To Frank Grant, it makes no difference who starts at quarterback for the Redskin Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. To Joe Theismann, whom Allen reportedly has tapped to replaced Billy Kilner, one man alone cannot work miracles.
TO defensive end Ron McDole, one of the team's elder statesmen, the anticipated switch will put pressure on the players who are not producing.
After a closed practiced during which Theismann ran the first unit through about 35 per cent of 11-on-11 drills, Grant said:
"My confidence has been uplifted because I know this is something we are going to overcome. Yes, my confidence is rattled a bit but . . . it's time for use to start playing as we've been practicing. The last couple of weeks we've been practicing good and it's time to put that stuff together on the field on Sunday.
"I don't care who they put in there to quarterback. The rest of the team still has to go out there and play football."
Some team sources see the switch to Theismann as purely a motivational device. Even Bill Malinchak, the former special-teams star who made a comeback late last season, was on the field in sweatclothes talking to special-teams coach Paul Lanham after practice.
"No, I'm not thinking of bringing him back," said a testy coach George Allen. "He just happened to be in the area and dropped in. I suppose just writing about that could cause some problems.
"I didn't have anything to do with it . . . He was not out on the field (practising). You could write it in such a way as to make it look like we worked the guy out, which is illegal. We've got enough problems without making any more . . . problems on stuff like that."
Malinchak, an independent commodities broker in NewYork dealing in precious metals, said:
"This was just to say hello, come down, run a few laps and get a workout in . . . My team's having a few problems. Would I come back? No, I don't think so. I think one comeback's enough."
"The change of quarterback pace helps," said McDole. "It puts pressure on them (the other players) because they know Billy lost his job because they weren't doing theirs.
"We've got to stop beating ourselves. We're doing what people use to do against us.We can't look back. We can't let that stuff bother us now. Then you get conservative and it gets worse. You have to gamble and take your chances."
And the gamble this week is Theismann, just as Allen gambled by replacing Kilmer with Sonny Jurgensen under similar circumstances in the past. Theismann, who Tuesday said the quarterback change was "news to me," yesterday skirted a direct answer, saying that whatever he and Allen disucss is between them until Allen makes a statement.
Allen said he would not name his starter until Sunday.
Since fullback John Riggins was hurt against Dallas, the Redskins are unlikely to play the conservative style of ball-control offense Allen prefers. So that means throwing more passes and taking more chances and that is seen as another reason for the switch to Theismann.
"Our game plans are devised with an equal amount of passes and runs," Theismann said. "It depends on the situation in the game whether we pass more or run more. It's totally determined on Sunday afternoon.
"You've got to do something. There are only two ways to move the football, well, actually three - passing, running and penalties. And we're not looking for a lot of breaks as far as penalties go. If one doesn't work, you've got to go the other way."
Theismann added: "I don't think Billy's played that badly, I think quaterback is an important position, but not one particular position on a football team determines the total success of failure."
Of course, everybody at Redskin park talks hypothetically about the Theismann-Kilmer change.
"If I get the chance to play," Theismann said. "I'm going to give it every living bit of energy I've got."
Defensive tackle Diron Talbert summed it up best for a team that has played well only once in 12 games, including the preseason:
"We've got some players who are honest and some players who know what it takes to win . . . We're well prepared for the game already, and it's only Thursday. The coaches have done their job. It's just time for us to start playing with excellence again."