The Washington Redskins yesterday apparently considered releasing wide receiver Jacquez Green and promoting wideout Justin Skaggs from the practice squad.
Team officials also left open the possibility of auditioning punters this week, but Coach Steve Spurrier said the Redskins were likely to stick with veteran Bryan Barker even after he struggled during Sunday's 26-7 loss at Jacksonville.
Green didn't have a catch against the Jaguars and has only five receptions this season after signing a three-year contract worth about $4.3 million with the Redskins in March as a free agent. He passed over a better offer from the St. Louis Rams to be reunited with Spurrier, his former coach at the University of Florida, in hopes of reviving an NFL career that had stalled with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The former second-round draft choice had a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second game of the season but often has been frustrated by his lack of involvement in the offense. He left Sunday's game when he suffered a deep gash on his leg attempting to catch a pass from quarterback Shane Matthews. That throw was intercepted by Jaguars cornerback Jason Craft in the end zone, and the Redskins missed an opportunity to add to a 7-0 lead.
Spurrier released one former Florida wide receiver, Reidel Anthony, near the end of training camp. Skaggs is on the Redskins' practice squad for a second straight season, but some members of the organization are impressed with his speed and enthusiasm and believe he could thrive on kick returns.
Green said earlier yesterday that he hoped to be healthy enough to play on Sunday against the New York Giants, at least as a punt returner. Cornerback Champ Bailey struggled on punt returns after replacing Green in Jacksonville. Special teams coach Mike Stock said earlier yesterday that if Green could not return punts against the Giants, he would consider Bailey, cornerback Darrell Green and wide receiver Willie Jackson as alternatives.
Spurrier and Stock left open the possibility of trying out punters today. But they said they planned to retain Barker, who had punts of 12 and 33 yards Sunday that led to 10 points for Jacksonville.
"We may have some guys come in and punt," Spurrier said. "On Tuesdays, we always try to bring in one or two possible guys for down the line. But right now, we're pretty confident that Bryan can shake this off and be the punter that he's certainly capable of being."
Said Barker: "I've been doing this a long time, and I'm not used to being a liability. I'm usually an asset."
Nothing to Prove
Linebacker Jessie Armstead said yesterday he wouldn't take any personal agendas on the field with him at Giants Stadium on Sunday when he faces his former team for the first time.
"I can't make this the Jessie Armstead war," he said. "It's the Redskins. No matter what goes on, New York is New York to me. Everybody else has been thinking about it for me. I haven't been thinking about it. I know one thing about it: I'm going to have a bigger target on me than anybody else out there. I'm quite sure those guys want to prove a point toward me."
Armstead played nine seasons for the Giants and was selected to the past five Pro Bowls, but was released in February as the Giants scrambled to get under the salary cap. He signed a three-year, $4.5 million contract with the Redskins, and has been one of the club's more dependable players on defense.
"I've done everything that a player possibly can do in New York," Armstead said. "If I go out there and have 10 tackles and a sack, what is that? My thing is to help this team, the Redskins, win. I can't prove a point to them. I proved a point to them for nine years when I played for them. I gave them everything I had. There's nothing I can do to change anything." . . .
After declining to comment last week on Michigan State University's interest in him as a head coaching candidate, defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis said on his weekly appearance on WRC-TV-4 yesterday that he would consider his options when the time comes. Lewis said he is happy with the Redskins but the team is no "Utopia."