In other NFL cities -- where some coaches would almost die to have a Jay Schroeder and/or a Doug Williams -- they're wondering why all the fuss.

According to a number of top defensive assistants, once you've seen one Washington Redskins quarterback, you've seen 'em all. The Los Angeles Rams, for instance, say they will prepare no differently to face Williams, the new Redskins starter, in Monday night's game than they would for Schroeder. Both are big. Both can run. And both can heave it from one 20-yard line to the other.

If there's one noticeable difference, it's the split second longer that Williams seems to stay in the pocket. According to Wayne Fontes, Detroit's defensive coordinator, Schroeder had a tendency last Sunday to rush out of the pocket when there was a heavy inside rush. But Williams, he said, waited and waited and waited until his receiver found a crevice in the secondary.

"Yeah, Doug hangs in there," said offensive tackle Mark May yesterday, "but that's a great way to get killed."

Fontes -- who coached Williams in Tampa Bay -- says Williams is so patient he nearly got decapitated one day in 1978. He was waiting, waiting, waiting for a receiver to break free, and a Rams defender elbowed him through his facemask. Williams injured his jaw, and it had to be wired shut. He could only talk in a mumble and could only eat through a straw. His Tampa Bay teammates would tease him by walking up to him and saying: "Hey, Doug. Want to drink this sandwich?"

Fontes also said Williams never has complained to an official about a late hit.

"He took a lot of licks and walked away from them like I've never seen a quarterback do," Fontes said. "He'd take a late hit, bounce up and say, 'Let's go again.' "

There seems to be some school of thought that Schroeder has become more aware of defensive pressure since Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor blind-sided him last season in game 14 at RFK Stadium. He threw six interceptions that day, plus two the next week in Denver, plus three the week after that in Philadelphia. Then, in the playoffs, the Redskins appeared to grow more conservative on offense, although Schroeder led them to victories over the Rams and Chicago Bears.

However, Coach Joe Gibbs denies Schroeder has panicked under a heavy pass rush. "I think the only people that really know are the people that study it and are here all the time," he said. "And we've got some of the best quarterback coaches in the world {Jerry Rhome and Dan Henning}. To me, Jay is a picture {perfect} guy dropping back. He does everything well. Listen, we get a million theories. When I had Dan Fouts {in San Diego}, people said everything in the world was wrong with Dan Fouts. He only looked left, his right foot came back first. . . . Every place I go, there's a million things. Ninety-five percent of it is a pipe dream, smoke."

For a historical perspective on Schroeder, it might be best to take a peek at the life and times of Terry Bradshaw, the former Steelers quarterback. Bradshaw -- who says Schroeder reminds him of himself -- was a starter his first season at Pittsburgh, but was benched in favor of Terry Hanratty after going four for 16 against the Oilers. At times, Bradshaw was called a "dumb" quarterback, a label that bothers him to this day.

"I know {Schroeder's} dying inside," said Bradshaw, who went on to quarterback four Super Bowl victories. "It happened to me not once, not twice, not three times, but probably 10 to 15 times. I had only four real quiet years in my career. The other 10 were marked with some kind of disruption. I was booed, almost traded, you name it.

"I went through a lot of pity and self-doubt. This is what Jay's probably going through. But I'm a good judge of people, and I'd be disappointed if Jay doesn't come back a better player."

Outside of Washington, the Schroeder-Williams controversy is generally creating a ho-hum reaction.

In Dallas, Cowboys vice president Gil Brandt said: "I think the Redskins are probably different than most teams because both quarterbacks are good. Sometimes, there's a controversy because neither is good. . . . But I imagine they're pretty happy they didn't trade Williams."

In Philadelphia, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said: "I like them both. I mean, when Schroeder got hurt against us {in the season opener}, we didn't say, 'Oh boy, Oh boy! Williams is coming in!' "

Of course, television will milk this controversy for all it's worth. CBS is already requesting that Schroeder and Williams do a side-by-side interview for this week's "NFL Today." Both are thinking it over.