Mike Curtis apparently will start at outside linebacker against the Baltimore Colts on Monday night, but George Allen was in to much of a hurry yesterday to talk about it.
Allen worked his football team for two hours, ran several laps around the running track, then walked over to two reporters for his usual postpractice press conference.
After talking briefly about "a little better practice," he was asked if he was going to head south and watch his son, Bruce, a punter for the University of Richmond, play against Furman.
"What time is it?" he asked.
About 1 p.m., he was told.
"Geeze, the kickoff's in about 10 minutes," he said, making a mad dash for the locker room and grumbling all the way. 'The last chance to see my son play. I don't even want to talk about it."
End of postpractice press conference.
While Allen slipped into the shower, made like a quick change artist and sped away from Redskin Park toward the interstate highway, several other team sources confirmed that Curtis has been working with the first-team defense all week and should start Monday night against his old team.
Chris Hanburger's sore knee still apparently has not recovered sufficiently to allow him to play, particularly against such a rangy, mobile quarterback as Bert Jones, who also puts linebackers under intense pressure with frequent dump-off passes to his running backs.
All of the Redskins have a healthy respect for Jones, the leading passer in the AFC and a 57 per cent thrower who has allowed only one interception in 159 passes this year. He has also thrown for eight touchdowns and been sacked only 12 times.
"He throws the ball with more velocity than any quarterback I've ever seen," said Redskin receiver coach Pete McCulley, who joined the Colts as an assistant in 1973, Jones' rookie season in Baltimore.
"I spent four years there and when ol' Bert lets it go, you can actually hear the football hum," McCulley went on. "Receivers will tell you they want the ball to get there and get there fast. That's what Bert does.
"That old theory of floating one in, then zipping it in, then floating another one doesn't fit too well with most receivers because it throws their timing off. Bert's ball is always the same, and he's learned how to take just a little bit off it so he doesn't break their hands.
"He always had all the qualities you look for. You didn't have to be very astute to realize he was one heck of a prospect. At first it was just a matter of getting some people around him, and that's what they've done. All these guys grew up together, and Bert is their leader."
"The thing that impresses me is that he's a controlled quarterback," said safety Ken Houston. "It's rare to see a quarterback at that age (26) and experience (five years) take advantage of all the things he does."
Jones obviously prefers to drop straight back in the pocket, but he also is a savvy scrambler. If his wide receivers are covered, he will check off to running backs Lydell Mitchell and Don McCuuley, his two leading receivers with 27 and 24 catches, respectively.
This week, Jones will also be able to aim deep because Roger Carr apparently has fully recovered from a knee injury that plagued him earlier in the season. Carr, who has only four catches, so far, averaged 26 yards a reception in 1976 and caught 11 touchdown passes.