip); G Zach Wiegert (knee).

REDSKINS: Questionable: WR Alvin Harper (ankle); DE Kelvin Kinney (ankle); DT Ryan Kuehl (ankle); DT Chris Mims (abdomen). Probable: RB Larry Bowie (ankle); QB Gus Frerotte (neck); C Jeff Uhlenhake (knee).

Pub Date: 11/30/97

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