Two Qbs Backing Bobby Up Peete, Detmer Throw Support To Hoying

Posted: November 13, 1997

Eagles quarterback Bobby Hoying couldn't ask for a nicer couple of co-workers.

Former starters Rodney Peete and Ty Detmer could be publicly inserting stilettos into Hoying's untested back, or any other part of his unproven body, but they insist on wishing him no ill.

There are no hateful words over the move by head coach Ray Rhodes, who had said he wouldn't start the second-year pro until the playoffs were beyond reach, which they are not for the 4-6 team. There are no sentiments of outrage at the possible unfairness of showcasing the 1996 third-round pick in a game that seems very winnable - perhaps more so than any game yet.

Hoying is allowed to think about beating the Ravens in Baltimore Sunday. He's thinking about his father Vern coming in for the game, and his fiancee, Jill Goecke, and his uncles and buddies and the 10 tickets he needs to accommodate the crew.

And his adopted big brothers are letting the 25-year-old bask, without worry.

``You don't get into the personal part of it,'' said Detmer, who started the first six games and again started in Monday night's 24-12 loss to the 49ers and was relieved by Hoying in the fourth quarter. ``I'm rooting for Bobby. We both are.''

To do anything else would be detrimental.

Randall Cunningham's graceless exit behind Peete's rise to starter in 1995 helped rend the team a bit, albeit to little effect.

Peete lived through that. He's also lived through quarterback controversies in almost every one of his nine professional seasons. Controversies do no one good, he says, though he knows how tough it can be to curb one's tongue.

He entered training camp with a promise from Rhodes he would get a fair shot at the starting spot. It went to Detmer, though neither played particularly well.

Then after the first game of the season, when he effectively relieved Detmer, Peete was not named the starter. Instead, Rhodes left things dangling three more times before going to Peete, who then lost the job again to Detmer before Monday night's game.

Now, even though it appears he will be the third-stringer Sunday, Peete is playing it coolly.

``You deal with it,'' he said. ``You handle it.''

It is not, he and Detmer say, as if they didn't see this coming. Neither is signed with the team beyond this season.

``They've kind of been grooming him for this moment, haven't they?'' Detmer said. ``When they brought him in here, they said he was their quarterback of the future. I guess now is the start of the future.

``There was never any commitment to me, or to Rodney, long-term. You knew that going in.''

What is unknown is whether Hoying can play.

He has seen the offense, he said, through the eyes of Detmer and Peete. He has asked Detmer, one of the offense's most studied players, innumerable questions. He puts in extra time watching film. He worked out in the offseason with offensive coordinator Jon Gruden and quarterbacks coach Sean Payton.

Has he done enough?

``You never know that until you go out and play,'' Peete said. ``Only time will tell.''

The early reviews are good.

``I think he's going to be a great quarterback in this league,'' wide receiver Irving Fryar said. ``I think he's going to play a long time.''

Note that Fryar didn't say Hoying would be great immediately. And Rhodes has said that if Hoying struggles, the Birds will go back to their QB bench.

The players are accustomed to it.

If Hoying doesn't play well, Fryar said, ``Well, then, we'll probably switch again.''

Which at least partially explains why, if the new reserves are gnashing their teeth, they are doing it quietly.

PERSONNEL UPDATE In a surprising move, the Eagles cut guard Mike Zandofsky Tuesday. Zandofsky was signed April 23 and entered the season as the starter before poor play resulted in appearances at guard in just three games.

He hurt his ankle Monday night. Agent Ray Anderson said Zandofsky expects a fair injury settlement. The Eagles might not fill the roster spot immediately.

Zandofsky's cut leaves right guard wide open.

His replacement, Ian Beckles, started eight games, but could miss the rest of the season with plantar fasciaitis in his right foot, which has plagued him all season. Tackle Troy Drake and guard/tackle Jerry Crafts are auditioning at right guard, though Sean Love, signed last week, seems best suited. He took most of the first-team snaps yesterday.

Also on the offensive line, left tackle Jermane Mayberry has a hamstring pull, but that should not limit his action Sunday. Left guard Joe Panos will miss his second straight game with a torn retina.

Linebacker Darrin Smith's sprained left ankle is in a cast. He will miss up to four weeks. His backup, Ray Farmer, has a hamstring pull that cost him Monday night's game and could sideline him Sunday. If so, rookie middle linebacker James Darling will move to left outside linebacker, where he played his first two seasons at Washington State. He played well in Smith's place Monday night.

Rookie right defensive end Ndukwe Kalu also is unlikely to play with his broken right hand and could miss four weeks.

The good news is, rookie defensive end Jon Harris's sprained toe, which sidelined him the past three weeks, has mended enough to allow him to play Sunday.

BIRDSEED Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and executive vice president Joe Banner both declined to comment on the status of Rhodes, whose job security has come into question lately. Eagles insiders say the club is not at all displeased with Rhodes . . . Rookie tight end Chad Lewis and his wife, Michelle, had their first child yesterday afternoon, a daughter, Sarah, who was born at 10 pounds and 23 inches.

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