The Washington Redskins will go into their final preseason game tonight against the Cleveland Browns at RFK Stadium with their receivers still a major problem.
A crowd of between 40,000 and 45,000 is expected for the 7:30 game.
A tape of the game will be shown Saturday at 8 p.m. on WJLA-TV-7. The game can be heard live tonight on Radio-630.
Coach Jack Pardee and his staff have never been really satisfied with their receivers, last year or this. They have shuffled wide receivers in and out, and yesterday made still another move by releasing Willie McGee and trading an undisclosed 1980 draft choice to the Cincinnati Bengals for wide receiverkick returner Dennis Law.
"There may still be some more things happening in that position," Joe Walton, the offensive coordinator, said, "We're still looking."
"Danny Buggs and Ricky Thompson are in good shape, but after that we'll just have to see. The receivers worried us some last year and it's still a concern. If we don't have what we want and what we feel comfortable with, then we'll keep looking until we find it."
The 6-foot, 175-pound Law could be the answer.
In addition to being a receiver, he returned 25 punts for 106 yards and seven kickoffs for 137 yards last season. He caught five passes for 81 yards while playing in all 16 Bengal games.
The trade is conditional, meaning the Redskins do not have to give up anything if the 24-year-old Law doesn't make the team.
If Law does not work out, his stay could be short. The Redskins are bringing into camp anyone who has the slightest chance of making the team, then dumping them if they don't work out.
Thompson is the leading preseason receiver with eight catches and has become the wide receiver Joe Theismann looks to for the tough catches over middle.
Buggs is the long-ball threat, but loses effectiveness when he has to run short patterns over the middle.
Other than Law, Buggs and Thompson, the only wide receiver on the roster is rookie Kris Haines. He is a good blocker and can catch the football, but he is not a game breaker.
Dropped passes seem to be the Redskins' problem. John McDaniel, a starter last year, dropped a fairly easy pass over the middle against the Atlanta Falcons last week and was cut Tuesday.
McGee, a world class sprinter a few years ago, dropped more passes in practice than Pardee found even remotely forgivable.
McGee sealed his fate in Wednesday's practice when he dropped three straight passes. The third one bounced off his chest and into defender Donnie Harris' hands.
After yesterday's Welcome Home Luncheon at Sheraton Park Hotel, the Redskins went through a light workout at RFK Stadium, and for the second day in a row kicker Mark Moseley retired early. He is nursing a sore leg. If Pardee decides to rest him tonight, punter Mike Bragg will do the placekicking.
The Browns are one of the better running teams in the league with Greg Pruitt, Mike Pruitt, Calvin Hill and Cleo Miller.
"The Browns are showing a lot of sets," Pardee said. "They are shifting all over the place and running a little bit of everything. They are showing it all. But it's getting close to the opening game, so I think they might settle down a bit and be a little more basic Friday night.
"We've stayed pretty basic the whole preseason," Pardee added. "Our goal has been to run the football and mix in play action. Just last week was the first time we even tried to really throw long. This is the game we have to use to tune things up."
Both teams are expected to play regulars most of the game.
The Browns are 1-2 in the preseason. They beat Baltimore, but lost to Detroit and the New York Giants. Their offense has averaged 350 yards . . . Guard Dan Nugent, who started working out this week after a back injury, could see limited action tonight, Perry Brooks, who returned this week after bicep surgery, is not expected to play . . . Hill, who caught three passes for 45 yards in a Cleveland touchdown drive last week, has a slight ankle sprain, but said he will play.