Perhaps it was special teams coach Wayne Sevier who best put the Redskins' lingering competition at two key postitons -- backup quarterback and kicker -- into perspective following Washington's 37-36 victory over New England at RFK Stadium last night.
Referring to Jay Schroeder versus Babe Laufenberg and Mark Moseley versus Tony Zendejas, Sevier shrugged his shoulders and sighed, "They're trying to complicate all our decisions."
With 1:51 remaining, the thought process seemed infinitely less complex. That was after Laufenberg was blindsided by the Patriots' Garin Veris and fumbled. New England's Kenneth Sims recovered.
Trailing, 33-30, at the time, Laufenberg, a second-year quarterback from Indiana, admitted to "an immediate letdown. Anytime you fumble, it's your fault. I have a reason why but no excuses. Then I realized that if we could hold them, we'd have a chance to get the ball back."
Indeed. Following a 38-yard field goal by New England's Tony Franklin that made it 36-30, Laufenberg and the Redskins got that second chance, making the most of it on their game-winning 80-yard drive that culminated with Laufenberg hitting Clint Didier with a 25-yard touchdown pass.
With the final score came the complexities. Who's No. 2?
"The coaches are gonna be in tough shape, tough shape," said Schroeder. "It's gotta be a tough decision. I thought that was a big-league performance by Babe."
Said quarterback coach Jerry Rhome: "Some teams are going to keep three (quarterbacks). We'll make our decision based on what our needs are. If there were (a 49-man roster), we'd keep all three. If there were a 46- or 47-man roster, there wouldn't be any question."
Laufenberg, still giddy from his performance (12 completions in 21 attempts for 200 yards and two touchdowns), wasn't overly concerned, no longer feeling the onus of having to prove he belonged in the battle.
"If they were looking at me as a number three quarterback, I think I made a pretty good point. If they were looking at me as a number two quarterback, I think I made a pretty good point, too," he said. "I don't know what they're (the coaching staff) going to decide but I'd say they have three good quarterbacks . . . If you want to count Joe Theismann."
Actually, Laufenberg bore more than a passing resemblance to Washington's No. 1 quarterback when he connected on a 75-yard touchdown pass and run to Gary Clark at the 7:37 mark of the fourth quarter. Avoiding a heavy rush, Laufenberg scrambled and hit the rookie wide receiver in stride.
Laufenberg even raced downfield -- a la Theismann -- to embrace Clark after the score. "I was really looking around to see if there were any penalty flags on the play," Laufenberg said. "When you scramble around like that sometimes there's clips or holds or something. I just wanted to make sure there weren't any."
After the kickers had missed five of six field goal attempts entering last night's game, the competition heated up when Moseley and Zendejas were perfect on three attempts. Moseley connected on tries from 38 and 47 yards, Zendejas from 42.
According to Sevier, Zendejas' kick was especially impressive. "I don't think he could've felt any more pressure than he did on that kick."
That pressure was increased by the fact that Moseley, kicking first in the rotation, already had converted his first attempt. "I was a little more relaxed but there was still a lot of pressure," Zendejas said. "With Mark kicking one, I couldn't miss or that would have been murder."
Like Laufenberg, Zendejas wasn't able to hazard a guess regarding his employment status. "I couldn't answer that, I'm not the coaches," he said. "Maybe with the age . . . there's so many things you have to evaluate."
With one week remaining in the preseason, it's obvious those decisions aren't going to get any easier.