"The officials hadn't been calling the holding penalties, so you take it out on the quarterback," Willie Jones, the Oakland Raider accused by Joe Theismann of overly rough play, said yesterday. "He's their last man. It brings attention to his offensive linemen that they're doing something wrong."
Nevertheless, Jones maintained that he did nothing wrong when he threw Theismann to the ground in the final minutes of Sunday's game, won by the Raiders, 24-21. The Raiders were assessed a 15-yard penalty and Theismann came away with an aching left shoulder. "I remember last year when Kenny Stabler was with us," said the second-year NFLplayer. "The same thing was done to him. Kenny never complained. He was a guy who stood in there and paid the cost. When a guy's a threat to you and you get a chance to put him down, you put him down.
"That's what football is: hard, physical defense. (The opponent is) like a rock and you break it down until there's a little piece left and he won't go any further. . . I have nothing against Joe Theismann. He thinks I did something wrong. I don't."
Monday, 24 hours after the game, a battered Theismann implored NFL owners to deal harshly and quickly with players who use unnecessary roughness and commit flagrant fouls. Theismann said that unless there is a deterrent, roughhousing of quarterbacks will continue, despite new rules designed to protect them.
Of those new rules, Jones said: "It's enough to protect those guys. You give them anything else, it'll be like a pass-and-catch type of a ball game."
In New York, a spokesman in the National Football League office said that Art McNally, NFL supervisor of officials, had asked NFL Films for the play about which Theismann complained and that McNally had not yet reviewed it.
"If there is unsportsmanlike conduct," the spokesman said, "McNally will bring it to the commissioner's attention and he will take the final action." The NFL can impose a suspension and/or fine. The last suspension for rough play occurred in 1977; fines for such offenses are not made public.
Jones said he was infuriated by the holding of Redskin right tackle Gary Anderson, who was starting his first game at that position in place of the injured George Starke, and the refusal of game officials to call the holding.
"At least 75 percent of the time, I was held and the officials never paid any attention to it. I told them," Jones said. "He was pulling my inside are everytime I beat him. At times, I was tackled by the offensive line and they never called it.
"That time (when he threw Theismann to the ground), it was just an emotional thing. Since I'd been held all day, I built up a desire to get to the quarterback. And when I got there, I grasped him with both hands and threw him to the turf."I would never intentionally damage a player to the extent he'd miss part of the season. That's not me. I'm a clean player. . ."
At Redskin Park yesterday, Anderson was told what Jones said and replied, "Is that supposed to be Jones' official excuse for throwing down Joe like that? Anyway, who's he taking it out on? If I held him all afternoon, why is he bouncing Joe, when it's me that's supposed to be holding him?"
Anderson said there was no more holding going on than usual -- the new rules designed to protect quarterbacks allow borderline holding, much to the dismay of defensive linemen -- and that the Raiders' offensive linemen were holding just as much as the Redskins.
And Redskin defensive lineman Perry Brooks had the last word:
"Who's Jones trying to kid? How do you think Oakland got the reputation they have? We could have lost Joe for the year because of that. You don't bounce someone like that because you think you've been held.
"You think Oakland's offensive front wasn't hooking and holding all afternoon? If there was a lot of holding coming on, they were certainly guilty of most of it."