Coach Joe Gibbs of the Redskins said yesterday that he would consider keeping both of his field goal kickers, Mark Moseley and rookie Dan Miller, on the final 49-man roster if he determimes each is too valuable to be released.
Another option the Redskins are considering is trading Moseley or Miller for a defensive lineman.
"If we think that they are among the most valuable players we have, I would be willing to keep both of them," Gibbs said. "One would be our kicker and the other would be part of our four-man taxi squad.
"Maybe at one point, someone would come along and tell us that they would give us a ton for one of them. I'll say this, we aren't going to just give away our best players. We don't want to cut one and not get anything in return."
Moseley missed a 40-yard field goal in the first quarter of Friday night's exhibition loss to Buffalo, eliminating any edge he might have had over Miller. One of the reasons the Redskins drafted Miller, who played at the University of Miami (Fla.), in the 11th round was Moseley's failure last season to kick well early in games. Last year, Moseley missed his first kick in eight of the first 15 regular season games in which he tried a field goal.
With the two rated even going into Friday night's final exhibition game against Cincinnati, the Redskins could well alter the kicking pattern they have followed so far in the exhibitions. Instead of letting Moseley try the first field goal, they may switch to Miller, who attempted no field goals against Buffalo, and possibly let him do most of the place-kicking.
Keeping both kickers at least through the early part of the regular season temporarily would solve what is becoming a ticklish problem for Gibbs. If Moseley starts slowly (as he did last year because of a pulled leg muscle) or if he is injured early, Miller could be activated immediately from the taxi squad. If Moseley holds up, then Miller could be traded, although it is just as likely that Moseley would be traded, because his current value is higher.
The longer training season has lasted, the more Miller has impressed the Redskins with his strong leg, leaving the team with a dilemma: Moseley is a proven kicker who has done well under pressure. He has had a good camp. But Miller is 11 years younger. If he is released, he could spend the next decade kicking against the Redskins.
The Redskins had hoped Moseley and Miller would have enough chances to kick during the preseason so they they could settle the problem on their own. But it hasn't worked out that way.
Each tried two field goals in the first two games. Moseley missed a 53-yarder but Miami was penalized for roughing him. Miller failed on a 48-yarder after a poor snap. Against Tampa Bay, Moseley succeeded from 39 yards and Miller from 34.
"We're going to let this go through the final week and then see what we have to do," Gibbs said. "I want to give both of them as much chance as I can."
Gibbs and his staff face other troubling problems:
* They must cut the 70-man roster to 60 by 4 p.m. Tuesday, then to 49 by 4 p.m. next Monday.
* Receiver Terry Metcalf, who suffered a concussion during the offseason, has yet to play in a game or partake in any contact work. If the Redskins want more time to evaluate him, they may have to put him on one of the league's temporary injury lists, where he wouldn't be counted on the active roster.
* Receiver Carl Powell, third-round choice from Jackson State, seldom plays in games and is not threatening to displace any of the Redskins' four top receivers. He needs time to develop. Will Washington put him on the taxi squad, where he would have all season to practice and learn?
* Quarterback Bob Holly didn't play against Buffalo and will have to yield time to newly acquired Tom Owen. Gibbs favors keeping three quarterbacks, one of whom likely would be put on the taxi squad. But will there be room for Holly there, considering the team also has extra running backs, linebackers and offensive linemen who are candidates for the taxi squad?
Those running backs and linebackers also could figure into any future trades.
Gibbs has talked about keeping running five backs, freeing at least one (possibly either Clarence Harmon or Wilbur Jackson) for a deal. Harmon's skills seem unappreciated by the Redskins, but the longer Joe Washington is out the more valuable Jackson becomes. Washington injured a knee Friday night and could miss the season opener against Philadelphia Sept. 12. The Redskins should learn the extent of the injury today.
If the Redskins keep seven linebackers, which is likely, they will have a surplus of two. Gibbs said that no decision has been made yet about who will start at Brad Dusek's linebacker position, although Dusek could have some trade value because of his experience.
Larry Peccatiello, the linebacker coach, is impressed with Quentin Lowry, who made the team last year as a free agent, but he also likes the potential of rookie Lamont Jeffers (No. 6, Tennessee) and the special team work of Pete Cronan. Neal Olkewicz, Monte Coleman, Rich Milot, Larry Kubin and Mel Kaufman should be set.