The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 2, 1997 · Page 37
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 37

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Tuesday, December 2, 1997
Page 37
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THE PALM BEACH POST TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1997 3C Pro football s c Sanders tops list of JJ.'s concerns I M3 I rn7Tin?nios cgiBd 1 Dolphins notebook By Ed Price Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DAVIE Jimmy Johnson has concerns other than Lawrence Phillips. Like the play of his safeties in , the nickel package. Like long snannincr fnr nlarp Wirks. I.ikp a 9910 Alt. A1 A, Suite 701, Palm Beach Gardens. Promenade Plaza, Next to Publix Dolphins playoff possibilities Miami can win the AFC East by winning its final three games. Since that would include a victory over New England, at worst the Dolphins would be tied with the Jets, and Miami swept New York. Miami can clinch a playoff spot by winning its final two AFC games: That's regardless of whether the Dolphins beat Detroit on Sunday. That would leave Miami at worst 10-6. Kansas City, Denver, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and the Jets could have better records, but New England and Tennessee would be at best 10-6. Miami would win the sixth spot over New England (10-2 conference record vs. 9-3 for the Patriots) and Tennessee (head-to-head in Week 2). Miami can clinch a playoff spot by winning its next two games if: (1) the Jets lose to Indianapolis or Tampa Bay in the next two weeks, or (2) the Patriots lose to Jacksonville and Pittsburgh the next two weeks, or (3) the Steelers lose to Denver and New England the next two weeks, or (4) Jacksonville loses to New England and Buffalo the next two weeks. ED PRICE certain other running back a guy by the name of Barry Sanders. "He's exciting to watch," said Johnson, whose Dolphins face Sanders and the Detroit Lions on Sunday. "I enjoy watching the tapes, I enjoy watching him on TV. I just don't enjoy playing him." Johnson praised his defense for holding Oakland to 16 points J l j. L (gsasgi mmf mens the nickel safety, George Teague contributed to a pair of long pass completions to James Jett in the third quarter. "We're not as strong there as I'd like to be," Johnson said. Corey Harris could get a turn at safety. Bracey Walker won't; he suffered a broken leg late in Sunday's game. Which would open up a roster spot for, say, Phillips. B Noteworthy: Rookie cor-nerback Sam Madison had some swelling in his sprained ankle on Monday but should be able to play against Detroit. Wing tip bal saddle. Waterproof, breathable membrane. Molded EVA outsole. Locking LITE-SPIKE System. Squire last. t UUl CApiCSSCU CU11LC111 dUUUL U1C S secondary. j Calvin Jackson has played well i at safety but moves back to cor- 1 nerback in the nickel defense. As J.J.: Phillips' troubles 'highly exaggerated' 52993 White smooth waterproof leather" If we do something, we feel like there'd be not much of a downside but a pretty good upside. " JIMMY JOHNSON on signing Lawrence Phillips 52977 Brown and white smooth waterproof leather THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The Redskins will be without Gus Frerotte, who broke his hip on this play Sunday when he was hit by Rams' end Leslie O'Neal. Frerotte finished the game despite the injury. 'Skins lose Frerotte, Allen, cut Harper 52969 Black pebble grain and white smooth waterproof leather W0MENS Straight tip bal. EVA outsole. Locking LITE-SPIKE System. Removable kiltie. Regency last. PHILUPS From 1C drunken driving in March. Of the Monday meeting with Johnson (Phillips also took a physical), Phillips' agent, Steve Feld-man, said: "It went well. I think he got a good feel for who Lawrence Phillips really is." Johnson has reasons to believe he should take a chance on someone with Phillips' baggage other than the fact that Miami ranks next-to-last in rushing. Any contract would likely be incentive-based, minimizing the team's financial risk. And Johnson can point to his patience with receiver Charles Jordan, who caught five passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns at Oakland on Sunday. "I was hard on him personally," Johnson said of Jordan, who had worked his way into the doghouse last season. "But I was hard on him for the simple reason that I knew that he had the talent to help this football team, and it upset me that we had somebody on the field that could help us win but wasn't doing all the things that need to be done." First-year Rams coach Dick Vermiel thought he could transform Phillips in the same way before giving up after 12 weeks. "We haven't made any kind of decision," Johnson said. "We don't plan on having anything finalized if we do something until