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Friday, August 24

Schottenheimer stands behind starter George



LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Tony Banks looked sharp. Jeff George didn't.

Could there be yet another quarterback controversy with the Washington Redskins?

"N-O," said coach Marty Schottenheimer, who has vowed never to have one. "Does that surprise you?"

Banks, signed just nine days earlier after being cut by Dallas and using a limited play book, completed 12 of 15 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to beat the Cleveland Browns 27-25 on Friday night.

George, who missed the first two preseason games and nearly all of training camp with tendinitis in his shoulder, got the start and was just 3-of-7 for 17 yards and was sacked twice. The Redskins managed just one first down in the four series he played.

"Clearly, the difference between Jeff and Tony is that Tony's been playing and throwing and passing," Schottenheimer said. "And Jeff hasn't."

The Browns also have a definite No. 1 quarterback, Tim Couch, and he had a solid game after rough outings in his first two exhibition games.

Couch was 14-of-23 for 163 and scrambled for 35 yards, mostly against the Redskins' first-team defense. He led scoring drives of 72 and 69 yards, with a long scramble in each series to keep the drive alive, to give the Browns a 14-0 lead.

"I like the way we played early," Browns coach Butch Davis said. "Tim was playing well, our offense was making plays, and our defense was overwhelming."

The game was decided by backups in the fourth quarter. Brett Conway's 19-yard field goal with 4:06 to play, set up by Sage Rosenfels' 43-yard pass to fellow rookie Justin Skaggs, broke a 17-17 tie and put the Redskins (1-2) ahead for good.

Lloyd Harrison added a 54-yard interception return off Kelly Holcomb with 1:55 to go.

The Browns (2-1) made the final score close with Holcomb's 49-yard pass to Jamel White with 1:17 to play. White also ran for the 2-point conversion.

"It's always fun to win, but it is what it is," Schottenheimer said. "We've played three, and this one is like the other two. There's plenty of things in there for us to work on."

Banks threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Donnell Bennett and 4 yards to Walter Rasby for the Redskins, who had scored just six points in their first two exhibition games using young, inexperienced quarterbacks.

While Banks did most of his work in the second half -- when it became apparent that Washington's backups were better than Cleveland's -- he also led the first-stringers on a 72-yard scoring drive in just 49 seconds at the end of the first half. That was the first touchdown allowed by the Browns this preseason.

"I want to be a starter, but I'm playing behind one of the best passers in the history of the game," Banks said. "I know what I'm here for."

Ricky Dudley had a 15-yard touchdown catch and Quincy Morgan ran 2 yards for a score for the Browns, who found some offensive rhythm after scoring just two touchdowns in their first two games.

The Browns' offensive line played better than in its first two games, but is still a work in progress. Linemen Tre Johnson and Ross Verba, two free agent signings who have been rehabilitating injuries, made little impact in their brief debuts in the second quarter.

Conway had field goals of 30 and 19 yards in the fourth quarter, while Phil Dawson kicked a 33-yard field goal for Cleveland. Dawson, the only kicker on the Browns roster, also missed from 54 and 48 yards.

"We're on the rise," said Johnson, who played seven seasons for the Redskins before he being released in February. "We're just starting to get people in a new staff with a new attitude."

And Johnson's assessment of the Redskins?

"It's pretty much do or die for them," he said.

Washington linebacker Eddie Mason sprained his knee and cornerback Donovan Greer suffered a mild concussion trying to make a tackle.

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"do or die for the Redskins"?????

how does Tre come up with that. Marty has a 4 year deal

and there is every indication this is a year of transition. If Tre thinks that everyone in Washington is expecting the Redskins to be in the Super Bowl this season, he obviously is out of touch with the pulse of the city.

The reason why "do or die" was the motto here last year is because players such as Deion and Bruce came here talking Super Bowl in their first press conferences.

No one has uttered those two words this year and I don't think you will see anyone in the new regime do so.

The Redskins have a younger team at a lot of positions and this fact is overshadowed by the presence of the two greybears, Bruce and Darrell.

10-12 year vets are becoming rarer on this team as time goes by.

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