The Washington Redskins' rookies melted before the Philadelphia Eagles today in Chocolate Town, U.S.A. But of far greater concern to George Allen and his coaching staff was Billy Kilmer's sore throwing arm back in Carlisle.
"Yes, he's got a sore arm." Allen confirmed after his roiokes had lost a controlled scrimmage to the Eagles, 12-0. "We don't think it's serious. He got it from throwing a wet, heavy ball earlier in the week. We'll just give him a couple of days off and let him rest."
Kilmer said he first felt a twinge when he tried to throw a deep pass during a practice in the rain Monday. He was able to continue to practice, and also threw Tuesday and Wednesday.
He said he tried to throw this morning and felt the same twinge. "I'll lay off throwing for a couple of days," he said. "It's nothing major. It's right in the muscle, not the joint or the elbow.
"It's better than I start now to try and get rid of it than throw and aggravate it more. I've never had a sore arm like this, it's something new to me. I took the advice of the trainers and laid off today. If I can rest these next two or three days, it should be all right."
Trainer Bubba Tyer confirmed that diagnosis and insisted Kilmer's arm would not be a problem. "We'll just let him rest," he said.
In Hershey, the Eagles dominated the two-hour controlled scrimmage, scoring on a 31-yard run by fullback Ed Shuttleworth and on a two-yard run by rookie Cleveland Franklin.
A crowd of 2.500 came to Hershey Stadium and saw the Eagle defenders badly harass two Redskin quarterbacks, stop the running attack cold and intercept three passes and recover two fumbles.
Quarterback Brian Dowling, who played so well for the Redskins last Saturday against the Colts, could not get the offense going, but he was operating without several of the Redskin's most talented running backs.
Allen decided not to use fullback Willie Spencer, who has been in camp only four days, or rookie tailback James Sykes, who had a very sore foot. So the Redskins managed only 45 yards in 26 rushes, and no back gained more than 21 yards.
Dowling also was under heavy pressure from a hard-charging Eagle defensive line, and completed only 11 of 26 passes for 133 yards. He threw all three interceptions. The Redskins never got inside the Eagle 33.
One of those, incomplete throws came on the day's most entertaining play. Dowling was running for his life, retreating from his 30 to the end zone with four Eagle defenders in close pursuit. Two Redskin assistant coaches, Joe Walton and Bill Austin were watching from behind the line of scrimmage when suddenly they were scrambling for their health, as well.
Dowling managed to get rid of the ball, and Walton and AUstin received a nice ovation from the crowd from their fancy footwork.
The Eagles had the day's biggest plays, particularly Shuttleworth's touchdown run on a quick draw. The Eagles also ripped off a snazzy 31-yard reverse by little John Mackrey, a 5-foot-4-walk-on with 43-second speed in the 40-yard dash.
That run set up Franklin's touchdown, a pop over the middle, and sent Allen home growling that, "We didn't play well and we didn't look very good, but we accomplished what we came here for. We wanted to evaluate these new players and not make quick judgment before we cut the squad."
Allen met for an hour today with Howard Slusher, the attorney representing unsigned offensive tackle Tim Stokes and rookie tight end Reggie Haynes. Slusher said he made some progress on Haynes' contract but added. "I can assure you Stokes will not be signed today." When he left town at 3 p.m. for the West Coast both players remained unsigned and still could not report to camp . . .