Darryl Grant, not one to brag, said he didn't know for a fact that his being able to play last week would have helped the the Washington Redskins' defensive line get to the Miami Dolphins' quarterback, Dan Marino.
However, his coaches are delighted that Grant, having recovered from a sprained knee, will be back in the starting lineup at right tackle Monday night when the Redskins play in San Francisco. They know his presence last Sunday could have made a difference.
That game was the first in the last 20 that the Redskins did not record a quarterback sack. Marino faced little pressure in throwing for five touchdowns, and a continuance of that trend would mean trouble Monday night against the 49ers. The Redskins are hoping Grant will help the pass rush.
"Darryl has a great motor," Coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday after practice. "He just goes on every play, he flies all over the field. He was having a great (preseason) game in New Orleans before he got hurt. It was one of the best games anybody had in the preseason.
"Darryl gives us a big lift. Not by what he says but by the way he plays."
Grant's return is even more important since starting defensive end Todd Liebenstein is still in the hospital with an infection in his knee. Charles Mann will replace him, on the left side. "We're still waiting for the whole group to be healthy," Gibbs said.
Regardless of who plays where, the defensive linemen have to apply pressure on the 49ers' quarterback, Joe Montana, whose ability to scramble will make their job even more difficult.
"We've got to get pressure . . . from that group," Gibbs said. "With that talent we ought to be able to get pressure . . . I think Charles will be 100 percent. He was really flying around out there in practice today."
Grant said he was in uniform and standing on the sideline Sunday "in case of an extreme emergency; we were down to two tackles.
"We've got to get after (Montana) with a lot more intensity and maintain it throughout the game," Grant said. "If we say we had trouble Sunday because (Marino) used a quick dropback, it's an excuse. Suppose everybody in the league decided to go that way?"
Montana takes a deeper drop, but is one of the league's best scramblers. As the Redskins' line coach, Torgy Torgeson, said, "We'll have to be a little more controlled because of his scrambling. He's going to be hard to sack; he sees the rush pretty good. So we'll try to keep up the pressure and obstruct his view.
"I guess the concept of 'hurry and worry' is important if we can't get to him," Torgeson said. He added that Perry Brooks "did a good job" Sunday, but that "having all the starters back is always something you'd like to have."
Torgeson said the Redskins thought of playing Grant last week but decided "it might have been tough on him, and risky. He might have gotten the knee hit and missed two more weeks."
It was the only game Grant has missed in his three years with the team, despite two injuries in his first season: he was hit on the head in a weight-room accident, and incurred a stress fracture.
Grant said he never thought his playing was that critical. "The people (on the line) who everybody looks up to were already in the game," he said, referring to Dave Butz and Dexter Manley. "I never felt they looked at me that way . . . I think we're deep to the point where, if a guy is out, we shouldn't miss a beat."
Grant's primary thoughts yesterday were of Montana. "He's just as dangerous when you flush him out (of the pocket)," he said. "We've just got to be a lot nastier on defense this week."