The Washington Redskins were nearing the end of their normal practice yesterday and were about to work on field goals, the final drill of the day. Mark Moseley has laced up his kicking shoe and a ball boy was dispatched to the woods to retrieve the footballs.
But Coach Jack Pardee was not happy. His offensive team had been sloppy in an earlier 11-on-11 drill, committing too many penalties, missing too many blocks and botching too many assignments. So instead of kicking field goals, the Redskins ran 20 more offensive plays.
"You might say Jack was a little bit upset," one player said. "I'm glad he did it. This is no time to mess up, not two days before the opener."
Pardee insisted later he was not angry. "The first time around we didn't do anything right," he said, so we just did it again. I'd rather iron out things today instead of Tuesday. We have certain things to accomplish on the field, and we didn't get it done today.
"I don't know if it sets any pattern. But part of coaching is that you can't allow the team to have a bad workout. If you don't correct it, you play that way. The second time around, it went a lot better."
"The first time there were enough broken assignments, missed (snap) counts and penalties that if we'd have been running against the (blocking) bags, we wouldn't have been able to score."
The Redskins are going to be running into a New England Patriot defense that allowed only 31 points during the preseason, and clearly the pressure was on at Redskin Park to stoke up a Redskin offense that has been sputtering all summer.
"We've got to get that intensity, the tempo picked up a little here," Pardee said. "We just don't seem to go hard enough in practice.
"There are a lot of advantages to having a nine-day week, but one of the disadvantages is also boredom. We've been working on this stuff all week, we had it all before, so the concentration wasn't as good as it was the first time we put it in.
"But we're not in any kind of mid-season form right now. We need the repetition. We've got some new people in there. We're still moving players around.
"Sure I'm concerned about it (the offense). I'd feel a lot more comfortable if we had a set unit, if we'd played three or four games and gotten our momentum going the way New England's got it going.
"But we're not at that stage. We haven't overpowered anyone yet. Until we're going to have to not make the kind of mental mistakes we had out there today."
Quarterback Joe Theismann, who is expected to start tomorrow against the Patriots, agreed that Pardee had done the proper thing by asking the offense to do it all over again.
"A couple of plays sound alike and we confused them a little," he said. "We ran 20 plays and we messed up two or three of them. It was enough to throw the continuity of the drill off.
"We're not going to have another chance to correct those mistakes, so they decided to do it over. We've had stuff like that happen here before, but you guys (reporters) haven't been around to see it (because of closed practices).
"But I'm not concerned about it. We'll get the problems worked out. It's the first game. Friday, Saturday, Sunday the pressure starts to build. The game plan is in, the guys' minds are really going overtime. You worry about audible calls, so these things happen."
Pardee said tight end Jean Fugett, who has a bruised knee, would be available for spot duty, and may not play at all . . . Fugett was downgraded on the Redskins' injury report from probable to questionable . . . The Partriots list running backs Sam Cunningham (bruised knee) and Andy Johnson (bruised thigh) as probable while tight end Russ Francis (sprained ankle) went from portable to questionable . . . Pardee said he expects all three to start against the Redskins.