Washington Redskins wide receiver Michael Westbrook has set career highs in receptions (54), total receiving yards (1,026) and touchdowns (eight). After Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts, he will have played in more games (14) in a season than in any of his four years as a pro. Still, Westbrook said yesterday he isn't satisfied with his numbers, despite the broken wrist he has played with since Nov. 14.
"To me, to play 16 games and barely have 1,000 yards--that's not very good, in my opinion," Westbrook said. "I would like to have, like, 1,500 yards. Those are the numbers that I want."
Westbrook, chosen in the first round of the 1995 draft, began the season by saying he wanted to become a team leader and play well enough to warrant his first Pro Bowl selection. The wrist injury, suffered in the Redskins' 35-28 loss at Philadelphia, slowed his production, but has not kept him from a single start.
"I had a step backward with the wrist--a three-week drop," he said. "It took me out of the race."
But Westbrook steadily has assumed more of a leadership role on the team. And with the 11-2 Colts on tap, Westbrook said his confidence in the team, as well as in himself, never has been higher.
"Everything is coming together," he said. "Special teams is playing better. Then you've got the defense playing really well. [The offense] took a little vacation all of the sudden, and now I think we're back. I think we'll probably see all the pieces of the puzzle this weekend."
Westbrook had nothing but good things to say about owner Daniel M. Snyder's efforts to help motivate his team for last week's game against Arizona, which the Redskins won 28-3, by speaking privately with five hand-picked players.
"I love Dan Snyder," Westbrook said. "I don't know many owners. I didn't really know the previous two owners. I knew John [Kent Cooke] a little bit, and I liked him a lot. I really, really like Dan's methods and everything he has done here."
Carpet Must Do
With the grass fields soggy from three days of rain, the Redskins practiced yesterday on their Astroturf field and expect to be forced onto the turf again today. It's not Coach Norv Turner's preference, but he has little choice.
"It's tough on players being on Astroturf," Turner said, "but our fields are very, very soggy right now."
Given the toll that the surface takes on players' legs, coaches decided to rest cornerback Darrell Green most of practice, along with running back Stephen Davis, who has a sore toe after his 37-carry performance Sunday.
Sims Remains Doubtful
Keith Sims is showing improvement, but Turner said he doubts the left guard will be able to play Sunday. Sims watched film of Indianapolis yesterday as if he were starting. He ran a bit and did a few drills with trainer Bubba Tyer, but felt a troubling tenderness in the knee. Tyer lists him as doubtful. A decision on his playing status is expected Friday. Brad Badger would fill in.
According to Sims, 32, the fact that Sunday's game is on Astroturf, at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, is a significant factor in the decision.
"We're hopeful we've got at least three or four of five games left after Indianapolis," Sims said. "I want to be available for those, as well. . . . If I injure it again, it could be a season-ending injury, and I don't want that to happen." . . .
Marcus Allen, the Oakland Raiders' career rushing leader (8,545 yards on 2,090 carries), dropped by Redskin Park yesterday to visit with passing game coordinator Terry Robiskie. Robiskie was an assistant on the Raiders' coaching staff throughout Allen's career there, which spanned 1982 to '92.
Boutte Is Out
Reserve defensive tackle Marc Boutte has been on the Redskins' inactive list for each of the team's last six games, and he said yesterday he expects to be released or traded in the offseason. "I know I won't be back next season," said Boutte, whose contract runs through next season. "I'm not playing. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. I know I'll be playing somewhere else next year. I know it's best. I totally agree it's best. I don't expect to be back. But I'm here now." . . .
Quarterback Brad Johnson said there's no truth to the whispers he has a tired arm. "You can't stop rumors," Johnson said. "There have been no complaints in house. Practices have been going well. There have been no concerns about my throwing here."