It's a new week with some of the same old issues at Redskin Park: injuries at quarterback and possible changes at running back.
First, quarterback: Jay Schroeder did not play in the Washington Redskins' brief seven-on-seven drills yesterday because of a cracked rib on his right side, although he did toss the ball around a bit before practice.
Schroeder said he didn't feel as sore as he thought he would and might practice Wednesday. He is expected to play with a flak jacket Sunday at RFK Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Now, running back: Although George Rogers has won the starting job, Coach Joe Gibbs is pondering ways to play veteran John Riggins Sunday.
It's the Redskins' final regular-season home game, and it's possible it will be Riggins' last home appearance as a Redskin. Riggins, at 36 the oldest running back in the National Football League, has a one-year contract reportedly worth $825,000.
Although he was healthy, he did not play in the Redskins' 17-12 victory over Philadelphia. Rogers gained 150 yards on 36 carries, a team record for rushes in a regular-season game.
Their season totals reflect their shifting fortunes: Rogers has gained 792 yards on 173 carries; Riggins, 677 yards on 176 carries.
"I think George obviously stepped up this week," Gibbs said yesterday.
When asked how he would handle the running backs' playing time Sunday, considering Riggins' popularity with the fans, Gibbs said, "I hadn't really thought about that."
Later, as he watched Riggins' show on WJLA-TV-7 (with Rogers as a guest), Gibbs marveled at Riggins.
"What presence," Gibbs said. "What timing."
Although Riggins has not been bothered by the lower back problems he had last season, he has had more than his share of aches and pains, and felt so dizzy during the San Francisco game that he had to lie down on the sideline.
After that game, in which he gained 39 yards on 10 carries, Gibbs picked Rogers to start.
Said Riggins, joking: "I'm fitted for a coffin now."
Riggins has not publicly discussed his future, but it has been assumed by some within the Redskins organization that this is his last season.
Rogers realizes the emotional nature of the game.
"If this is it, he's gotta go out with class," he said. "If it was me, I'd get him in there."
But Rogers doesn't want him in there too much.
"I think I'm starting," he said with a smile. "We gotta go with it now."
An X-ray confirmed that Schroeder, who had cracked ribs in high school and college, suffered one cracked rib when he was hit by Eagles defensive end Reggie White in the first quarter.
"If he didn't have to play football, he'd probably be over it in two weeks," head trainer Bubba Tyer said.
But Schroeder does have to play at least two more weeks -- and perhaps more, if the Redskins win their last two and the right teams lose.
"I'll put on a flak jacket and that'll be that," Schroeder said as he walked out to practice. "I'm sore, but not as sore as I expected to be."
Schroeder was not wearing a flak jacket when he was injured, but wore a protective pad in the second half at Philadelphia, Tyer said.
Backup quarterback Babe Laufenberg worked in Schroeder's place in practice. Gibbs said the Redskins aren't looking elsewhere for a quarterback; Laufenberg, he said, "definitely" would be the starter if Schroeder could not play.
But he said he expects Schroeder to practice "some" Wednesday, the first day of full practice this week.
The Redskins had to deal with other injuries yesterday, Gibbs never being too far from his next decision in this 8-6 season.
With Ken Jenkins out for the season with a separated right shoulder and fracture at the far end of his clavicle, Gibbs has chosen four kick-returning replacements.
He said cornerback Darrell Green, wide receiver Gary Clark and strong safety Raphel Cherry will alternate on punt returns, and running back Keith Griffin will return kickoffs.
Green, who had a 90-yard touchdown return nullified by a controversial penalty Sunday, will be the top returner, Gibbs said, depending on how much the defense plays.
"We want to keep him fresh," Gibbs said. "If it's three downs and out, we'll let him take it."
The Redskins apparently have decided not to sign another return man to replace Jenkins, who is scheduled to undergo surgery today at Arlington Hospital.
They probably will bring back either rookie running back Reggie Branch or rookie linebacker Joe Krakowski, both special teams players who were on the active roster earlier in the season.
Three other Redskins were limping yesterday: defensive end Dexter Manley and offensive tackle Mark May had sprained ankles, and guard Russ Grimm had a sprained right leg, Tyer said.
Manley and May likely will practice Wednesday or Thursday, Tyer said, but Grimm might miss most of the week, as he did last week.
Gibbs continued to criticize two calls made in Philadelphia.
One was an illegal block above the waist called against Barry Wilburn during Green's punt return. "That was one of the best blocks I've ever seen . . . the call took away seven points," Gibbs said.
The other actually was three penalties on an Eagles' incompletion: offside on the Redskin defense; pass interference on cornerback Vernon Dean in the end zone; and unsportsmanlike conduct on Dean, for throwing his helmet.
"I think it's inconsistent," Gibbs said of the officiating. "I see just bad decisions, bad calls."
Gibbs said he will list those calls on his report to the league office.