ASHBURN, Va. -- What does eight minus seven equal?
The answer is one frustrating season for the Washington Redskins.
Now that they're 9-6 and need help to make the playoffs, they had just one player -- linebacker Wilber Marshall -- who was named to this year's NFC squad yesterday.
It was the first time since Joe Gibbs' first season in 1981 when kick returner Mike Nelms made it that they had only one player named.
In 1988 -- when they went 7-9 the last time they were defending champions -- they had two players (Charles Mann and Mark Rypien) in the game, but Rypien was added to the squad as an alternate.
"I was happy that Wilber got it, but I was extremely disappointed for some of the other guys who had extremely good years," Gibbs said. "Several of them, we were hoping they'd make it. Some of our guys had some of their best years. That's kind of a downer for you."
Gibbs said it's the price of not winning.
"When you don't win as many games, you're not going to get the picks. That's the way it normally works for us," he said.
Injuries also were a factor. Gibbs said he thought two of his offensive linemen, Jim Lachey and Mark Schlereth, played up to their Pro Bowl standard of a year ago. But Lachey missed six games with a knee injury and Schlereth has played the second half of the year on an ailing knee.
"I think Lachey when he was playing, he did a heck of a job, and it's been a tough year for Mark Schlereth. He had great courage and my hat goes off to him being able to play when he hasn't been able to practice. That's unbelievable," Gibbs said.
Two other Pro Bowl players of a year ago, cornerback Darrell Green and Charles Mann, also were affected by injuries. Green missed eight games with a broken forearm, and Mann was slowed by a knee injury.
Of the Redskins' four other Pro Bowl players of a year ago, Rypien and wide receiver Gary Clark didn't play as well as they did last year, and running back Earnest Byner and kicker Chip Lohmiller were beaten out by players having better years.
Byner, who needs 37 yards to post his third straight 1,000-yard season, lost out to Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions, Ricky Watters of the San Francisco 49ers and Rodney Hampton of the New York Giants.
Lohmiller lost out to Morten Andersen of the New Orleans Saints. Andersen has made 27 of 32 field-goal attempts to Lohmiller's 28 of 36.
The Redskins thought offensive lineman Raleigh McKenzie deserved to make it, but he probably was overlooked because he played three different positions. They thought safety Brad Edwards had a Pro Bowl-type year, too, but he lost out to Tim McDonald of the Phoenix Cardinals, Chuck Cecil of the Green Bay Packers and Todd Scott of the Minnesota Vikings.
Marshall made it for the first time since his final year with the Chicago Bears in 1987 before he signed a $6 million deal with the Redskins.
Marshall also hasn't helped himself with his trash-talking style that may have turned off some of the voters. Just a week ago, he got a penalty for body slamming Jay Novacek of the Dallas Cowboys after a play.
Larry Peccatiello, the linebacker coach, said, "Wilber has said that [the voters tend to overlook him because they don't like him] and he knows what's going on with the players on the field so if he feels that way, I agree with him. If I were a player and I had some confrontations with another player and it came down to a choice, I might be swayed the other way."
Defending his overall style of play, Marshall said, "No matter what I say or do on the field, it's part of the game. People don't understand that. It's an intimidation factor. It's a way of psyching yourself up and your teammates up. Sometimes, we're flat. Sometimes, we need some of our guys to jump on somebody and say, 'Hey, let's get it going.' "
Marshall seemed subdued in his reaction to the honor after being upset when he was overlooked last year.
"This year, I really didn't think about it. As well as I played last year, it was disappointing [to be snubbed] so why put yourself in that position to go through it again and then have to get here in front of you guys and go, 'Oh, gawd, what happened? These guys don't like you. What's going on?' " Marshall said.
BTC The New Orleans Saints swept a position when all four of their starting linebackers -- Pat Swilling, Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills and Vaughan Johnson -- made it.
In another unusual selection, New Orleans center Joel Hilgenberg replaced his brother, Jay, as the NFC center. Jay was traded from the Chicago Bears to the Cleveland Browns and didn't make it.
