No quit in 'Skins when it comes to squabbling QB merry-go-round irks Frerotte as 3-4 Giants visit

November 01, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

The daily ritual around Redskin Park in Ashburn, Va., has become all too familiar these days.

No one talks anymore about must-wins, the playoffs, the team's terrible No. 28 ranking against the rush or crucial matchups for the next game.

What can be so important about any one game when a team is 0-7 and seemingly going through the motions every Sunday?

It's more like a wake for a team and its near-certain lame-duck coach Norv Turner than a practice session.

Every day, another player comes out and criticizes his teammates for giving up on the season. The finger-pointing is gaining momentum and will only get worse if the team doesn't soon win a game.

Brian Mitchell, the outspoken kick returner and running back, has chided now second-string quarterback Gus Frerotte for questioning himself after a poor effort in a 41-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago.

Frerotte said, "Maybe my talent level is not high enough that's the only thing I can think of. I guess I have to look at myself."

Mitchell responded on his weekly radio show the next night. "Quarterbacks should express confidence at all times," he said. "That didn't sit well with me. Some guys I hang around with are not going to respect that."

An angry Frerotte had an answer for Mitchell last week after having had time to digest the criticism during last week's bye.

"I'm not going to have anybody put me down anymore," Frerotte said. "If my shot comes again, I'm going to play well. All the stuff that was said last week, people want to blow out of the water. I'm going to be back. I have the talent to play in this league. I'm going to be in this league a long time."

Frerotte was demoted to No. 2 behind Trent Green for the second time this season on Monday by Turner. But Frerotte said he is confident he could ring up the team's first win today against the 3-4 New York Giants at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

"I don't think it was a fair shot," he said of his one-game opportunity against the unbeaten Vikings in which he completed 10 of 26 passes for 117 yards and one interception. "I've had some success against the Giants."

Frerotte, 27, was 2-0 against the Giants two years ago and guided Washington to a 7-0 halftime lead over them last season at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

However, Frerotte didn't play in the second half of that game because of the now-infamous sprained neck he suffered late in the second quarter.

Frerotte knocked himself out of the game when he slammed his head into the wall at the back of the end zone after he had scored on a 1-yard run.

While many have said Frerotte was celebrating the run, it appeared that he was making an angry statement to the Redskins fans who had been booing him.

Washington wound up settling for a 7-7 tie when backup Jeff Hostetler came off the bench and threw three interceptions.

Frerotte suffered a broken hip the next week against the St. Louis Rams and missed the final three games of the 1997 season.

The Redskins received another setback Thursday when it was discovered that defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield would miss three to five games due to arthroscopic surgery. on his right knee.

N.Y. Giants (3-4) at Washington (0-7)

Time: 1: 01 p.m., Ch. 5.

Line: Giants by 2 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Giants 3-4; Redskins 0-7.

Outlook: For all their struggles, the Giants are just a game behind Dallas in the NFC East, and a victory today could set up a showdown for the division lead next week at Texas Stadium. In the meantime, they figure to feast on Washington's propensity for turnovers, especially since their fierce rush (30 sacks, including eight in a Week 1 win over Washington) will likely batter Redskins QB Trent Green. He replaces Gus Frerotte, trying to spark a team that has been nothing short of pitiful, especially on defense. Not only have the Redskins given up more rushing yards than any other NFC team, but they also have taken the ball away just four times, by far the NFL low.

Notable: Redskins are closing in on franchise-worst 0-9 start of 1961.

Injuries:

GIANTS: Out: S Sam Garnes (foot); S Rodney Young (back). Doubtful: G Jerry Reynolds (knee). Probable: T Toby Myles (back); CB Phillippi Sparks (shoulder); CB Shaun Williams (hamstring).

REDSKINS: Out: S Jesse Campbell (knee); LB Antwaunne Ponds (knee); DT Dana Stubblefield (knee). Probable: RB Terry Allen (calf); DT Marc Boutte (ankle); G Tre' Johnson (knee); T Shar Pourdanesh (groin).

Pub Date: 11/01/98

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