The Redskins cut eight players yesterday, including wide receiver John McDaniel and former University of Maryland running back Louis Carter.
McDaniel, a starter most of last year, hadn't caught a pass in preseason games. Carter also was unproductive this spring.
In trimming their roster to 50, the team also cut holdover wide receiver Terry Anderson, running back Buddy Hardeman, tight end Grady Richardson, tackle Bill Baine, linebacker Willie Banks and fullback Don Testerman.
Testerman, who has a sore shoulder, was placed on injured reserve and could return after the third regular season game if he clears waivers.
McDaniel started the last 11 games after being obtained from Kansas City just before last year's opener. He caught 34 passes, third best on the squad, for 577 yards (17.0 per catch). His total yardage and average were both team highs.
He was not effective toward the end of the season and he had what one team official described as "a very quiet preseason." Besides being blanked in exhibition games, he was dropping passes in practice.
McDaniel and last year's leading receiver, Danny Buggs, had been placed at split end for training camp. It was apparent that only one would survive the final cut. At first, Buggs seemed headed toward waivers, but his forecatch, one-touchdown performance against Atlanta Saturday night gave him the edge.
"We've been trying to upgrade the position," Coach Jack Pardee said. "We felt like he hadn't had the best preseason. And he hadn't felt real good about the camp, either.
"He had a little leg soreness at Carlisle and he wasn't running with the same zip. He didn't finish last season that strongly, but we were hoping he would come on in camp. He didn't lose his skills and if he sets his mind to it, he can play in this league. But we were in a numbers game and we had to move on."
McDaniel, drafted in the eighth round by Cincinnati out of Lincoln (Mo.) University, said being cut "is not a traumatic setback for me. I will just wait around and see what comes up.
"Sometimes you are hot (in camp) and sometimes you aren't. I wasn't having a good preseason but I was put in some tough situations, too. "I'm not bitter, but I'm not ready to retire. If no one picks me up, I'll start thinking about it."
Washington now has four wide receivers: Buggs, Ricky Thompson, rookie Kris Haines ("Our best blocking end," said Pardee) and newcomer Willie McGee, obtained off waivers from Detroit Friday. There is a good possibility of changes, especially if McGee doesn't work out.
"Our wide receiver and tight end numbers probably won't stay this way," said Pardee, who has three tight ends on the roster. "We could go with three and three, five and two or whatever. There may be a roster change or two before the first game."
One possibility would be to use Jean Fugett both as a tight end and wide receiver. Fugett was played outside last week. If the staff decides to split his time, then one wide receiver could be included in the final cutdown Monday, when the Redskins have to reduce to 45 players.
Carter had come to Washington in a May trade with Tampa Bay, where he once was a starter. He was impressive early in training camp and was moved from halfback to fullback, which he thought would help his chances of staying.
But the standout play of Ike Forte in the last two exhibitions and Carter's lack of production in those contests hurt him.
"With Carter's experience, he'll be back in football," Pardee said. "He's a fine player, but we felt the other backs were just performing better."
Pardee indicated the Redskins won't cut any running backs. That means they will go with John Riggins and Clarence Harmon at fullback and Benny Malone, Tony Green and Forte at halfback. Forte is a fine special teams player.
Malone has not broken loose this preseason but Fred O'Connor, the running back coach, said yesterday that "Benny has been just one block away from breaking two or three runs. He is making yards on his own and he's going to have a fine year."
With five more cuts to go, Pardee and his staff probably will look to three areas for most of the trims: the offensive line, the defensive front and the secondary.
There are still 10 offensive linemen in camp and the Redskins carrier only eight last season. The major question is guard Dan Nugent's bad back. If Nugent can return, then two guards will have to waived. Fred Dean, Gary Anderson and current starters Ron Saul and Jeff Williams are the guards now.Williams is a cinch to stay.
If Nugent determines by Monday that he can't handle contact, then he will be placed on injured reserve and probably either Dean or Anderson will be released.
An injury also figures into the maneuvering with the defensive line. Perry Brooks has resumed work at tackle after tearing a bicep muscle in training camp. Again, if he shows he can perform by Monday, then the Redskins must decide whether to keep him on the roster, put him on injured reserve or cut veteran Paul Smith, who has had a steady preseason. Free agent Angelo Wells, former Morgan State star, is still competing for a backup end spot with Coy Beacon. Only one will make the final 45.
The secondary currently has eight members, with possibly only seven to be kept on the final roster. If new arrival Tony Peters, traded to Washington from Cleveland last week, lives up to advance billing, then either rookie Ray Waddy, Clarence Williams or Don Harris could be cut.
Pardee said yesterday that another set area on the team is linebacker. He had said that he would like to keep three middle linebackers. Banks' cut leaves him with only two, Don Hover and rookie Neal Olkewicz. The other backers are Brad Dusek, Pete Wysocki, Dallas Hickman and rookies Monte Coleman and Rich Milot.
"We kept the best seven linebackers," Pardee explained. "We will work Milot and maybe Hickman in the middle now. We need three in the middle because of the 3-4 defense. But I think we will be okay with the people we have."
Lavender, who attended a preliminary hearing Monday in California regarding his upcoming trial for allegedly assaulting two policemen, said yesterday the court date has been moved from Setp. 17 to Oct. 15. "We wanted it after the season but they are not budging," he said . . . Nugent went through his first contact work since coming out of traction and said he was "delighted" with the results . . . Pardee said the club would not make "any emergency moves" between now and the season opener. "We think we can improve from within," he said. The Redskins talked trade with several NFL teams yesterday but were not successful in dealing off any of their about-to-be-cut players.