Washington Redskin Coach Jack Pardee yesterday blamed the team's current slump, which has seen it drop five of the last seven games, on a lack of "new leaders."
Because of injuries, trades and retirement, 11 of the 22 starters in last season's final game are no longer on the club.
"The biggest problem is getting anyone to emerge as a new leader," said Pardee. "The losses (due to injuries) of Diron Talbert and George Starke took two of our captains out of action.
Good teams in similar circumstances will emerge with new leaders through good performances."
pardee said he had seen potential leaders performing well recently, but declined to name them.
"I can't proclaim anyone as a leader," said Pardee. "But I'm starting to see some leadership, a lot of people are starting to see it. But so far it hasn't completely happened.
"Early in the season, everybody was leading by playing well. We were making big plays, spectacular catches and could do little wrong."
Pardee said the return of veteran cornerback Lemar Parrish could help solidify the club. Parrish broke his right arm five weeks ago, practiced some this week and, according to Pardee, has "a good chance" of playing Sunday against Miami at RFK stadium.
Asked about possible lineup changes, Pardee responded that all positions had been pretty much established after 13 games.
The coach, contacted while watching the New York Jets defeat the Dolphins, explained what Washington would have to do to beat Miami.
"The Jets impressed me by mounting a long, 16-play drive at one point," he said. "They made no mistakes and controlled the ball, which is something you want to do against everybody. But sometimes you can't."
Pardee reiterated his explanation for the recent accounts of alleged internal bickering and lackadaisical attitudes among Redskin players.
"Our failure to win recently has brought these feelings to the surface," said Pardee. "We had the same things going on during the first six weeks of the season, but they never came out because we were winning. When you are winning, everybody is happy."
Pardee was reacting to recently published remarks by injured veteran defensive tackle Talbert. Talbert had cited a "don't-give-a-damn" attitude among teammates as largely responsible for the Redskins' woes.
"Very few players fit in that category (bad attitude)," said Pardee. "That is not a factor.
"Anytime you're losing, it affects your confidence. Feeling confident is a fleeting type of thing. You can get it back quickly, you can lose it just as quickly.
"Dallas was in the same boat a few weeks back when it lost two straight games. People were already counting them out of the playoffs.Now that they've come back, they're on top of the world."
Talbert had also cited instances of players arriving late for meetings and practices as evidence that some had given up seriously trying to pull the team out of its slump.
Pardee was asked if he overlooked such tardiness more so than his predessor and former coach, George Allen, who did not fine players for being late.
"They get fine slips and pay without any difficulty," Pardee said. "But that's not a thing that I dwell on."