Jack Pardee violated the coach's code yesterday by gazing into the future and predicting that "three playoff teams could very well come right from out division. . . I really think it shapes up that way."
The Redskin coach slipped quickly back to the present because one of those playoff contenders, the Eagles, are next on the Redskin schedule, in Philadelphia on Sunday.
"They've got their backs to the wall," Pardee said. "They're 3-3 with playoff aspirations and I think they're in the running. Our next two games (the Eagles followed by the Giants in N.Y.), we'll be in the same situation. Those teams have to win, and so do we. If we're going to win the division, we've got to beat our divisional opponents."
The Redskins, off to their fastest start in 41 years and riding a nine-game winning streak (over two seasons) that is the longest in the NFL, probably would have to win only five of their remaining 10 games to assure a playoff berth.
This year, for the first time, the NFL has added an extra wild card team to the playoffs in each conference. The two wild card winners will play for the right to advance into the second round of the playoffs against a divisional champion.
But Pardee did not want to talk about the bare playoff minimums yesterday. He wants more.
"Right now, we've got to hold what we've got, and we've also got to shoot for home field advantage, divisional titles, those kinds of things," he said.
"We've got 10 games to go and it's a long haul. But with the advantages we've already got (a two-game lead over Dallas), you sure don't want to shoot lower. We know the Cowboys aren't going to lose any more."
But what about the Redskins, Pardee was asked. Is 16-0 possibl?
"Well, we can't beat 10 opponents this week," Pardee said, slipping back into the coach's clinche manual. "But if we get ready this week, we'll beat the Eagles. It's too hard to play 'em 10 at a time."
The Redskins also may be playing this week with a new face or two. The NFL's trading deadline comes up at 4 p.m. today, and Washington General Manager Bobby Beeathard said yesterday, "There's always a possibility we could do something. You're always looking to improve the team."
With Danny Buggs out for at least two more weeks with a shoulder separation, the Redskins have played the last two games shorthanded at wide receiver. Because Pardee shuttles receivers on every play, there may be a move to add depth.
After the 4 p.m. deadline, no NFL team may make the trade until after the season. Today also is the deadline for resigning any players placed on waivers earlier in the year, but the Redskins are not expected to reclaim any player cut previously.
Pardee expects his team to improve its performance, particularly its tackling from the last time they met the Eagles four weeks ago and barely prevailed, 35-30.
The Redskins nearly botched leads of 18 and 19 points on an Eagle team that gained 313 yards of total offense, scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and was threatening in the final 51 seconds.
The Redskins survived another close call Sunday in Detroit against an aroused Lion team that finally succumbed, 21-19. "We've got to expect