The Washington Redskins, their offensive line riddled by injuries, yesterday signed free agent Robert Woods, a former New York Jet and New Orleans Saint guard and tackle.
Defensive end Mike Clark, who has a sprained knee, was put on injured reserve to make room for the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Woods, an eight-year veteran.
Washington's only healthy offensive lineman is center Jeff Bostic. "And even Jeff has a nicked knee," said Joe Bugel, the offensive coordinator. "But he's done a great job and has to be among the best centers in the NFC. He's the only guy who has played every game. I've never seen so many injuries on a team . . . "
The Redskins sought help after offensive tackle Mark May broke his nose and Joe Jacoby sprained his neck in Sunday's 24-7 victory at Chicago. Both rookies drilled at Redskin Park yesterday and will probably play Sunday at Miami. If not, Coach Joe Gibbs said Russ Grimm, who was pressed into action Sunday on a bad knee, will play tackle. Should Grimm not be able to play, Woods will get his chance.
"From what I've seen, I know the linemen here are pretty beat up," Woods said. "I'm in pretty good shape but I have to get my timing down and learn the new system. I'll study the films, do my homework and, if they need me, I'm sure I'll be ready Sunday."
Woods started 15 games for the Saints in 1980. He was with the Jets when Dan Henning, now an aide with the Redskins, was there and is known as a student of the game.
"Robert put in eight good years and has that good football knowledge," Bugel said. "He picked up our system in three or four hours and also did a good job on the field for his first time. He'll be on a cram course this week but he should be ready to play either tackle spot Sunday."
Woods, the Jets' No. 2 draft choice out of Tennessee State in 1973, played for the Saints last year after offseason surgery to remove calcium deposits from his leg.
"Cut four days after attending a minicamp," Woods said, "I never did find out why I was released. The coach (Bum Phillips) never told me.
"I felt I could still play, but no one picked me up until the Redskins called. I was sitting home in Alabama, helping out at one of the high schools. I'm 31 but I can still be a good asset for Washington the rest of the year. I wish I could've started the year here."
"If both (Jacoby and May) can go the full game, Woods won't have to play," Gibbs said. "It's tough asking a guy to learn the system in a week and go out and play. It seems we can never relax, we're always trying to figure out who can play in what spot because of an injury."
The 1-5 Redskins lead the NFC in defense (256.5 yards per game) and are third in total offense (356). They have outgained opponents by almost 600 yards. Washington is tied for second in turnovers (22) and is first in penalty yardage (463 yards on 50 penalties) . . . The last time punter Mike Connell was in Miami, he finished as runner-up in a punt-pass-kick contest for 13-year-olds. The winner of the 10-year-old contest was Tom Orosz, now the Dolphin punter.