Washington Redskins assistant general manager Bobby Mitchell yesterday apologized for a statement he made on television about the team's quarterback situation, saying it was "totally unfair to the coach" and it "definitely hurts" the team.

After Jay Schroeder's poor performance in Washington's 31-27 loss to Philadelphia, Mitchell said on Home Team Sports' "Redskins Report" Monday night, "I understand, during the game, some of the players were standing behind the coach and saying, 'Are we going to lose this or are you going to put Doug {Williams} in?' "

Coach Joe Gibbs called the statement "absolutely ridiculous," and Mitchell said last night he was "very sorry" he said it.

The issue came to a head after practice yesterday at Redskin Park, when Mitchell phoned reporters to apologize and clarify his statement.

"The last thing we need is a fight about who is the quarterback, Doug or Schroeder," Mitchell said. "I have repeatedly said that I think the coaching staff is right. Jay is the young quarterback of our future. You just can't snatch him in and out of the game and expect him to become a great quarterback."

Mitchell said he made the statement in his "zeal to back my coach."

"On my show Monday night, we were getting quite a few calls about why the coach didn't put Doug into the game, which we get each week. In my effort to defend the coach's action, which I definitely believe in, I was bringing out the point that people are constantly calling about this and I even heard that players were hollering for Doug, but the coach must stick to what he is doing."

Gibbs said he "never heard anything like" what Mitchell had described in his televised statement.

"Believe me, I would have been extremely upset," Gibbs said. "If someone said that, had I heard them during the game, they would have heard from me because all any player should be doing during the game is concentrating on winning the ballgame. Everyone I saw was cranked up, trying to win a football game. They certainly weren't thinking about what the other options were."

Mitchell, who watches Redskins games from the press box, said he did not personally hear any players say Williams should go into the game. But Williams said Tuesday night that some of his teammates had told him they wanted him to play.

"I had a couple of players come up to me and say, 'Why doesn't Coach Gibbs let you play?' I told them it's Coach Gibbs' decision."

Williams would not say which players spoke with him.

After speaking with Williams, Gibbs said he understood any comments were made to the veteran quarterback in "passing."

"Someone may say it in sympathy after a game or something. During the game, I guarantee you nobody who was playing was thinking that. Everybody was thinking, 'Win the ball game,' " Gibbs said.

Mitchell said he wondered about the ramifications of his statement.

"I was thinking, What does this do to Doug and Jay this coming Sunday? It puts them in a very awkward situation. . . . It's totally unfair to the coach. It puts him in a very awkward situation. . . . I made a very bad move in trying too hard to express my support for the coach. Obviously, it's caused a lot of problems. It puts us in a very bad light," Mitchell said.

He said he "didn't know" how this incident would affect his relationship with Gibbs. Mitchell also said he wasn't certain if he would continue doing the TV show. "It all depends on what it does to our football team," he said. "I'm not going to do anything to hurt our organization and football team."

Gibbs said he is not worried that a quarterback controversy might be developing.

"I think it's normal for things to get stirred up when things aren't going well and you've got somebody else who's a good player there," he said.

"To have a controversy, you've got to have two guys. I want two guys, or preferably three or four. I'll take a quagmire. I just want the players there. It's my job to work my way through it."

Cornerback Darrell Green is not used to being beaten by wide receivers. In his four seasons with the Redskins, he has made the Pro Bowl twice, won the NFL's "Fastest Man" competition and caught Tony Dorsett and Eric Dickerson from behind.

But this season, Darrell Green is in a "minislump," assistant head coach/defense Richie Petitbon said yesterday. And Green, while he won't acknowledge a slump, said he "is not playing Darrell Green football."

The Redskins defense has given up eight touchdown passes in the five games played by the regular players. Green has given up five of them. Two came last week when Philadelphia's Mike Quick beat him in the Eagles' 31-27 upset win over the Redskins.

"I'm not thinking I'm not the same player, but I'm not playing up to what I normally do," Green said. "Basically, the other team is just making plays when it has to."

Green was slowed in training camp by an ankle injury and Petitbon said he "fell behind" and has been "playing catchup" ever since.

Said Petitbon, "Before the season's over, he'll be one of the best again," adding that "one play is so magnified" at cornerback.

While Green has been struggling, his opposite cornerback, Barry Wilburn, has been thriving, intercepting a pass in every game for a total of five, tied for first in the league.

Green remains undaunted. "I think I'm possibly in the middle of a 10-year career," he said. "The pace I'm on, I think definitely it will be a great career."

Redskins Notes:

The Redskins practiced as usual in spite of the cold and blowing, drifting snow. The artificial turf field was plowed three times before practice. It still was very slippery . . . Middle linebacker Neal Olkewicz practiced with the first string, while Rich Milot, who sprained his left ankle at Buffalo, also worked out, but carefully, on the slick turf.