In the first half today, Kim McQuilken's bid to solidify his spot as the No. 2 Redskin quarterback took one step backward.
But, after completing six of seven passes in the second half against a mixture of Baltimore Colt rookies and young veterans, McQuilken thinks the club should have no worries about his ability to replace starter Joe Theismann in emergencies.
"I'm convinced I can do the job," he said, "and I would think they are, too. I was rusty today. It's been a long time since I've played. Once I got things together, I thought I had a good game."
McQuilken drove the Redskins in the fourth quarter to their only touchdown, which the Colts offset with 65 seconds left in the scrimmage to salvage a 10-10 tie.
"I felt I could do anything I wanted in the drive," McQuilken said. "Things just felt good. I wasn't worried after the first half. I know I can play better."
Both McQuilken and Fred Mortensen, the club's third quarterback, have limited pro experience, although McQuilken once tossed 121 passes in a season for Atlanta. One of the major questions surrounding the Redskins is whether either backup could step in an replace Theismann without a resulting major drop in performance.
McQuilken tossed only four passes last season and has been in only three games in his two years with the team. That's not much to show the coaches what he can do, which is one reason such scrimmages as today's important to him.
"This is just the first week and the first scrimmage, so I don't think that much emphasis should be placed on it," McQuilken said. "You've got to keep things in perspective. We all are trying to get our timing down and not make mistakes.
"In the first half (when he was two of six), my reads were right, but I just wasn't throwing well. I had two real bad throws, they were horrible, but I still felt good.
"I went right to (offensive coordinator) Joe Walton at the half and told him I'd be okay. We talked and then he called all the plays we had gone over in the second half. That's when things came together."
What made McQuilken's early-game performance so shaky was the contrasting display of another veteran quarterback Jerry Golsteyn of the Colts.
Golsteny, bidding for a spot on the Baltimore roster, completed his first eight pases and was 10-for-11 at one point, the only incompletion coming on a dropped pass. He was as crisp and accurate as McQuilken was overanxious and inaccurate.
Things changed for McQuilken, however, in the third quarter. He completed his first four passes, then unleashed perhaps the most important Redskin fling of the day.
No. 1 draft choice Art Monk ran a down-maiden pattern, cutting over the middle. Despite double coverage McQuilken was on target, and Monk hauled in a pass for a 15-yard gain and a first down at the Colt 25.
"That was a real key play," Coach Jack Pardee said. "Art got his feet wet and that was the kind we need, the type of play we need out of him."
Another McQuilken completion to halfback Arthur Lane for 10 yards and runs by Lane of six, two and five yards had Washington on the Colt one. Lane dove over the top for a touchdown and a 10-3 lead with 12:05 left.
Earlier, a 29-yard field goal by Ed Delgado, former Georgetown kicker, had given the Redskins a 3-0 lead. A 22-yard field goal by Colt Randy Bielski in the third period tied it.
The Colts evened the scrimmage with a late dirve. Golsteyn, who finished 16 of 24 for 211 yards, moved his team 90 yards in 11 plays, helped by two penalties. The touchdown came on a pass to Brian DeRoo From five yards out. Bielski kicked the conversion.
"They let Golsteyn throw a lot more but we wanted to get our backs some work," McQuilken said. "If I had played more in the second half, I think I could have gotten us some more points.
"I was just glad to get in. I haven't played since the Green Bay game last year. It's like not having driven a car for a long time, then going out and trying to win a race."
Mortensen, who was picked up last year from Denver, never did get untracked. He completed six of 15 passes for 52 yards and had one intercepted.
"I think Kim did a good job," pardee said. "He controlled the ball and he moved the ball well. I was impressed by his work after he got off to a slow start."
Several other Redskins caught Pardee's approving eye.
Among those was free agent line-backer Kevin Turner, a late-roster addition from University of the Pacific, who enjoyed a fine first week in camp.
He continued his first-rate work today with a couple of crushing open-field tackles. "He was really something out there," General Manager Bobby Beathard said.
Monk, who was not thrown to very much, made four catches for 43 yards. He dropped his first attempt after getting cracked by three colts.
Fullback Don Testerman, who is trying to win a reserve spot on the team, ran for 48 yards, all in the first half, on eight caries. He displayed power behind good blocking from the Redskin line.
Lane, a little scatback from Arizona State, led all rushers with 58 yards, including a best of 14 yards. Free agent fullback Ricky Claitt had 27 yards and made three catches for 28 yards.
Pardee was happy to see No. 2 choice Mat Mendenhall, who has been brought along slowly in camp, score a sack from his defensive end position.
Free agent punter Mike Connell boomed a 51-yarder and finished with a 42 -- yard average. But another veteran kicker, Mike Michel, struggled. He averaged only 22 yards on two kicks.
Perhaps the best player on the field wore a Colt uniform. Receiver Ray Butler, a fouth-round pick out of USC, romped through the Redskin secondary for four catches covering 73 yards.
"With both teams getting off long drives, this turned out pretty good," Pardee said. "We've got a lot to look at on the films. And now we can start working with the veterans."