The Redskins finally trimmed their squad to 45 yesterday, keeping 12 players who have no NFL experience and 22 new players in all, one of the most dramatic one-year roster turnovers in recent NFL history. They also wound up unexpectedly thin at wide receiver, one of the most crucial positions in Coach Joe Gibbs' high-powered offense.
The only unanticipated move was placing rookie Larry Kubin on the in-season injury list, along with, as expected, linebacker Brad Dusek (dislocated shoulder) and rookie receiver Charlie Brown (sore knee).
To replace Kubin at reserve middle linebacker, the Redskins re-signed Dave Graf, whom they cut in camp.
Center Dan Peiffer (bad knees) was moved to preseason injured reserve, and defensive tackle Pat Ogrin, wide receiver John Floyd and guard Lee Spivey were waived.
With Peiffer gone, the Redskin offense line became even younger. Its eight members include four rookies, and another, Melvin Jones, has not played an NFL game. Jeff Bostic has only snapped for kicks, and guard Jerry Scanlan has played very little. George Starke, in his ninth year, is the only true veteran, making the line by far the least experienced in the league.
"I know we have a lot of rookies (eight) and a lot of new players (49 percent roster turnover) but we dedicated ourselves to selecting the best 45 people, and I think we've done that," Gibbs said.
"Otherwise, I couldn't sleep at night. If this wasn't my first year, we wouldn't have had such a turnover. Now maybe things will settle down and we can concentrate on Dallas (Sunday at RFK Stadium). I am concerned about the distractions . . . "
Kubin, Dusek or Brown can be reactivated after four weeks without waivers. But the Redskins would have only three moves from the in-season injury list allotted to them.
"Larry is close to being full speed but we didn't think it was fair to him to expect him to step in and do the job against Dallas if Neal (Olkewicz) got hurt in the first quarter," Gibbs said about Kubin, the No. 6 choice.
"This way, Larry can continue to work and learn, and there won't be as much pressure on him," Gibbs said. Graf, a six-year outside linebacker with Cleveland, had a decent camp while moving inside.
Kubin, still bothered by a college knee injury, was asked to learn a new position after playing defensive end and outside linebacker at Penn State. This slowed his progress.
The departure of Floyd, who was claimed by St. Louis, came a week after the young receiver was obtained conditionally from San Diego. Gibbs kept only three wide receivers, with 5-foot-7 Virgil Seay, a free agent from Troy State who was Denver's 10th-round pick last year, as his backup end.
Gibbs admitted that having only three receivers in an offense that relies heavily on passing is, as he put it, "a bit thin."
But he said that ". . . We kept three tight ends, and one of those, Rick Walker, can go outside. And if we have to, I think we could do something with one of our running backs.
"Both Terry (Metcalf) and Joe (Washington) are versatile enough to move outside. They are always there if we need them."
Gibbs said Seay's size "is really relative. I think he is good; we just like him a lot. He is a tough little guy with excellent speed, the ability to get deep, and he's a good special teams players, a good return man."
Floyd did not impress the coaches enough to beat out Seay. Brown was the No. 3 receiver until hurting his knee, which led to a major problem that remains unsettled.
Gibbs chose to go with six running backs, keeping free agent Otis Wonsley and cutting an extra lineman, Spivey, who came from Detroit in a conditional trade during camp.
Wonsley, cut last season after being picked by the Giants in the ninth round, is a favorite of Gibbs. "He is a great person and a great special teams player, and I think if we needed him as a running back, he'd respond," Gibbs said.
Of the rookies (the Redskins' largest group in years), five -- Mark May, Russ Grimm, Tom Flick, Dexter Manley and Darryl Grant -- were draft choices. Tackle Joe Jacoby, cornerback LeCharls McDaniel and linebacker Mel Kaufman are free agents. Jones, Wonsley, end Mat Mendenhall and Seay have not played in an NFL game despite going through two training camps.
Other notable facts about this Redskin team, the youngest and least experienced Washington team in more than a decade:
Half the players have less than three years NFL experience, compared to 40 percent in 1980.
There were 15 players last season who were at least 30 years old, and four were 35 or older. This year, 11 are 30 or older, and only Coy Bacon (38) is over 35. Last year, 24 were at least age 27, compared to 18 this season.
There will be 10 new starters Sunday (eight on offense). There were two last season. Five starters who were 30 or older (Ken Houston, Pete Wysocki, Bob Kuziel, Terry Hermeling and Ron Saul) are gone. Their replacements average 23 years of age. Other veterans missing will be Dallas Hickman, Paul Smith, Ike Forte and Jeff Williams.
"I'm just glad this is over," Gibbs said.
Nine of the 12 players Washington drafted in April, remain. Quarterback Phil Kessell and tight end Clint Didier are on preseason injured reserve . . . Bacon seemed headed for waivers prior to camp, but will enter his 14th season still the team's best pass rusher . . . The Redskins might re-sign Spivey, a victim of numbers, after the season . . . The team probably will continue to seek players, especially wide receivers and defensive backs.