The Washington Redskins, convinced that Mark Moseley is their kicker, released promising rookie kicker Dan Miller yesterday and put running back Wilbur Jackson on the injured-reserve list for a minimum of four weeks.
Jackson will be replaced on the roster by sixth-year running back Clarence Williams, recently released by the San Diego Chargers.
Moseley's three clutch field goals in Sunday's victory over the Philadelphia Eagles made Miller expendable. Because of a hamstring injury to cornerback Joe Lavender, Coach Joe Gibbs said he felt he needed Miller's roster spot for another cornerback.
Subsequently, Miller, who played at Miami, was cut and cornerback LeCharls McDaniel was re-signed.
McDaniel had made it to the last cutdown date, Sept. 9, before being released.
Jackson was put on injured reserve because of a knee injury he suffered against Philadelphia.
Lavender pulled his right hamstring midway through Sunday's game, but returned later. He was not in pads yesterday, but watched the workout from the sidelines. He is listed as "questionable" on the Redskins' weekly injury report.
"I've got a feeling, though, that Joe will be ready for Tampa Bay," Gibbs said, referring to this week's Redskins' opponent. "But if he isn't, we'll go with Vernon Dean."
Dean, the Redskins' second-round draft choice from San Diego State, worked with the No. 1 defense yesterday.
Gibbs said he had wanted to keep McDaniel all along, but didn't have room for him. "McDaniel had played six regular-season games last year, and he did a good job for us," Gibbs said. "I'm glad we could get him back."
Perhaps the most heated competition in training camp was between Moseley, the 11-year veteran, and Miller. The Redskins were very high on Miller, their 11th-round draft pick, and they waited throughout the preseason for one of the two to show a clear superiority. When that didn't happen, Gibbs decided to stay with Moseley for the season opener and Miller was put on the inactive roster, which meant he could have been activated at any time.
Moseley's field goals Sunday, including the 48-yarder that sent the game into overtime and the 26-yarder that won it, convinced the Redskins that Moseley was the one to stay with.
"It was always my opinion that Danny had to beat out Mark and it started becoming clear a while ago that he couldn't," said Gibbs. "I think the competition made Mark a better kicker, though. He understands what this was all about."
Gibbs said he still feels Miller can be a fine kicker in the National Football League and that he hated to cut him, "but we needed that roster spot and so we had no choice. We tried to trade him, but we had problems trying to do that because about four teams kept two kickers and some good kickers were cut by other teams. A few young kickers came through, too, so there just wasn't a market for Miller."
Jackson, who missed much of last season with an injury to the same knee, the left one, carried the ball four times for six yards against the Eagles before being injured. Cartilage damage was diagnosed and Gibbs said the doctors recommended Jackson be kept out of action for an undetermined period of time.
Jackson must stay on the injured-reserve list for a minimum of four weeks. Another running back, Joe Washington, is already on the list.
That left the team with only John Riggins, Clarence Harmon and Otis Wonsley as healthy running backs. Nick Giaquinto is still bothered by a bad ankle and is on the inactive list, although he practiced in pads yesterday. So Gibbs put the call out for the free-agent Williams, whom he coached with the Chargers.
Williams, 5 feet 10 and 185 pounds, led the Chargers in rushing in the preseason before being released. He was a fifth-round pick of San Diego in 1977. His best season was 1979, when he rushed for 752 yards, caught 51 passes for 352 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. He has fumbled only once in 394 career rushing attempts.
"Clarence is very smart and very tough," Gibbs said. "He also has good hands. I know him and I have great confidence in him. He knows our system and he'll be ready to play Sunday."
Williams, out of South Carolina, said he figured the Chargers might trade him once they acquired Ricky Bell from Tampa Bay in the offseason, "but I never thought they would just cut me. I had a great camp. I don't ever look back, though. I think this is an ideal situation for me to come to. I think I still have a lot of football to play and I think I can really help this team. I'm anxious to play."
The Redskins lost to Tampa Bay, 28-13, in the preseason . . . "When I think of Tampa Bay, the first thing that comes to mind is a very physical, strong team," said Gibbs. "They really beat up on us down there in the preseason." . . . Defensive end Tony McGee left yesterday's practice early with a sore right ankle that he injured in the Philadelphia game. He was told to stay off it the rest of the day and is expected to practice today.