Redskins Park Update: Wednesday

The Redskins remain upbeat and confident, knowing one win could right an ugly skid. Yet the gloomy skies that led to a torrential downpour this afternoon seemed like a more accurate barometer of the team's mood.

``I've never seen morale this low,'' said one player, who was around for the 0-5 disaster under Marty Schottenheimer.

They've become fodder for everyone from Cindy Adams, the gossip columnist in the New York Post, to Terry Bradshaw. Few people have anything good to say about the team. It's not just the four-game losing streak, it's the soap opera that Washington has become.

``I hate it do death,'' Redskins corner Champ Bailey said. ``The Bengals have the same record we have, but everyone says they're turning things around. I hate it. I don't want to become a franchise like that.''

Coach Steve Spurrier's job was the speculation in the New York Post. Adams concluded, talking to anonymous sources, that he'd be fired. All she had to do was read half the papers in the country to come to that conclusion.

Spurrier has been knocked for his Fun 'n' Gun system, which hasn't produced much fun. And the only gun it has resembled lately is a squirt gun. But Spurrier said he shrugs off the criticisms.

``No, that's expected,'' Spurrier said. ``When it goes bad I'm probably an easy target. But I don't listen to many of them. I don't read many newspapers. . . It's no fun on anyone to lose.''

The players, despite what one said about the morale, are still fighting. They know this: the season is only halfway over. At 3-5, they're not out of anything. Yet.

``What if we won the last eight?'' receiver Patrick Johnson said. ``That's very attainable. But we've got to win one first.''

. . . Spurrier said he might consider having quarterback Patrick Ramsey roll out a little more to avoid the rush. One player would welcome this strategy, something most teams employ. If Ramsey rolled out to the right, let's say, then maybe that would give those on the left side a chance to regain their confidence by not giving up a sack. The Redskins lack creativity in pass protection and that's what has hurt as much as anything.

. . . There's still some debate as to whether or not end Bruce Smith will start. Not that it matters: he only has 1.5 sacks. The guess is that he will start (Steve Spurrier said he would; George Edwards said no decision has been made). No one else has taken the job away from him, sadly.

. . . Linebacker LaVar Arrington has stopped speaking to the media, at least temporarily. Not sure why, but he said it's because ``you're all dirty.'' Arrington is getting criticized for his missed assignments, but still viewed as a good player. One teammate wondered what would happen to Arrington if he played in New York, under the harsh glare of its media, and made some of these mistakes.

. . . Running back Trung Canidate will play, despite being listed as questionable on the injury report. The Redskins need him as everyone else is banged up. It's unlikely that Chad Morton will play: he's still walking around in a protective boot. And Ladell Betts is doubtful as well.

. . . One Redskin, when asked whether any of the backs do a good job picking up the blitz, simply shook his head no. Guess he sees what everyone else sees.

. . . The Redskins have 14 players on their injury report this week, with seven players listed as questionable: CB Rashad Bauman (ankle), Canidate (ankle), DT Martin Chase (calf), S Todd Franz (ankle), DT Jermaine Haley (hand/shoulder), RB Sultan McCullough (hand) and Morton.

. . . Center Larry Moore is doubtful with a sprained foot. Spurrier said he expects Lennie Friedman to take his place.

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