San Francisco 49ers Coach George Seifert, in what may have been a mixture of sincerity and psychology, said yesterday that the Washington Redskins "might be the best team we've faced the last couple of years."
Reminded that the Redskins had been out of the playoffs two straight years, Seifert said: "I know that sounds kind of drastic, but it's the way they're put together. People question your motives when you say something like that, but I don't say it every week. They're playing better than we are right now."
Specifically, Seifert said the Washington "offensive line jumps out at you. . . . There's coordination between the quarterback and the receivers, the flashiness of the backs and the utilization of the alignments. The defense mixes its coverages and has timely blitzes. They're the best team I've seen on film this year."
Told what Seifert had said, Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs almost choked. He said Seifert must say that kind of stuff to his team every week.
"It's ridiculous," he said. "Everyone considers them the best team in football and no one puts us on the same level with them. It doesn't make any sense. He's got the best team in the world, his players are headed to the Hall of Fame and he's saying that about us?" Turning It Around
The 49ers and Redskins last met in the 12th week of the 1988 season. Both teams were 6-5 and it looked as if that might be a turning point.
It was. The 49ers won the game, 37-21, and have gone on to win back-to-back Super Bowls. That game started a 25-3 stretch for the 49ers; the Redskins, who lost three of their next four games, began a 12-10 slide.. Geathers Jumps Into Practice
Defensive end Jumpy Geathers practiced for the first time this season and appears to be on course for a return in Week 7, the earliest he's allowed to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Geathers, a Plan B signee, got a three-year, $1.5 million contract from the Redskins despite having reconstructive knee surgery last December. He has had the surgery on both knees, but the Redskins believe he may come back in time to give their pass rush some help this season.
"He looked good for the first time out," line coach Torgy Torgeson said. "He mixed it up pretty good. I think he could play in a couple of weeks if he were allowed to."
Geathers said he was happy to be back "because practice beats working out with those trainers. Those guys will kill you."
He said the adjustment now would be to "get my legs back in football shape. They got heavy after the first couple of rushes and it's going to take some time." Same Plan for Marshall
If it seemed Sunday that Wilber Marshall looked more like the wrecking ball he'd been in Chicago, that may be partly true.
"I think people are understanding the difference in what I do here," he said. "I also have a responsibility on pass coverage, so my job is a little different."
He forced a fumble and got a sack because the man he would have covered stayed on the line to help block Charles Mann. "That freed me up," Marshall said.