later (today)." But Johnson's comments and tone Monday indicated he already is inclined to give Phillips a try. "We're working toward it," Feldman said. "If Lawrence does all the things that we ask in a highly disciplined program," Johnson said, "then he can realize what his talents might be and realize the success that he probably thought he was going to have in the first place." Johnson, who visited with Phillips' college psychologist while considering trading up to draft Phillips in 1996, said he has done more background checks in the past two weeks. "We have done tremendous research, not only with the people at Nebraska but also the people at the Rams," Johnson said. "We had conversations with their trainer, with some of their players, with the head coach. "I expected all of the worst, all of the rumors that you hear, and I can say this for a fact: All the rumors that you hear are not true. I'm not by any means defending Lawrence Phillips. We have checked out the factual information (and) the things that you hear are highly exaggerated. If we do something, we feel like there'd be not much of a downside but a pretty good upside." Phillips' average of 3.5 yards per carry in 11 games with St. Louis this year (633 yards on 183 attempts) is slightly better than the 3.2 average of Dolphins tailback Karim Abdul-Jabbar. But Johnson won't say that Phillips could help this season. "I can't predict how fast somebody's going to be able to blend in," Johnson said. "I don't want everybody to get all excited. Everybody will say, 'Well, he was the sixth pick in the draft, so he's going to save the running game.' "Our running game will be determined by Karim Abdul-Jabbar and Bernie Parmalee and (Irving) Spikes and (Stanley) Prit-chett and on and on. What type of contribution (Phillips) might make to this football team this year, if we do anything, might be minimal. "We're not looking at this for a one- or two-game situation. We're looking at upgrading the talent on our football team for a long time to come." V s ft A mm ; WWII ) PRICES ARE - TOO LOW TO 98848 Black smooth and linen grain waterproof leather. Shown with kiltie. Straight tip bal. EVA outsole. Locking LITE-SPIKE System. Removable kiltie. Regency last. ADVERTISE for about 40-50 snaps Monday night against Carolina. BNew England Patriots: Shawn Jefferson, who left Sunday's game with a sprained ankle, is expected to play against Jacksonville on Sunday, but wide receiver, Terry Glenn, probably will miss his fourth' consecutive game with a hamstring injury. B New York Giants: While coach Jim Fassel did not take quarterback Danny Kanell's starting job away, he did revoke his season pass at the position. Kanell, the former Florida State star, will start Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. That's as much as Fassel will promise. Dave Brown, the current backup and former starter, will replace Kanell if he falters. Kanell, who had his second consecutive poor game in the Giants' 20-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, will not be given more than a half a game to keep his job, Fassel said. BNew York Jets: The team could face the most critical stretch of their season without three veteran starters. Left tackle Jumbo Elliott is gone for the season with a ruptured right Achilles' tendon. Right tackle. David Williams spent Monday in a hospital for treatment of back spasms. Aaron Glenn missed all but one series in Sunday's 20-10 loss at Buffalo with a sprained left ankle. Siupeli Malamala will play at right tackle if Williams can't and either rookie Jay Hagood or Lonnie Palelei will play at left tackle. BSan Francisco 49ers: Running back Garrison Hearst will miss four to six weeks after sustaining a broken collarbone in Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Terry Kirby will start for the 49ers this week against Minnesota. B Tennessee Oilers: Marcus Robertson, who has returned a fumble for a touchdown in each of the Oilers' past two games, will miss Thursday's game against Cincinnati because of knee surgery. Palm Beach Post Wire Services ASHBURN, Va. Washington Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte is out for the season with a broken hip and will be replaced by Jeff Hos-;etler. Running back Terry Allen will miss at least one game with a sprained ankle sustained in Sunday's loss to the Rams. The Redskins also cut disgruntled and unproductive receiver Alvin Harper, who had only two catches to show for a three-year, $3.55 million deal he signed in the off-season. His release followed a locker room tirade after the Rams loss, although coach Norv Turner said the timing was coincidence. Frerotte was injured when he was tackled by Leslie O'Neal on a scramble in the fourth quarter. B Chicago Bears: Alonzo Spellman rejoined the team for practice, insisting