Less than 24 hours after winning his first game at the Redskin coach, Joe Gibbs had some more good news yesterday. Linebacker Brad Dusek, who has been sidelined since April because of back surgery, has been given permission to start practicing.
Dusek will be held out of contact, but he will begin limited work in pass-coverage drills, probably as soon as today, when the Redskins resume training camp at Carlisle, Pa.
This is the latest step in what has been a remarkable recovery by Dusek. At one point, it seemed unlikely he would be able to play at all this season. But now, it is possible he could be ready, as he vowed shortly before camp began, to be in uniform for the season opener Sept. 6 against Dallas at RFK Stadium.
Of course, he still has to be exposed to contact. But first, he has to demonstrate to the Redskins and to their medical staff that his back can hold up under the stress of organized practice. Until now, Dusek has been going through rehabilitation drills, trying to regain the strength in his legs and back. The only problem he has encountered has been soreness in one calf and leg, which sometimes wobbles out to the side when he runs.
If Dusek can return, he will add depth to the linebacking corps, which was bolstered by outstanding performances Friday night from middle linebacker Neal Olkewicz and outside linebackers Monte Coleman and Rich Milot. Both Milot and Coleman had interceptions, with Coleman returning his for the game-winning touchdown against Kansas City.
In a game marked by a hint of Gibbs' aggressive offensive thinking, the members of the Redskin defense emerged as the real stars. Even though Coordinator Rickie Petitbon had been unhappy with his unit's development, Washington was able to keep Kansas City under control all night.
But the defense was not the only encouraging development that Gibbs saw in the 16-10 victory. He also said:
Quarterback Joe Theismann, the key to the development of the new Reskin offense, "looked very smooth, very polished to me. He had good reads. His performance was very good; he was in command. I had been curious to see him perform, but I feel I'm learning more about him all the time." Theismann, playing only the first half, completed 12 of 18 passes for 125 yards.
Halfback Terry Metcalf, who played for Gibbs in St. Louis, "looks as good as I've ever seen him look. I guess he should have lost something because he's older, but I think he is as quick as he was when he was with the Cardinals. And, as I said before, he's in as good a condition as any athlete I've ever seen." Metcalf had only three carries, but picked up 22 yards, including a 14-yarder that he almost broke for a much-longer gain.
The reworked offensive line "did a good job, considering we are still working things out, and they blitzed a lot. I'm very satisfied with the right side (George Starke and Melvin Jones); we're set there. We still have to work things out on the left side. I'm anxious to see Russ Grimm (who did not play because of a groin pull) but Jerry Scanlan did very well at guard considering he just moved there earlier in the week. And Joe Jacoby keeps doing well at tackle. Considering Mark May was going against a tough one (Mike Bell), he held up well. It was a good teaching experience for him."
Center Jeff Bostic, who was a target for replacement prior to camp since Gibbs wanted to do away with a kick-snapping specialist, "keeps amazing me with the way he is playing. He darn well could be our starting center on opening day. Everything he has done so far has been good. He keeps playing well."
Kicker Mark Moseley, who had been bothered by leg tightness since early in camp, "looked awful strong to me. It was encouraging to see him kick that well." Moseley was perfect on three field goals in the game.
However, the Redskins also had some problems, especially with turnovers that killed scoring drives. They also are still waiting for newcomers Wilbur Young and Fred Cook to improve.
And Gibbs had to discipline veteran Coy Bacon, who missed a Friday-morning meeting three days after oversleeping and missing the start of a midweek workout. Bacon did not play against the Chiefs.
"We are going to fine him, too," Gibbs said. "He's got to show more responsibility. He's got to be more reliable. We had a long talk and I told him he has to be more organized. I don't think he is doing this maliciously, and I don't think he is trying to test me. I feel I can depend upon him as a football player, but I have to depend upon him off the field, too."
The Redskins came out of the game without any serious injuries.
Gibbs announced that, starting today, all training-camp practice would be closed to the public.