Jack Pardee did not sound like a man with an itch to switch quarterbacks yesterday after Sunday's 17-6 loss to New York, even if Joe Theismann has had back-to-back blunderfilled performances and a healthy, well-rested and eager Billy Kilmer is aching to play.
"The way I look at it, (the situation) hasn't changed since the start of the year," he said. "I consider them both No. 1 quarterbacks. Of course, Joe has done nearly all of the playing."
While Pardee said he hadn't "made any decision or even given it (his quarterback situation) much thought yet," he did decide not to place injured cornerback Lemar Parrish on the injured reserve list, hoping he will be ready by playoff time. But for this week, the quarterback situation is still under consideration, pardee said.
"We'll look at ourselves very closely, what it's going to take for us to have a little more success. We'll take a good look at the (San Francisco) 49ers to see what their strengths and our match ups are at any position, quarterback or any of the others and do whatever it takes this week to get a win.
"We're not in any panic situation at midseason. We've got a good enough record. But there's no use thinking about the Super Bowl right now, we've got to be thinking about the 49ers and how to figure out how to win one game.
The way the Redskin offense has performed the last three weeks, the coaching staff will be working overtime to think about new ways to get the football in the end zone. After scoring 10 touchdowns in the first four games of the season, the offense has produced only three ever since.
And since the Dallas victory four weeks ago. Theismann has completed only 40 percent of his passes, thrown for only two touchdowns and had seven passes intercepted.
But Pardee refused yesterday to blame all the Redskins problems on his quarterback. "If the only problem was missed passes, if it wasn't dropped passes or missed blooks or a breakdown in protection, if we weren't getting all that, then you'd say maybe we better change quarterbacks," he said.
"Joe made some good throws yesterday and he had some drops, too . . . he's done a good job. We've moved the ball pretty well, we just haven't got it across the goal line."
Pardee also said not having Mike Thomas available has hurt the offense, particularly in the passing game. Thomas, who had 13 catches in the Redskins' first six games, has missed the last two with a sore right foot.
Perdee said he did not know if Thomas could play this week. "I hope so," he said, "but I can't tell."
With Thomas out, Pardee said, teams were showing more double coverage on the wide receivers, "so you've got to get the ball to your tight end and backs. Tony Green (Thomas' occasional replacement) is just getting onto it now, but he's still going through a learning and growth process.
Pardee said he considered the possibility of changing quarterbacks during the Giant game.
"I thought during the game, 'How can we get this turned around? What can give us a spark . . . But I didn't think making the change during the game would be the answer to anything either. I just didn't think it would be fair to Bill or help us pull the victory out under those conditions."
The conditions will change again this week against a 49er team that has won only one of its eight games. But San Francisco's main strength on defense is a pass rush that recorded five quarterback sacks last week in losing to Atlanta, still another reason to start the more mobile Theismann again.
The fact that Theismann enjoyed one of his most productive gaimes as a professional against the 49ers - three touchdown tosses and 302 yards passing in 1976 - also is in his favor.
Pardee, meanwhile, had other major concerns yesterday. The loss of parish, his All-Pro cornerback, was particularly troubling.
Parrish, who suffered a broken bone in his right forearm Sunday against the Giants, is expected to be out at least eight weeks, the duration of the regular season. If Pardee placed him on injured reserve, he would not be able to play if the Redskins make the playoffs.
By keeping Parrish on the active roster, the Redskins in essence are playing a man short for the season. Pardee said he will not bring in an extra cornerback to play behind Parish's replacement, Gerard Williams, but that he will give linebacker Pete Wysocki some work at safety to increase depth in the secondary.
"We're going to hold off as long as possible making any roster change," Pardee said. "If we can avoid further injury, I'd certainly like to keep that spot available and hope that Lemar can be back before the season's over.
"I hate to play with 44 players or 43, but he's so valuable to our defense, I'd like to go to the last inch to keep his spot open. (Being out eight weeks) is probably a pretty good prediction.
"What I hope the case is that the doctors usually try to give you the outside brackets. A lot of breaks they say six to eight weeks. But if he has a six-weeker, he could be back for our last two league games and that's still probably going to decide who goes to the playoffs.
"But Gerard can play the position. He played there last year. He's played a lot for us in the nickel defense this year. I have all the confidence in him. I'm also glad we have Donnie Harris (who will be the new nickel man and Willaims' backup at cornerback). He played corner last year, so he's had some experience."
Pardee also insisted there were some positive features from the Giant debacle, particularly John Riggins' continued hard running, some spectacular special teams work and the Redskins' ability to shut down the Giant offense for the entire second half.
"I also feel better this week about Tony Green. He played a lot in the backfield and played very well, it was a good test for him. (Newly acquired wide receiver) Terry Anderson made some good plays on special teams and Benny Malone did a good job on punt and kickoff coverage. I think he's ready to play in the backfield now, too. These guys are going to contribute more and more.
"We're just going through a little struggle right now that we've got to work our way out of. A lot of teams are having problem, too. Who are the good teams right now? It's hard to tell. The balance of the league is too keen, too fine, the personnel too evenly matched for anybody to dominate.