With 10 years' experience as an NFL starter, veteran Rodney Peete holds the edge over Casey Weldon for the Washington Redskins' backup quarterback job after one week of camp.
But Weldon, who started ahead of Brad Johnson in their days at Florida State, made considerable progress during the week, and Coach Norv Turner said today the competition for the No. 2 spot is not over.
"Rodney Peete really had an outstanding week," Turner said. "He's a guy who has played, makes good decisions and is an accurate passer. Casey is a talented player physically, who hasn't played a lot. He's getting the rust off him. And I think he's improving."
The battle at left tackle is increasingly shaping up as a two-way race between veteran Andy Heck, whose expertise is pass blocking, and fifth-year player Joe Patton, who can also play guard.
That means Shar Pourdanesh's best shot at a roster spot is at right tackle, where rookie Jon Jansen has the starter's job for now. "Shar could get back into it at some point," Turner said, "but right now I see him competing at right tackle."
Turner said the evaluation of the left tackles likely would continue into the third week of camp, when the Redskins travel to Latrobe, Pa., for an Aug. 10 scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Fullback Larry Bowie, who is recovering from a compound fracture of his left leg suffered against Dallas last season in Week 5, isn't able to run at full speed yet. But Turner said he doesn't see Bowie dropping off the roster--despite the offseason acquisition of fullback Larry Centers--primarily because of Bowie's run-blocking abilities.
"He becomes your hammer-type guy," Turner said of Bowie. "He's a 245 fullback that can go out and compete against the big linebackers. If you use Larry Centers in that role over an entire season, he wouldn't be nearly as effective as a receiver, as a runner--doing the things he does best."
Turner has scripted plays that involve both Brian Mitchell and Centers, and seems to like the early results.
The Steelers travel to Frostburg Tuesday for a practice with the Redskins, and Turner said he is eager to see how his rookies and newly acquired free agents fare against unfamiliar opponents. . . . The Redskins host Fan Fest '99 at Frostburg State University on Wednesday starting at 1:30 p.m. The "Redskins Experience" festival, which features interactive football drills and games, will be on hand. Fans can get players' autographs. And the Redskins Band and Redskinettes will entertain. A two-hour team practice follows at 3 p.m. In the event of rain, the event will be held on Thursday.