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AP:Slip of the Tongue From Pass-Happy Coach


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Slip of the Tongue From Pass-Happy Coach


AP Sports Writer

ASHBURN, Va. (AP)--A nomination for the Freudian Slip Hall of Fame, courtesy of Steve Spurrier.

``When you run and you don't go very far, you wish you had thrown,'' the Washington Redskins coach said Monday. ``And when you throw and you don't go anywhere, you wish you had passed.''

Spurrier obviously meant to end his statement with the word ``run,'' but his actual words were the perfect comment on a game in which the pass-happy ball coach just couldn't help himself. He just had to throw the ball.

Spurrier had Tim Hasselbeck toss 42 passes in Sunday's 24-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints, even though the quarterback was making his first NFL start. Even though the running backs were having their best game. Even though the game was close throughout.

Drives sputtered with chunks of incompletions on a day in which the Redskins ran for a season-high 161 yards on just 26 carries.

``I think that might be my career-high attempts ever: Pop Warner, high school, college, whatever,'' Hasselbeck said.

There is plenty of blame to go around for the sorry state of the Redskins (4-8), who have lost three straight.

The defense is blowing fourth-quarter leads. Linebacker LaVar Arrington has become a non-factor at vital times. Cornerback Champ Bailey had two costly interference penalties Sunday. Heavy turnover under owner Dan Snyder is always a big factor, and injuries haven't helped.

But Spurrier's play-calling gets some culpability this time. Trung Canidate finally had some holes, rushing for a season-high 115 yards and a 7.2 average. Rock Cartwright ran for 27 yards on just four carries. Ladell Betts, expecting regular work now that he's back from an arm injury, carried the ball just twice.

Furthermore, the Saints were ranked 27th against the run coming into the game.

``We thought we'd run the ball a little more,'' Cartwright said. ``But coach doesn't think we need to run the ball. He wants to throw the ball, so that's what he did. I don't think it hurt us. I don't think it helped us, either. It's not my call.''

Such games breed more doubt as to whether Spurrier can truly adjust his coaching style to win in the NFL, and particularly around his given personnel. He has said he learned his lesson last year when he threw too much in certain losses, but he still lapses into old habits.

``We shoot for balance,'' Spurrier said, ``and don't always get it.''

Hasselbeck did not play poorly, but he missed open receivers and performed about as well as could be expected from a first-timer. He finished 22-for-42 for 231 yards with one interception and two fumbles.

Spurrier defended his play-calling, but the numbers don't back him up. He said he didn't think Hasselbeck threw many passes in the first half and that the attempts accumulated late in the fourth quarter.

Actually, Hasselbeck threw 21 passes in each half. He also threw five straight on a drive in the third quarter when the Redskins were leading 14-10. He threw on four of six plays on a drive with the score tied at 17 and on four of five plays when the Saints were leading 24-20 with 9 1/2 minutes remaining.

``Every time you lose, you look back and say you should have thrown more, you should have run more,'' Spurrier said. ``So I guess we should have, what, run more? Every time we throw incomplete, we should have tried to run, that's for sure.''

At least Hasselbeck will be better prepared should he make a second start, which depends on Patrick Ramsey's ailing right foot. Ramsey had his cast removed Monday and will try to practice Wednesday. If he can't take the pain, the cast might be put back on for another week.

``I'm holding out hope,'' Ramsey said.

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