With final cuts to be announced today the Washington Redskins last night were exploring a number of options, including the possibility of keeping an extra tight end -- Terry Orr? -- and letting a running back -- rookie Brian Mitchell? -- go.
Team officials, including Coach Joe Gibbs, were extremely secretive about what decisions they'll ultimately announce today.
But last night it appeared the Redskins were leaning toward trimming their roster from 60 players to 47 players by making these moves:
Placing three players on injured reserve: rookies Cary Conklin (knee) and Mo Elewonibi (shoulder) and veteran offensive lineman Ray Brown (knee).
By cutting nine players: tight ends Mike Tice and Ken Whisenhunt, receivers Joe Howard and Stephen Hobbs, defensive linemen Alonzo Mitz and Milford Hodge, linebacker Jon Leverenz, safety Rico Labbe and cornerback Alvoid Mays.
Those moves would get the Redskins down to 48 players, with Ron Middleton holding a slight edge over Orr for the final job. However, the Redskins have discussed keeping an extra tight end, a move that could save Orr and Middleton but cost Mitchell a spot on the final 47.
Labbe could return if he clears waivers and a decision is made to put safety Clarence Vaughn (sore shoulder) on injured reserve. Waivers might be asked on another veteran or two so they could be brought back and activated while a young player is stocked away on injured reserve.
Stokes Gives It a Shot
Defensive end Fred Stokes, who has had about three full practice sessions the entire training camp, will give his tender left shoulder another try today. The shoulder has twice popped out of place -- or at least given him the sensation of popping out of place -- during training camp.
He didn't play in any of the four preseason games, and when he went down 2 1/2 weeks ago the Redskins were very worried that his season might have ended.
No damage was found and doctors recommend that he again try a program of rest, therapy and strength training. Trainer Bubba Tyer estimates that Stokes's shoulder is about twice as strong as it was before the second injury, and the Redskins are nervously optimistic he will play in next Sunday's regular season opener against the Phoenix Cardinals.
"I feel pretty good about it," Stokes said. "I felt good last time, but this time we recorded everything, so I know it's stronger. I'm going to take it easy the first couple of days back out there, but I really think it's going to hold up. It had never given me a problem before, and I don't think it's going to be a problem now."
What, Me Worry?
After breaking down films of Friday's 37-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, Gibbs said: "We did some good things and there are still some things we need to work on. There are things I still worry about."
He complimented quarterback Mark Rypien and said that one or two of his misplays "weren't all his fault. There were other things going on out there and Mark made some good plays when it didn't look like he did."
Gibbs praised several players and said he was happy with the progress of several others, including cornerback Brian Davis, who is recovering from a pulled quadriceps muscle, and new defensive lineman Tim Johnson. Gibbs said of Johnson: "We like him. He's extremely strong and a sharp guy, a very good worker." . . .
Gibbs, following a first-week tradition, announced yesterday that practices would be off limits to the media this week.