Redskins Report: Thursday

The question is getting old. Too old. So when an ESPN reporter asked Steve Spurrier Thursday afternoon if he thought he'd be sticking around, the ball coach had had enough.

``We don't need to talk about that, what else you got?'' Spurrier said.

Can't say that I blame him. Spurrier has answered this question several times this week, always saying the same thing: he plans on returning.

Later, the same reporter asked how he stays so upbeat in the face of this criticism.

``The last time I looked there were some other coaches in worse shape than the Redskins,'' Spurrier said. ``We're not that bad off. We're pretty bad, but we're not that bad.''

Then there are the Clemson rumors, which join the many other rumors du jour. Spurrier denies any interest and a source close to him said there's nothing at all to it. And Spurrier had fun with it later in the night. As he left, he spotted some reporters and said, ``I'm off to see a couple guys from Clemson.'' He was laughing as he said it. Someone who's interested in a job doesn't act that way.

. . . Newly-signed running back John Simon could get some action from scrimmage Sunday against Seattle. Simon caught 16 passes out of the backfield for Tennessee a year ago. But Trung Canidate will clearly start and Chad Morton won't play.

. . . Spurrier said they're tweaking the protection schemes to buy quarterback Patrick Ramsey more time. From what we hear, the plan calls for more three-step drops.

. . . Tight end Byron Chamberlain hasn't done much since signing with the Redskins last month. He still appears out of shape and it's not even certain if he'll be active.

``We thought he would help us, but he hasn't done that much to help,'' Spurrier said.

. . . Safety Todd Franz returned to practice despite an ankle sprain. End Bruce Smith did not practice for the second straight day, this time because of his sprained thumb. Smith is expected to start after grumbling about not starting against Dallas.

. . . Linebacker LaVar Arrington has shaved his head. Though we don't know why because he won't talk to the local media. At least he practiced today.

. . . Defensive coordinator George Edwards on corner Fred Smoot, ``If I could give out Purple Hearts he would have gotten one last week. No one thought he'd be out there last week and he competed his butt off for the whole game.''

. . . Edwards said he was pleased with tackle Darrell Russell's outing vs. Dallas. But . . . ``He's a little rusty from all the time off. He has the ability, it's just a matter of getting in the flow of things and getting it going.''

Edwards left open the possibility that Russell could start, depending in part on the health of other tackles.

But his size has left the linebackers anxious to see him play more. The starting tackles have played hard, but they can't occupy double teams, freeing up linebackers. And that's what Dan Wilkinson and Daryl Gardener could do. People looked at Wilkinson's puny stats last year and considered him a waste. Trust me on this: the linebackers and others who played with him didn't see him in the same way.

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