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Dilfer will get chance to open it up with Seattle

By DARRELL FRY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 4, 2002

Okay, so Trent Dilfer looked good in his limited action last season. But Seattle coach Mike Holmgren is talking about not only making Dilfer the starter, but giving him almost free rein.

While Dilfer was forced to play a conservative role with the Bucs and the Ravens, he will be turned loose in Seattle this season. Whether that's good or bad for the Seahawks remains to be seen.

"Trent has matured a lot these last couple of years, but this isn't going to be like Fresno State where he let it fly 45 times a game," Holmgren said. "But I am going to let him play. He's been accurate in our minicamps and so far he's been making a lot of good decisions. Plus, his teammates really like him and those guys can tell when someone is being a phony."

Last season Dilfer played in six games and went 73-for-122 for 1,014 yards, 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

* * *

TRAY TABLES, EXITS AND BOTTLED WATER: For the Redskins, getting to Saturday night's opening preseason game in Japan took almost as much preparation as the game.

For the flight to and from Osaka, players were instructed to drink plenty of fluids to combat dehydration, stretch their legs often by walking down the aisles, take out their contact lenses and consider wearing compression hose to keep blood flowing in their legs.

Team officials said the precautions were necessary after one NFL player missed most of the season two years ago because of leg problems he developed during a flight to Japan.

* * *

DID YOU KNOW?: There are several reasons why so many people are predicting a better-than-expected inaugural season for the expansion Texans, but here are a few more: There are five players on the roster who have played on a Super Bowl champion and the football operations staff has a combined 28 Super Bowl rings.

* * *

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Packers quarterback Brett Favre on talented yet problematic teammate Terry Glenn: "Without ever playing with Terry before and without really knowing him, I like the way he's handled himself so far. And what I see from him on the practice field is the guy can play. If his heart's in it and his mind's in it, he can be as good as he wants to be."

* * *

FAR OUT, DUDE: The Rams lost a couple of key free agents, but don't expect that to slow the so-called Greatest Show on Turf. Quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk undoubtedly will light it up again, but coach Mike Martz's big-play offensive scheme might be the real key.

"Three years in a row they have scored 500 points and nobody has ever done that. They rank with the top offensive groups who have ever played," said longtime offensive guru Ernie Zampese, who was hired recently as an aide to Martz. "His offense is so far ahead of anybody else in the NFL, and how well they do it. For formations and plays, Mike is way beyond anything we've done in the past. He's way out there."

* * *

PUT UP YOUR DUKES: The first week of training camps brought the expected: competition, injuries and fights. The most surprising was the altercation between Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey and linebacker Brandon Short in the team's dining room.

While coaches say they don't condone fighting, some say the scuffles have benefits.

"They are good teaching tools," Panthers coach John Fox said after three scuffles broke out during practice last week. "When you talk about being a smart, tough football team, I've seen a whole lot of tough football teams that didn't win games.

"But if you play smart and tough, you're going to win your share.

"And you've got to push your team to that point so they'll learn from it. It beats trying to kick them in the rear to be that emotional, so that's a good thing."

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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