he was right to refuse exploratory surgery on his left shoulder, a move that prompted the team to suspend him for three games. Spellman also acknowledged that the1 NFL has separately suspended him for failing to take a random steroids test. B Cincinnati Bengals: Middle linebacker Tom Tumulty and defensive lineman Ramondo Stallings were put on injured reserve. To fill their roster spots, the Bengals activated safety Tre-main Mack, formerly of the University of Miami, off the non-football illness reserve list and promoted running back Ty Douthard from the practice squad. B Dallas Cowboys: Leon Lett, 29, returned from a yearlong suspension for drug use in good shape. The Cowboys desperately need him to tighten their run defense which slipped to 22nd in the NFL during his absence to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Lett, 6-feet-6 and 290 pounds, didn't seem to have missed a beat while going through drills alongside fellow defensive tackles. Lett looked good enough that Switzer expects to use him ALL SALES FINAL SIZES ARE GOOD GET First-round bye even within realm of playoff possibility 98806 Brown smooth and linen grain waterproof leather. Shown with kiltie. mm Plain toe blucher. Molded EVA outsole. Locking LITE-SPIKE System. Stratton last. H L H L EARLY THEY WON'T LAST! y """" "-- SZri.,.L. j i golden parachute for Marino's golden years. Even Lawrence Phillips, renegade running back, looks good in this light. Of course, the Dolphins aren't the only optimists in the league. Barry Sanders, who's averaging 6.1 yards per carry, probably figures he can have an average night against Miami on Sunday. The Colts, who've beaten the Dolphins three straight times at the RCA Dome, probably figure they can do it again. And then there is the Tuna, who has taken the Jets from 1-15 to legitimate division contender. Parcells doesn't figure. He fights. All Johnson can worry about, though, is what he's getting from his own guys. Dallas was no different. He plays his hunches with personnel, and generally plays them well. Charles Jordan, a two-year project, finally rewarded the coach's confidence with a two-touchdown game at Oakland. Sam Madison, a rookie Jimmy threw out there at cornerback two games ago, has been resilient in making up for his mistakes. The defense has held five straight opponents below 20 points, remembering that Marino interceptions gave New England two cheap touchdowns. If Miami doesn't win the division, it will be because either the Jets or Patriots play better these last three weeks. Strange as it may seem, that possibility is more difficult to imagine than the dented and dizzy 1997 Dolphins as AFC East champions. GEORGE From 1C to the Jets and Patriots, Miami has got it made. Detroit won't be easy Sunday night, but as a non-conference opponent the Lions can't crimp all the Dolphins' tiebreaker advantages that much. Indianapolis is the only road game, the easiest draw of all in a league where nothing comes easily, and the final showdown with New England comes at Pro Player Stadium Dec. 22. The Jets still must play Tampa Bay. The Patriots close with Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Miami, hard-headed teams with a combined winning percentage of .667. If New England's remaining opponents continue that two-out-of-' three pace, the Pats are kaput. There's even a way for Miami to get a first-round bye in the playoffs, the greatest prize of all. Last year Bill Parcells pushed that advantage to the limit, taking the 11-5 Patriots all the way to the Super Bowl on the basis of home playoff wins over Pittsburgh and Jacksonville. Get those post-season games at Pro Player Stadium and Dan Marino can be dynamite. Nasty winter road conditions have left him and the Dolphins cold, however. Not counting the neutral-site Super Bowl loss to San Francisco at the end of the 1984 season, Marino is 6-6 as a post-season starter and all six wins have come in Miami. So there's the big picture, a Injury report Updates on injuries sustained Sunday by NFL players. 98427 White waterproof leather with hunter green and brick red plaid lining. Shown with removable kiltie. Plain toe bal saddle. Molded EVA outsole. Locking LITE-SPIKE System. Regency last. 0l,Jl'i1f1IMll" PLAYER QB Gus Frerotte RB Terry Allen OT Jumbo Elliott OT David Williams CB Aaron Glenn LB Tom Tumulty TEAM INJURY STATUS Wash. Broken hip Out for season Wash. Sprained ankle Out one week N.Y.J. Achilles' tendon Out for season N.Y.J. Back Uncertain N.Y.J. Ankle Uncertain Cjn. Foot Out for season Knee Out one week Caro. Concussion Uncertain S.F. Collarbone Out 4-6 weeks N.O. Concussion Uncertain Caro. Groin Uncertain S Marcus Robertson Tenn. Tenn. QB Kerry Collins RB Garrison Hearst WR Eric Guliford LB Micheal Barrow

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