Washington Redskins defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson yesterday criticized his performance in Sunday's 41-35 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys but said it was a result of the coaches' decision to pull him on many third downs.
The Redskins' defense contained Dallas's offense through the first three quarters, but wilted in a marathon fourth quarter -- in which it was on the field for 11 minutes 15 seconds -- followed by overtime. Dallas gained 541 yards of offense in the game, including 186 yards rushing.
Wilkinson had no tackles, but was credited with two quarterback pressures. Defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield had two tackles. The Redskins' only sack came from defensive end Marco Coleman.
"Going in and out of the game, that kind of messed my groove up," Wilkinson said. "In order for me to get going the way I get going, I've got to go into my mind-set, be a little selfish and do things my way. But to be going out and in messes up my rhythm."
Stubblefield declined to discuss his own statistics, but said he understood Wilkinson's frustration with the substitutions, which are designed to improve the pass rush. Wilkinson comes out on third downs, defensive end Kenard Lang takes over at left tackle, while the faster Ndukwe Kalu comes in at left end.
"How are you going to get in a rhythm when they've got you going off and on, off and on the field?" Stubblefield asked. "It's good, in a way, when we need a rest. But in Big Daddy's case, it's a little hard for him to get in rhythm."
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said he intends to stick with his substitutions for two reasons: to step up the pass rush and to spell Wilkinson, who played more snaps (1,037) than any defensive tackle in the NFL last season. Nolan, who had been complimentary of both tackles after the loss, had little patience with Wilkinson's rationale.
"With the 90 snaps we had -- about a game-and-a-half -- if he'd done every one, I think he would have been speaking today about how he was so tired he couldn't do anything," Nolan said. "That's catch-all when you don't make a play: You say, `Well, I couldn't get my rhythm.' If you're making a lot of sacks, it's, `Well, everything was really flowing.' "
Nolan added: "You know, I felt it was flowing pretty good for three quarters, too. And then I was out of rhythm as well. That's my complaint: They had us out there so much I couldn't get my rhythm."
Floyd Alters Practice
Coach Norv Turner moved up yesterday's practice by about three hours, from 2 p.m. to 11:15 a.m., in hopes of avoiding the heavy rains predicted to herald the arrival of Hurricane Floyd.
Meanwhile, Redskins officials phoned several area colleges and convention halls to see if their facilities could be borrowed for today's practice, assuming torrential rains and high winds make practicing at Redskin Park impractical. As of late yesterday, no alternate arrangements had been made. . . .
Running back Skip Hicks participated in practice yesterday and said he did not expect to miss any work this week despite the charges filed against him Monday in connection with the UCLA handicapped parking scandal. Hicks and four others facing misdemeanor charges had been scheduled for arraignment yesterday, but were granted continuances until Sept. 30. Turner said team officials were monitoring the case.