When they need additional players to fill a void at a specific position, the Washington Redskins don't scout the Yellow Pages or call Temporaries, Inc. Instead they open the door to Room 126.
That's where, at training camp, the club's bulging files on practically every present, former or aspiring pro player still able to lace up his shoes are kept.
The names on those daily NFL waiver lists that appear in newspapers may not mean much to the average fan. But it's a good bet the Redskins not only are familiar with every one of those players, but have a file describing his ability. If he has been around long enough, there could be a whole packet of information about him.
"When you are in a position like we are, where we didn't have that many draft choices and we are trying to fill some holes," said player personnel chief Mike Allman, "you have to be on top of every move in this league.
"It may seem simple to find a player off the waiver list, but there is really a lot of work involved."
That's why the Redskins employ, in addition to Allman, a head of college scouting (Dick Daniels), a head of pro scouting (Kirk Mee), two full-time scouts (Charley Taylor and Charles Casserly) and personnel assistant Tom Sullivan. General Manager Bobby Beathard, considered one of the top personnel men in the league, still is deeply involved in this aspect of the business.
Each night, the personnel department gathers in Room 126 and combs the waiver list, seeing who has been cut and deciding, for $100, if that player is worth bringing into camp.
"Sometimes we bring someone in just because we rate him highly and we think he has a shot here," said Allman. "Other times, like last week when injuries killed our offensive line, we had to have players quickly. We had no other choice."
That's when the club's extensive scouting pays off. The Redskins checked their list of free agent offensive linemen, and came up with former Giant Bill Bain and former Saint Gary Anderson. Each had been scouted in college and followed by the team during his brief pro career.
If you like lists, you would love Room 126. Allman has lists to match every need: college prospects, pro prospects, free agent prospects, reject prospects.
Not only are potential draft choices scouted while in college, but present pro players are examined constantly. Allman has one book that contains the depth chart of every team in the NFL, which is updated each time a cut or trade is made.
"Let's say we are in the market for wide receivers, like we were last year about this time," said Allman. "We'd look at teams that had an excess of wide receivers and we'd scout that team extensively during the preseason.
"We'd call them and get a feel of who probably would make the team at that position and who might be cut eventually. If we think we want a certain player and we don't think he'll still be available for us once he is waived, then we might arrange a trade. Or we could try to wait out the waivers."
Each week during preseason, the scouting department covers the nation, attending several exhibition games. This weekend, for example, the club will have representatives at eight games getting a look at 16 of the league's teams.
"We'll all reassemble here," said Allman, "on Monday night and go over what we saw. We have standard forms that we fill out on the players we look at.
"If we are interested in a certain player, we have a logbook and I enter his name, as long as we think he will be available eventually through a trade or waiver and if he can improve us. That becomes our bible as we watch these exhibition games.
"If we wind up with seven or eight wide receivers in that book, then we have to sit down and rate them in order of priority."
"We have to know how our players compare to the ones we are scouting," said Allman. "We talk to our coaches to find out what they think and to see what they think we need.
"But once you make a decision on someone, you have to live with it. The only personnel man in the league who says he never made a mistake is (Pittsburgh's) Art Rooney Jr.And his father owns the team."
This intense waiver list process has paid off for the Redskins over the last year. They firmed up the wide receiver position, for example, by picking Terry Anderson off waivers and by trading for John McDaniel and Ricky Thompson just before they were going to be waived. Guard Fred Dean and back Ike Forte also were obtained from the free agent list.
This season, such free agents as middle linebacker Dan Petersen and tackle Greg Dubinetz, both of whom were cut by pro teams last season, are challenging for positions, as are middle linebacker Neal Olkewicz, tight end Phil DuBois and cornerback Ray Waddy, all of whom were not drafted in May and subsequently were signed by the Redskins.
The whole scouting process starts when players are in college. The Redskins divide the country into five parts and, at this point, have schools in each area divided by potential prospects: green for the ones with top draft choices, red for prospects who have an excellent chance to make a pro team and purple for prospects good enough to draft but with certain question marks.
By draft time next year, the Redskins' scouting department will have checked and double-checked each prospect. Allman and Beathard both will have seen in person every athlete in the green group and most in the red.
"After the draft, we take all the information on every player we've scouted to camp," said Allman. "They go into our files along with the pro information. There are thousands of names in those files."
And with the first league dictated cutdown day coming Tuesday, when squads must be reduced to 60, the Redskins will be putting that stored-up information to use.
The Redskins sent a telegram to Benny Malone today telling him he was being fined and explaining their options according to league rules. General Manager Bogby Beathard said he had not heard from Malone and did not expect to. Malone walked out of camp Wednesday over a contract dispute...The team cut to 69 players by dropping running back Mike Jones and defensive backs trick Odom, tricky Dunaway and Ronnie Cullins. Tight end Reggie Haynes, recovering from a knee injury in an off season basketball game, has been placed on the injured reserve list and cannot be activated until at least October.