The outstanding play of defensive tackle Perry Brooks against the Baltimore Colts Saturday night complicates an already-muddled situation along the defensive line and makes the Redskins' mandatory cutdown to 50 players by Tuesday even more confusing.
"Perry and Dave Butz were the two guys who really played well along the line," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "Everyone played hard, but those two stood out."
Richie Petitbon, the defensive coordinator, had told Brooks that he had to improve against the run. Petitbon said last week that none of his right tackles had been impressive against the run, and that he needed to select his starter quickly.
"Perry is a great guy," Gibbs said, "but I guess he needed to have his fire started. He really went after people and that's the way he has to play. Now if he'll just do that every week."
To solve the right tackle problem, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Redskins shift defensive end Karl Lorch to that position, although Brooks' play against the Colts might have eased the situation.
The Redskins, who will resume preseason training today at Redskin Park, seem almost certain to cut some defensive linemen by Tuesday. They are carrying nine and will keep no more than seven. Petitbon said he was particularly interested in watching Brooks, Wilbur Young, Mat Mendenhall and Fred Cook against the Colts.
By playing well, Brooks may have helped his staying power. Young, who hurt his shouder in the game, has been an effective pass rusher at times in preseason. Petitbon has not been that pleased with Cook, who received a long look in the Baltimore game, nor has defensive tackle Pat Ogrin progessed as well as the coaches had hoped. This was Mendenhall's first extensive work since early in training camp, when he hurt his knee.
Gibbs eventually will have to make decisions, possibly by Tuesday, about wide receiver Ken Harrison, who has been running behind Virgil Seay and Charlie Brown; fullback Rickey Claitt, the surprise of last year's camp who has been nudged back by newcomer Otis Wonsley; and guard Ron Saul, who could be headed for the injured reserve list because initial reports indicated his bad knee would not permit him to play in the Dallas game.