Charley Taylor stalks the sidelines these days during Redskin practices, instead of participating in them, and watching some of the very young men trying to replace him.
Three of those young wide receivers - third-year man Brian Fryer and rookies Walker Lee and Larry Franklin - clearly have caught the eye of the NFL's leading all-time pass catcher.
"Everybody's talking about them," Taylor said yesterday. "Every one of them shows me something good."
Taylor and all the Redskin coaches will be watching those three closely again today in a 1:30 p.m. rookie scrimmage against the Baltimore Colts at Hershey Stadium in Hershey, Pa. The Redskins are desperate for help at the position, what with Taylor's retirement and the trade of Larry Jones to San Francisco.
Frank Grant seems solidly entrenched at one position and Danny Buggs is making a heavy pitch to retain his starting status from a year ago. But there are at least two receiver positions available, and there is talk that Fryer may well be in the starting lineup by opening day.
"I don't think they're down on Danny Buggs," said Mike Allman, the director of player personnel. "But they are looking for consistency. Danny made some darned big plays for us last year, but there were a few balls he dropped, too.
"He's been looking real good in camp. The other kids have shown us something, too. Right now it's too ealry to get down on anybody or to get high on anybody."
Fryer has made some eye-popping moves and catches during the first two weeks of workouts. He has done that in each of his first two camps, but injuries kept him on the team's injured reserve list the last two years.
Fryer, 25, was drafted out of the University of Alberta in Canada, where he caught 110 passes for more than 2,000 yards in his final two college seasons. The Redskins also hope he can develop into a punt and kickoff returner.
"Smooth is what you think of when you see him run," Taylor said. "He's always had that. He's got speed, he gets into his patterns real well and he knows what he's doing out there. His only weakness is that he has a tendency to float into his patterns instead of making these real sharp breaks."
Fryer's durability also is a major question mark. He injured his knee covering a kickoff during the 1976 season, then needed an operation last summer to correct the problem and missed another full year.
Lee, 22, the Redskins' eighth-round draft pick out of North Carolina, has impressed the coaches and Taylor with his speed and hands. The 6-foot, 180-pounder is no great physical specimen, but as Allman often says, "If you're good enough, you're big enough."
Taylor believes Lee can play. "I thought he'd be a sleeper," he said. "Right now, he seems to be going through a mental thing where he's worried too much about plays and assignments and not just catching the ball. A lot of kids get caught that way.
"But I think he wants to play and I think he can play. He'll get his head straight and be all right. He's just got to go out there and get comfortable and catch the ball."
Lee only caught 16 passes as a senior at Carolina, the same problem the 22-year-old Franklin had at Jackson State. "I caught one last year," Franklin said. "We ran the wishbone and all I ever did was block."
Franklin's 4.5-second speed for 40 yards was not good enough to get him drafted, but the Redskins beat and scouts from Green Bay and Denver to sign him as a free agent. According to Taylor, Allman and Coach Jack Pardee, he keeps getting better every day.
"With all the receivers, it's kind of a wait-and-see thing right now, "Pardee said yesterday. "At this point in camp, the separation starts to take place, where some will catch on and some will taper off. It looks like at this point, Larry Franklin is on the rise.
"Usually when the veterans come in, some of the younger players sit back and look at them with awe and don't do much after that. But that didn't happen to Larry. He's buckling down and holding his own."
"He's got the size and the speed," Taylor added. "If he had one negative aspect, it's his lack of experience catching the ball. But that's something you can correct by catching balls every day. Once that comes naturally to him, and I think it will, he's got a great shot to make the team."
Pardee made more friends among his players yesterday when he canceled striders (40-yard wind sprint) after an afternoon practice that lasted only 90 minutes. Pardee was hoping to save his players' legs for today's scrimmage . . . Rookie running back Tony Green is not expected to see any action against the Colts. He still is bothered by a pulled hamstring that has put him badly behind . . . Mike Curtis keeps thumping folks in 11 [WORD ILLEGIBLE] 11 drills. Yesterday running, back Tommy Reamon was among his targets . . . Gerard Williams was suffering with a virus and missed the afternoon practice . . . Jerry Smith visited training camp for the first time since he retired and posed for pictures with Taylor and Bobby Mitchell, Smith is No. 2 and Mitchell No. 3 behind Taylor in the Redskins' all-time, receiving statistics. Smith will do the color on WJLA TV's telecasts of the Redskin, preseason games.