Joel Hilgenberg said jokingly that the voters selected J. Hilgenberg out of habit.
"I don't know if that's how it was, but it might have been why I'm in," he said.
NOTES: WR Ricky Sanders has a seriously sprained ankle and may be replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Desmond Howard on Saturday. It would be Howard's first start.
Pro Bowl rosters
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. AFC .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Offense Wide receivers -- Anthony Miller, San Diego; Haywood Jeffires, Houston; Andre Reed, Buffalo; Curtis Duncan, Houston; Ernest Givins, Houston.
Tackles -- Richmond Webb, Miami; Howard Ballard, Buffalo; Will Wolford, Buffalo.
Guards -- Mike Munchak, Houston; Steve Wisniewski, Los
Angeles Raiders; Carlton Haselrig, Pittsburgh.
Centers -- Bruce Matthews, Houston; Dermontti Dawson, Pittsburgh.
Tight ends -- Keith Jackson, Miami; Marv Cook, New England.
Quarterbacks -- Dan Marino, Miami; Warren Moon, Houston; Jim Kelly, Buffalo.
Running backs -- Barry Foster, Pittsburgh; Thurman Thomas, Buffalo; Lorenzo White, Houston; Harold Green, Cincinnati.
Interior linemen -- Cortez Kennedy, Seattle; Ray Childress, Houston.
Outside linebackers -- Derrick Thomas, Kansas City; Bryan Cox, Miami; Cornelius Bennett, Buffalo.
Inside linebackers -- Junior Seau, San Diego; Al Smith, Houston; Michael Brooks, Denver.
Cornerbacks -- Rod Woodson, Pittsburgh; Gill Byrd, San Diego; Terry McDaniel, Los Angeles Raiders.
Safeties -- Henry Jones, Buffalo; Steve Atwater, Denver; Eugene Robinson, Seattle.
.. ... .. .. .. .. .. Specialists Punter -- Rohn Stark, Indianapolis. Kicker -- Nick Lowery, Kansas City. Kick return specialist -- Clarence Verdin, Indianapolis. Special teamer -- Steve Tasker, Buffalo.
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. NFC .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Offense Wide receivers -- Jerry Rice, San Francisco; Sterling Sharpe, Green Bay; Michael Irvin, Dallas; Andre Rison, Atlanta.
Tackles -- Gary Zimmerman, Minnesota; Lomas Brown, Detroit; Steve Wallace, San Francisco.
Guards -- Randall McDaniel, Minnesota; Guy McIntyre, San Francisco; Nate Newton, Dallas.
Centers -- Joel Hilgenberg, New Orleans; Mark Stepnoski, Dallas.
Tight ends -- Jay Novacek, Dallas; Brent Jones, San Francisco.
Running backs -- Emmitt Smith, Dallas; Barry Sanders, Detroit; Ricky Watters, San Francisco; Rodney Hampton, New York Giants.
.. .. .. . .. .. . .. .. Defense Ends -- Reggie White, Philadelphia; Chris Doleman, Minnesota; Clyde Simmons, Philadelphia.
Interior linemen -- Pierce Holt, San Francisco; Henry Thomas, Minnesota.
Outside linebackers -- Pat Swilling, New Orleans; Rickey Jackson, New Orleans; Wilber Marshall, Washington.
Inside linebackers -- Sam Mills, New Orleans; Jessie Tuggle, Atlanta; Vaughan Johnson, New Orleans.
Cornerbacks -- Deion Sanders, Atlanta; Audray McMillian, Minnesota; Eric Allen, Philadelphia.
Safeties -- Tim McDonald, Phoenix; Chuck Cecil, Green Bay; Todd Scott, Minnesota.
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Specialists Punter -- Rich Camarillo, Phoenix. Kicker -- Morten Andersen, New Orleans. Kick return specialist -- Mel Gray, Detroit. Special teamer -- Elbert Shelley, Atlanta.