Before he started his first National Football League game two weeks ago, New York Giant quarterback Joe Pisarcik publicly suggested he would feel more comfortable calling his own plays.
For sure, it was a brash statement for an NFL rookie. And the Giant coaches still will be calling Pisarcik's plays when New York tries for its second victory over the Redskins this season in a 1 p.m. game Sunday at RFK Stadium.
But Pisarcik's confidence is one reason he has risen from fifth-string to replace Jerry Golsteyn as the starter.
Pisarcik is nicknamed "Patterson Plank Joe," for the main road that runs outside the team's base of operation in the New Jersey Meadowlands.
As a high school senior Pisarcik was not heavily recruited, ending up at New Mexico State. He then went to the Canadian Football League team in Calgary, Alberta for three years. In the offseason, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Pisarcik has worked as a bouncer.
Pisarcik is a swash-buckling, street-fighter type and may be the man to keep spirits up on a New York team that needs vocal leadership.
But Giant spokesman Ed Croke said the coaching staff at this point still considers Golsteyn their quarterback of the future.
"To groom some quarterback you have to play him," Pisarcik said in a telephone interview from the Giant locker room yesterday. "I'm playing, and he isn't.
"I'm not saying anything against Jerry. But Richard Todd (of the New York Jets), he's a quarterback of the future. He's not sitting there watching . I know when they say 'offensive team,' I go in there. I stated the last two games and I'll start Sunday. Maybe this stand-in is going to stay there.
Pisarcik appears to thrive on being the underdog, as he did in training camp when he was the fifith of five quarterbacks. Pisarcik said he always sensed the Giants were looking for him to foul up, so they would be able to cut him. Many Giant observers did not expect him to survive the first cut.
"He wentr eight for eight for 180 yards or somehting in an intrasquad rookie scrimmage," said a club official. So the coaches said, 'Wait for the vets.' He was nine for 10 for 182 yards against them. So the coaches said. 'Wait until we play another team.'
"We scrimmaged the Jets, and he was six for six. it got to be such a thing that Pisarcik would take a reporter aside and whisper to him, 'They don't know what to do with me, do they? They think I'm going to messup, so they can cut me. They can't cut me when I throw like this, can they?'"
Piscarcik finally made the team off his performance in his first preseason appearance, in the fourth exhibition game, when he relieved Golsteyn and completed 15 of 21 passes for 232 yards against Buffalo.
Pisarcik, like most Canadian League quarterback, has a reputation for being a wide-open player. He is playing for a coach , John McVay, who is stressing conservative offense. In college, Pisarcik one threw 51 passes in a game. Last week against the 49ers he threw six, the least the Giants have thrown in 25 years.
"There was a 20-mile-an-hour wind and we jumped out to a 17.3 lead real quickly, and they couldn't move the ball," Pisarcik said. "I talked to the coaches about it . . . You have to play conservative sometimes. Maybe we played too conservatively. But we won the game, and that's what counts."
Pisarcik pointed out he threw 33 passes he previous week against Atlanta when the Giantw were playing catch-up.
"You do whatever it takes," Pisarcik said. "You don't know until you're in the game how it will go."
Pisarcik will be the second rookie starter the Redskins have encountered at quarterback in three weeks. They chased Tampa Bay rookie Randy Hedberg in less than a quarter.So what must Pisarcik do to survive?
"What they do is a good job of disguisting their coverages, especially (safetics). Jake Scott and Ken Houston," he said. "And they have a pretty good front four. It doesn't present a problem for me, but it will for our linemen."
Left cornerback Pat Fischer, who says the effects of the pinched nerve in his back are getting worse instead of better, missed yesterday's closed practice at Redskin Pard . . . Linebacker part in drills . . . Everyone else practiced and there were no changes in the team's official injury report to NFL headquarters . . . Redskin coach George Allen said after practice: "I know we're going to play a good game. When you're 3-2, the next game is a very big game. What we need, which we haven't had, are a lot of big plays. That's what has been slowing us down."
Mark Moseley was wearing a shoe with lead in it at practice. But the weighted sneaker was to increase his leg strenght, not to kick with.