Answers, words at premium for 'Skins

Day after rout by Dallas, Spurrier short, to point: `It was a bad performance'

Pro Football

December 16, 2003|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - For the first time in a long time, Steve Spurrier was at a loss for words.

In a rare display for a man whose quick tongue inflamed college rivalries and spurred the publication of a book dedicated entirely to his quotes, Spurrier had little to say less than 24 hours after his Washington Redskins suffered a 27-0 pasting at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.

In fact, it took Spurrier just nine minutes to wrap up his weekly news conference at Redskins Park.

Then again, what could Spurrier offer after Washington achieved season lows in offensive production (161 yards), opposing running back gains (the Cowboys' Troy Hambrick's 189 yards) and turnovers (six)?

"It was a bad performance," Spurrier said. "I don't know what else to say. They beat us pretty good."

The shutout loss was Spurrier's first as a head coach since 1987 when his Duke Blue Devils dropped a 7-0 decision to Rutgers, but he wasn't ready to call Sunday's game the lowest point in his coaching career.

"That's up to you guys," he said. "It's a loss. We're 5-9. That's not very good. We thought we'd be better than that this year."

Not only did Sunday's loss officially eliminate the Redskins from the playoff race, but it also dropped their record to just slightly better than teams like the Detroit Lions (4-10) and the Cleveland Browns (4-10).

Asked if he could have predicted such a fate, Spurrier said, "I don't know if I have the answer you want for that. All I know is that we have not performed very well, and we're 5-9. We don't have the worst record, but we're down there amongst them."

Equally stymied was cornerback Champ Bailey, who bristled when a reporter asked him why Dallas' running backs have gained 100 rushing yards in five of the teams' past six meetings.

"I have no idea," he said. "Just watch the film, man. Y'all need to start watching film. Y'all ask us these questions. Watch the film. It tells everything. Just look at the film, take some time, and stop asking us questions."

There is no question about the starting quarterback role: It will stay with Tim Hasselbeck.

Spurrier said despite Hasselbeck's 6-for-26, 56-yard, four-interception performance against the Cowboys, he will start against the Bears on Sunday.

Asked if rookie Gibran Hamdan might play, Spurrier said, "Maybe if it presents itself. But we certainly feel Tim is much better prepared to help us win the ballgame."

Hasselbeck, who finished with a passer rating of 0.0 against Dallas, said he understands the scrutiny of a quarterback.

"When you're the starting quarterback, you're going to get more credit when you win, and you're going to get a lot of the blame when you lose," he said. "I understand that, and I'm fine with that. So I definitely appreciate Coach Spurrier believing that it was a tough night and believing that I'll bounce back."

Spurrier said quarterback Patrick Ramsey was scheduled to have surgery to repair a bone bruise and fracture in his right foot at 4 yesterday.

Spurrier said Ramsey, who flew to Charlotte, N.C., for the operation, should return to Washington tonight.

In other injury news, Spurrier said offensive tackle Brandon Winey and safety David Terrell sprained knees against Dallas and are not scheduled to practice this week.

Tackle Chris Samuels (sprained knee) is scheduled to participate in limited practice tomorrow and could play against Chicago. Safety Matt Bowen (sprained knee) will also be limited in practice. With running back Trung Canidate expected to miss practice this week, Rock Cartwright could get his second straight start. Cartwright gained 94 yards on 21 carries against the Cowboys.

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