A young veteran's poise, a rookie's toughness and a free agent's rage led the Washington Redskins to a 26-23 victory over the Baltimore Colts in a scrimmage today before an estimated 2,000 at Memorial Stadium.
The poise belonged to Bob Holly, a second-year quarterback from Princeton University, who split time today with 10-year veteran Tom Owen and rookie Babe Laufenberg, but who kept the quarterbacking domination to himself.
Holly completed six of 11 passes for 91 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown pass to rookie free agent Ray Arnold and the Redskins scored all but six of their points during Holly's two 10-play possessions.
"I get a feeling about Bob Holly," Coach Joe Gibbs said, not needing to review films to detect growing confidence and poise in the quarterback, who kept smiling from the sidelines today toward the grandstand where his wife of three weeks was sitting.
"He seems to elevate himself and get a little better."
"I feel I could quarterback here for a number of years if things go well," Holly said. "I feel very comfortable . . ."
The toughness belonged to Marcus Gilbert, the rookie running back drafted in the ninth-round from Texas Christian. Though Gilbert gained only six yards in three carries today, two of those carries were for one-yard touchdowns, requiring a straight-ahead, bull-headed machismo.
"I said to myself, 'That's my first professional touchdown. Wow," Gilbert said. "Then, I got to say, 'That's my second professional touchdown. Yeah, a great feeling.' "
"I've seen Marcus Gilbert play enough games to know," Gibbs said, "that Marcus Gilbert is a tough guy."
The rage belonged to Terry Monroe, a free agent defensive end who was cut by New England last year and signed by the Redskins in the offseason. Monroe had three sacks, several tackles today and emerged, perhaps, as a prospect to be reckoned with. Two of Monroe's sacks of Baltimore rookie quarterback Jim Bob Taylor, who played the entire scrimmage, came on the Colts' last offensive series.
"I was pretty keyed up," said Monroe, who played at the University of Houston.
"But this one game doesn't prove anything. If I can have about a lot more preseason games like this, I might have a shot."
The scrimmage was held on a 65-yard field, chalked off so as not to disrupt the Baltimore Orioles' infield. The teams alternated six sets of 10-play possessions. If a team scored before expending all 10 plays, it would reset the ball at either the 35- or 45-yard line and use up the remaining plays. There were no kickoffs or punts.
At the end of 10 plays, teams were allowed to try field goals. The Colts made three of six; the Redskins converted John Borso's 41-yarder and Kevin Seibel's 27-yarder in five tries.
Baltimore Coach Frank Kush, the tough guy who some Colt veterans say is mellowing, was not available to comment after the game. Kush took his team straight from the stadium back to the Colts' training camp at nearby Goucher College, without even letting his players change from their uniforms. Perhaps it is just as well: after losing to the Redskins, 21-14, in a scrimmage last summer, Kush said his team had played "patty-cake, patty-cake."
Darrell Green, Redskins cornerback and top draft pick from Texas A&I, was hardly playing patty-cake today. Although the Colts' Taylor completed 14 of 28 for 171 yards, he didn't complete one pass to a receiver covered by Green, who already has intercepted several seasons worth of passes during training camp.
Furthermore, Green hustled and dived to the ground for one of Taylor's passes that had deflected off the hands of tight end Tom Capone. Green rose to his feet, then ran 30 yards before running into the infield dirt and before learning that the referee had ruled that he had trapped the ball against the turf.
"I was just trying to get out of town," Green said, smiling about his lengthy return.
"The thing that jumps out to me about Darrell Green," said Gibbs, "is his ability to get his hands on the ball . . . Sometimes there are batted balls he winds up catching. This one, he winds up scooping off the ground.
"It's a long ways off, but obviously Darrell is going to get a lot of playing time if Jeris (White, unsigned 10-year cornerback) doesn't show up. It's going to be his opportunity, really."
Trailing by 26-20, the Colts nearly created some final-possession heroics (if there is such a thing as heroics in scrimmages.) Taylor threw a fourth-down screen pass to running back Prince McCord, who ran more than 20 yards before being tackled on the 12-yard line.
The rules created for this scrimmage specified that if a team was inside the 10-yard line after finishing its 10th play of a possession, it could continue at first and goal. But McCord was tackled two yards short of the 10 yard line and the Colts settled for Brian Happel's 29-yard field goal that ended the scoring.
"In a scrimmage like this, winning is not the priority," Gibbs said. "Playing everybody and evaluating them is."
Showing the exuberance of a raw rookie, Green saw the purpose of this scrimmage differently. "I wanted to go back in the game on the Colts' last possession. You never want to lose," he said, heading for the team bus and, at the same time, voicing the team philosophy: "You know, Redskin pride."