Redskin Coach Jack Pardee, desperately trying to keep his team in playoff contention, indicated yesterday he may make several lineup changes, one of which could be right linebacker Chris Hanburger giving way to Peter Wysocki.
The 37-year-old Hanburger, once an all-pro, has been playing hurt most of the season. He does not have any interceptions this year and has not made his usual number of tackles or big plays. Pardee said a leg injury to Hanburger would be the reason for the switch - if he made one at all, for Sunday's game here against Miami.
Also, guard Ron Saul has a foot injury and Pardee said there is a chance he might not start against the Dolphins.
To replace Saul, Pardee suggested, he might move Jim Harlan to guard from tackle and put Jeff Williams at tackle.
"Their physical condition more than anything else will determine if we make a change," Pardee said. "Right now I just don't know how they will be."
Pardee said he also was considering alternating Mike Thomas and Benny Malone at running back and that cornerback Lemar Parrish, out the last six weeks with a broken arm, probably would be back in the starting lineup against the Dolphins.
All of this comes with the Redskins mired in a slump that has left them disagreeing among themselves and in serious danger of not making it to the playoffs. The lineup changes, if he does make them seem to be Pardee's only way of shaking up the team.
"As a team we haven't played real great and there's room for improvement in several spots," Pardee said, declining to be specific. "But our alternatives aren't all that much greater either.
"There's not a mass shakeup coming. We just want to make sure we have the team that has, physically and mentally, the best chance to win Sunday.
"I am considering some personnel changes, but I just haven't come up with anything yet," Pardee added. "Like I said, we're looking and there possibly might be some changes. We've got to figure out how to beat Miami.
"We'll get altogether today," Pardee said," And I'll let everyone know my feelings and what we have to accomplish. We have these meetings every week, but maybe I'll say something a little differently.
"The biggest thing we have to do is get together as a team, pull together as a team. I've heard too many "they's instead of 'us's around here. We're all Redskins. The people who are here have to pull together.
"We don't have to talk about next year. The playoffs are within reach this year if we play together and play hard."
The only change Pardee seemed ready to commit himself on definitely was the move to Parrish, who will replace Gerard Williams. Williams has had four interceptions.
Parrish would have to play with a cast on his right forearm, but Pardee said he is ready to try to play. Williams then would become the fifth back in the Redskins' five defensive black alignment.
Pardee added that Thomas, though he hasn't gained many yards, "Has played well the last couple of weeks and he might do even better if he can get some rest, so I hope to be able to alternate him and Benny at the half-back spot."
Malone came to the Redskins with a sprained ankle and, when he was about ready to play, hurt his knee.
In addition to Hanburger and Saul, four other Redskins are banged up and listed as probable for the Miami game: Ted Fritsch, cracked ribs; Joe Theismann, a bruised chest, compliments of Too Tall Jones, and Dave Butz and Ricky Thompson, bruised shoulders.
Except for injury-related moves, Pardee has pretty much refrained from making changes in his starting lineup since the opening game. He replaced Ron McDole with Karl Lorch at one defensive end and went with Billy Kilmer over Theismann for a game and a half, and he traded away Frank Grant, elevating John McDaniel to a starting spot.
Pardee, who gave his players four days off, will gather them today for the first time since the 37-10 defeat by Dallas Thanksgiving Day.
"Until last Thursday we were a first-place team having problems. Now we're scuffling to get into the playoffs," he said.
Pardee added that he would hold a light workout today and that "we will use this more like a back-to-training-camp week and take care of the little things." The little things he was referring to are penalties, sacks, and turnovers, Pardee said.
The Dolphins are in a position similar to that of the Redskins. At 8-5, they need a victory Sunday to improve their chances of a wild-card spot. They also are struggling having lost their last two games.