Spurrier acting superior

Posted: Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Steve Spurrier says he coaches the same way -- whether the opponent is Central Michigan or the San Francisco 49ers.

The coach whose career at the University of Florida was marked by huge victories over inferior opponents, was responding Tuesday to comments by 49ers coach Steve Mariucci. Mariucci suggested Monday that Washington was playing starters against his scrubs in its 38-7 win over San Francisco in Osaka, Japan.

''Supposedly, we had a lot to prove against the Niners, and they didn't have much to go for, so that was the reason we got them pretty good,'' Spurrier said.

The Redskins never quit throwing in the American Bowl, including a fourth-and-1 post pattern to the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Most of the Redskins' premier starters -- including Stephen Davis and the entire first-team defense -- did not play after the first quarter. The starting offensive line returned briefly in the second half when Danny Wuerffel entered the game, giving him a fair shot in the team's three-way quarterback competition.

While Spurrier was exposing his playbook, Mariucci ran a bland offense and used the game primarily to evaluate fringe players. That's the way most coaches would handle an exhibition opener, and Spurrier said he understood that.

The teams meet in San Francisco in the third week of the regular season. But the revenge factor is nothing new to Spurrier, who so often was accused of piling on the points at Florida.

''I'm sure they'll be excited when we play them again,'' Spurrier said. ''And we'll be excited, too.''

Falcons

Quarterback Michael Vick was back throwing passes, showing no signs of a sore left shoulder.

Vick tweaked the shoulder during a passing drill Monday morning. It was wrapped in ice, and he didn't throw during the afternoon workout.

But Vick was back in his normal routine, zipping throws during a two-hour practice.

''It felt great,'' he said. ''I could have had a better day throwing the football, but the shoulder didn't bother me too much.''

Vick, the No. 1 overall pick in 2001, is going into his first season as an NFL starter. He spent most of his rookie season on the bench, but the Falcons cut Chris Chandler during the offseason.

Vick said he may have tweaked his rotator cuff while throwing a sidearm pass during non-contact drills Monday.

Ravens

Owner Art Modell made his first appearance at training camp after missing the first week-and-a-half because of health problems and the heat and humidity at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md.

''Forty-two years in this business, and it's the first training camp opening I've missed,'' said Modell, who turned 77 in June and is entering his 42nd year in football. ''But I've done 40 laps around the field and I'm ready to go.''

Modell's sense of humor was intact despite a heart attack in April and a mild stroke in late June that left him with blurred vision.

''Right now, that might be a blessing,'' Modell joked after watching his team begin preparations for Friday night's preseason home opener against Detroit.

Broncos

Rob Moore, who was entering his 13th NFL season, was released by Denver. He had been signed in March after being released by Arizona after two seasons plagued by injuries.

He missed 2000 with a knee injury, and missed 2001 with a torn hamstring. He was signed last spring by the Broncos.

''I wasn't going to put him in a situation where he was going to be on the fourth team or fifth team and the only way he would get an outside chance to make the team is if somebody got hurt,'' coach Mike Shanahan said.

The 33-year-old Moore has played in 153 games, catching 628 passes for 9,368 yards, a 14.9-yard average.

Rookie wide receiver Ashley Lelie returned to practice after missing a week with a strained hamstring.

Chargers

Linebacker Junior Seau dodged a serious injury after getting his cleats caught in the grass and twisting his left knee during a drill.

Seau, an 11-time Pro Bowler, was covering wide receiver Patrick Batteaux on the play. He left the field on a cart with trainer James Collins supporting his knee. But later, Seau said he was OK.

''I'm fine,'' he said. ''I have a little strain in the calf behind the knee.''

Seau's teammates were stunned watching their leader exit the practice field in such a manner. Time and again, he has bounced up after being momentarily hurt, but not on this occasion.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Seau is listed as day-to-day and expects to return in two or three days.

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Panthers

Coach John Fox ended morning's practice early after a fight involving three players.

Fox grew agitated when offensive lineman T.J. Washington got into a scuffle with defensive linemen Mike Rucker and Brentson Buckner about 30 minutes before morning practice was to end.

After teammates broke up the scuffle, Fox called the players into a huddle, chewed them out and dismissed them until the afternoon session.

''Sometimes, you can talk to people, but sometimes you've got to put the hammer down,'' Fox said. ''Whether it's my football team or my kids, we all deal with it. It's part of the growing process. Some times you let it go, but I had just had enough.''

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Packers

Coach Mike Sherman kept quarterback Brett Favre out of both practices as the team prepared for Saturday's preseason opener at Philadelphia.

Sherman employed a similar regimen a year ago. Sherman and offensive coordinator Tom Rossley reined in Favre for a day a couple weeks into the preseason to help ensure his prized right arm wouldn't give out.

Favre had elbow tendinitis after throwing too much at the 2000 training camp. He subsequently missed the final three preseason games and played with discomfort for most of the regular season.

Last year, Favre's throwing in the preseason was kept in moderation each day. Consequently, he never experienced recurring arm problems during the season and posted his best numbers since 1998 with 32 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 61.6.

''My arm felt great all year, so we're trying to kind of mirror what we did last year,'' Favre said. ''I do have to be more careful, being a little older and having tendinitis a couple years ago. It's better safe than sorry. Not that there's any problems, but you don't want to wait until there is something before you sit out.''

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Vikings

Pro Bowl center Matt Birk said he's willing to switch to left tackle if first-round draft pick Bryant McKinnie continues his extended holdout.

Birk played tackle at Harvard and in his first two seasons with the Vikings before switching to center in 2000. If coach Mike Tice moves him to left tackle and McKinnie reports, Birk would move back to center when McKinnie was ready to start.

''It's not an ideal situation, but I'd be willing to do it,'' Birk said. ''I'd have to get over there fairly soon and get some reps in. You have to move on and do what's best for the team.''

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49ers

Defensive tackle John Schlecht, who has missed all of training camp with a lower back problem, could be ready to return to practice before the team leaves Stockton next week, Mariucci said.

Pro Bowl center Jeremy Newberry, who strained a calf muscle on the second day of camp and hasn't practiced since, could be out another two weeks before he returns to action.

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Colts

Linebacker Mike Peterson, who was cleared to practice Monday night after missing nine practices with a knee injury, was pleased with his return.

''It felt good,'' Peterson said following a two-hour workout. ''I got to go out with the guys, with the defense and that was real good. I wanted to go live on every play.''

Peterson sat out the first week of training camp because he was recovering from last month's arthroscopic surgery. Peterson sprained a knee ligament against Miami last November.

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Cowboys

Tackle Flozell Adams sprained his right knee and will miss Friday's preseason game against Oakland. He's expected to return to practice next week.

Rookie receiver Antonio Bryant went down with an ankle injury. It was only a bruise, though, and he returned after only a few plays off.



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