Collins' Hits Worry Fassel

Kerry Collins may be able to take the punishment, but Jim Fassel would rather not test his resilience every week. The Giants' coach says his quarterback has taken too much punishment in the first two games, and he wants that to change.

"Kerry's a tough quarterback, but it's my job to protect him as best I can, because I don't care who you are, and I've been around some really tough quarterbacks - Kerry is one of them - after a while you wear them down and you get them hurt," Fassel said. "He's been dusted a couple of times."

Collins was sacked twice in Monday night's overtime loss to the Cowboys and was hurried countless times. He admitted he had to rush his throws "a little bit," mindful of linemen bearing in on his blind side against an offensive line playing three rookies.

But Collins was careful to praise his front five yesterday, saying "the sky's the limit" on what the young linemen can accomplish. "Never did I sense they were going to go in the tank. They came back and really did a good job, considering the circumstances," he said. "By no means do I think we have to start throwing things out of the offense because of the protection up front."

Hardly Third-Rate

Washington's second-ranked defense prides itself on stopping opponents on third down, an area in which the Redskins are the best in the NFC. Giants coach Jim Fassel noticed. "Seventeen percent," he said of opponents' success rate (4-for-23). "They've got teams in long, third-and-8 or more, a lot. We're going to have to be good on third down."

The Giants have converted 13 of 30 attempts for a 43-percent success rate, sixth in the NFC.
Sept 19,03