Redskins Report

The Redskins are doing their best to stay together as a team in the midst of this four-game skid. With wild rumors flying all around, the players have decided to stay above the fray.

One thing they're trying to do is remain confident in the coaching staff. One player said after the game that Steve Spurrier had lost the players a couple weeks ago, after another round of idle threats.

But others say they don't think it's to that point yet.

``I wouldn't want to think about that,'' Redskins end Renaldo Wynn said, when asked what would happen if Spurrier lost the team. ``That would be chaotic. Everyone has to believe in the system and when you have disbelief in the system, it can be chaotic and we don't want that. We believe in this coaching staff and coach Spurrier. They're proven winners. We'll stick this thing out.

``They haven't given up on us as players. We haven't given up on them as coaches. We're in this together and we'll turn it around together as well.''

. . . Corner Champ Bailey said it might be time to have a players-only meeting. The offense held one earlier this season, but Bailey is a proponent of meeting once a year or so, just to clear the air. And a lot of air needs to be cleared.

``We have to convince ourselves that we can turn this around,'' Bailey said. ``If we don't believe it, it will never happen. Meetings are a good thing sometimes. You like to hear where the players' minds are and what they're feeling.''

. . . Spurrier stressed again that he plans on returning for a third season, responding to a question as he exited his press conference. Spurrier also said he has no plans to fire any of his assistants.

. . . . End Bruce Smith said he felt singled out by being benched for Sunday's game at Dallas, marking the first time he hadn't started since 1986. And Smith wasn't happy, saying he plans on talking to the coaches about their intentions for him.

``I have goals I'd like to achieve for myself -- team goals and individual goals,'' said Smith, still two sacks from setting the all-time record. ``At some point in your career you have to take a stance and be a little selfish.''

Smith clearly blames Steve Spurrier for his benching because the coach is the one who delivered the news. But this was a team decision, Spurrier said.

``We thought Regan [Upshaw] had played as well or better and deserved a chance to start,'' Spurrier said. ``Next me I don't know who's going to start. If the defensive coaches say Bruce played better than Regan, he'll start. It's very simple. I'm sorry Bruce feels that way. He's not being singled out.''

. . . Smith had refrained from any criticism of the coaching staff before today. And he didn't rip them. But two no comments were mighty telling.

The first came when asked if Spurrier had lost the the players. The second came when he was asked if the coaching staff was overmatched in the NFL.

Don't forget, Smith played a leading role in paving the way for Marty Schottenheimer's departure. And, after the game, Smith talked with owner Dan Snyder in the trainer's room. I don't know what they talked about and Smith was in there to get treatment. But certain topics were bound to arise.

. . . Two interesting quotes from Dallas players after the game:

``I think the inexperience of their running backs hurt them,'' Dallas safety Darren Woodson said. ``They had their third and fourth running backs in the game and they might have been confused at times.''

``We weren't sure how much pressure we were going to get on them because they had two weeks to prepare and I figured they would correct their problems,'' Dallas end Greg Ellis said. ``They ran a lot of screens and draws to slow the rush, but we still managed to get to them.''

. . . Spurrier said he's willing to alter his system if need be.

``I'll do anything to try to win a game,'' Spurrier said. ``We've changed a lot of things we usually do. When you don't make third down [conversions], then we've got a whole bunch of plays we haven't even called yet.''

. . . Three players are sorely missed from last year: Stephen Davis, Kenny Watson and Walter Rasby. It's obvious why Davis is missed, but it's not just for his running. All three were good in pass protection and all three have been replaced by inferior players, especially in that role. A subtle, but very important aspect. As everyone should now know.

. . . The good news: running back Trung Canidate (ankle) should return this week.

The bad news: running back Chad Morton suffered a high ankle sprain and is doubtful (the injury typically lasts a few weeks). Running back Sultan McCullough fractured a bone in his hand. Defensive tackle Jermaine Haley hurt his shoulder and is doubtful for Sunday.

Quarterback Patrick Ramsey, with a dislocated left pinky and a bruised forearm, is OK.


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