Coach Joe Gibbs doesn't think the Redskins are playing very intelligently, and plans to tell them so in a stern lecture this week.
"We just didn't play very smart at times against the Colts and it really bothers me," Gibbs said yesterday of Saturday's controlled scrimmage.
"I've been talking about playing aggressive-but-smart football from the day I got this job, but I guess it hasn't sunk in," he said. "We made some critical mistakes. I don't want to call them dumb, but that's what they were. They can cost you games. I've seen it happen time and time again. We are going to correct them."
Gibbs was noticeably upset after the scrimmage but had brightened up yesterday after viewing films of the afternoon's events.
"Things always seem worse than they really are," he said. "I saw more good things in the films than I did on the field live. Yet the things that still stick out in my mind are the mistakes. That takes the edge off the rest."
Gibbs was concerned particularly with offside penalties on short-yardage plays, anoffside that nullified an interception and the Colts' repeated success with draws and screens.
"You figure they might beat you on the same play a couple of times, but then you will say, "That's it,' and shut them down. That didn't happen on Saturday. They kept running the same stuff and making it work. We have to have more in us than that. We have to stop if from happening.
"We weren't concentrating enough, we weren't paying attention enough. But we're going to talk a lot this week about how we played. They are going to know I'm not happy about it."
The Redskins also fell short in two other areas that have a familiar ring to them: rushing offense and defense against the run. Both were troublesome the last three years.
"We didn't move the ball on the ground well at all and we had trouble stopping them," Gibbs said. "Dave Butz played well, but otherwise our defensive line can improve. So can our offensive blocking."
The Redskins are at the halfway point of training camp, five days away from their first exhibition game (Friday in RFK Stadium against Kansas City) and 36 days from their season opener against Dallas. Gibbs said he was "middle of the road" about his team's progress.
"I'm not excited or disappointed," he said. "We're making progress, moving along, but there are still things you wish you could have covered. I'm very anxious to see us in a game, that's why I'm looking forward to Friday. We need to perform under game conditions."
Gibbs has a number of roster decisions to make in the coming weeks and he stillis a long way from knowing how many of the close duels will be decided. He remains disappointed with the tight ends, of whom only Don Warren draws his praise.
Warren's performance, however, was expected. Some other Redskins have emerged as surprises so far:
Center Jeff Bostic, whom Gibbs said "is a real, real shock to me. I had been told he was strictly a specialist (kick snapper) and we immediately said we'd like to find a way not to carry a guy who does only that one thing. But he can play." With Bostic's emergence as a potential backup center, Russ Grimm has been able to swing to starting left guard ahead of Ron Saul. And veteran Bob Kuziel remains buried on the depth chart.
Guard Melvin Jones, whom Gibbs said "could be one of the better athletes I've ever coached. In game conditions,he just unloads on people. He and George Starke are playing so well together on the right side of our offensive line that I feel very comfortable about it."
No. 1 draft choice Mark May, a bust as a left tackle in minicamp but forced into that position because of an injury to Jerry Scanlan, has come on. "Mark and Grimm on the left side could be interesting, the way they are playing together," Gibbs said of the two Pittsburgh products. Gibbs also had praise for another rookie, guard Darryl Grant.
Fullback Otis Wonsley, a ninth-round pick by the Giants last year from Alcorn State who looks like the best bet to catch on if Gibbs keeps a sixth running back. "He weighs 216 pounds, he runs a 4.65 40 and he's never lackadaisical out there," Gibbs said. "I like him; he keeps doing good things."
Gibbs said two little-publicized defensive backs, safety James Stewart (a former Packer selection) and cornerback LeCharls McDaniel (a rookie from Cal Poly), had good scrimmages. "And those two little receivers (Charlie Brown and Virgil Seay), you've got to keep noticing them," he said.
At this stage, development of younger players has endangered the Redskin careers of veterans Kuziel, Saul, receivers John McDaniel, Zion McKinney and Ken Harrison, and running backs Bobby Hammond, Rickey Claitt and Ike Forte. Linebacker Dallas Hickman is facing a stern test, too, but could survive on the strength of his special teams' play in the preseason games.
"We're going to start gearing up more for game preparation, even though we'll continue to have two practices a day," Gibbs said. "We have to concentrate a lot on special teams, because they are going to be so crucial from now on. And we have a lot of small things to go over, stuff that has to do with getting ready for games.
"It will mean less emphasis on individual work, although we'll still do a lot of that. Anyone who is behind now is going to have a hard time catching up at this point."
Receiver Ricky Thompson sprained an ankle in the scrimmage, but Gibbs said it wasn't serious . . . Claitt is out for an undetermined time because of hemorrhoid surgery.