Billy Kilmer get his first game action of the summer tonight when he starts at quarterback for the Redskins in an 8 p.m. preseason matchup with the Colts in Baltimore.
Coach Jack Pardee was sounding an optimistic note yesterday as the Redskins broke training camp. "I think we'll come out of it a better football team," he said.
Just how much better might be determined off tonight's game, which will be shown on a delayed basis tonight at 11:30 over Baltimore's WMAR-TV-2 and Saturday night at 8 on WJLA-TV-7. WMAL radio (630-AM) will broadcast the game live. A crowd of 42,000 is expected to watch.
Pardee described his first Redskin camp as, "Overall, pretty successful. The biggest disappointment was that some guys didn't get to work as much as we had hoped because of some of the flu problems we had. But I think we're coming out in pretty good shape.
"I was pleased with the way the squad worked, the acceptance of everything we wanted to get done, and the competition for jobs can only help us in the long run."
Pardee said yesterday he will keep Kilmer in for 25 to 30 plays. Offensive coordinator Joe Walton will continue to call the plays.
Pardee also plans to take a long look at rookie running back Tony Green, who has carried the ball only once in the Redskins' preseason scrimmages and exhibition games. Pardee also hinted that Green's performance may have a direct bearing on whether the Redskins will attempt to talk Calvin Hill out of retirement, or trade him to another team.
Hill has been home almost two weeks. "After this game, we'll know a little more about Tony," Pardee said. "It might answer some questions for him (Hill) and for us."
"I'd like to get the football to Tony to see what he can do with it. He was an exciting player in college, but we haven't seen anything to make a judgment on him."
Other priority items on Pardee's checklist include:
Eliminating penalties that have plagued the Redskins in their first two preseason games, against Minnesota and Green Bay, particularly holding calls against the offensive line.
Protecting the quarterbacks. The Redskins have yielded 11 sacks in the first two games, a trend center Bob Kuziel says "has to end right now. We can't let those guys hit any more."
Keeping the running game operating in high gear. Last week, despite the absence of John Riggins and Mike Thomas, the Redskins gained 186 yards on the ground. Riggins and Thomas are healthy again and should start and play at least a half.
Defensing one of the league's strongest offensive units, despite the absence of Colt holdout Lydell Mitchell. Tonight's game will provide the best test so far of the Redskins' 34 defense.
Getting more production of the wide receivers. Redskins receivers caught only nine of the 54 passes thrown by quarterback Joe Theismann in the first two preseason games. "We're still looking for somebody to step in and take charge at the position," Pardee said. If no one does tonight, a trade next week is possible.
At least 10 Redskins must be pared from the 60-man roster by Tuesday. Several younger players will be a last chance to demonstrate their skills in Colt game.
Among those probably having difficulty sleeping nights are wide receiving Larry Franklin, J. T. Smith and Ed Marshall; running backs Eddie Moss, Nate Jackson and Jeff Kinney; tight end Grady Richardson; defensive linemen Johnny Owens and Duncan McColl; Linebacker Don Hover, and Punter George Roberts.
The Colts will be looking for their first preseason victory after losses to Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.
Coach Ted Marchibroda believes in working his younger players into exhibition games and has only used allworld quarterback Bert Jones the first half in each of those losses.
Jones in scheduled for a half tonight before Bill Troup relieves him in the third quarter. With Mitchell still out of camp, Baltimore will open with Don McCauley at tailback and Roosevelt Leaks at fullback.
The defensive unit the Colts hope to start the regular season with should be intact for the opening kickoff, including the so-called "sackpack" front four that recorded 47 hits on the quarterback a year ago.
"If we can block those guys," Kuziel said, "we ought to be able to block just about anyone."
Pardee said defensive end Coy Bacon probably will be held out of action because he has missed the last three days of practice with a bad cold . . . Placekicker Mark Moseley and panter Mike Bragg both have slightly sore legs and a decision on whether to use them will be made during he warmup. Pardee said . . . Mismatch of the year: Dave Butz (295 pounds) sitting on Joe Theismann (195) as the quarterback worked on his tan before the start of yesterday's practice . . . Pardee gave out autographed color pictures to all Dickinson College personnel involved with the Redskin this summer, including the fellow who collected the garbage . . . The Redskin Alumno Association Welcome Home LUncheon Monday at the Sheraton Park is sold out. A crowd of 1,700 is expected.