Pitch and Catch

warren-moon-2Here’s the rub: Moon’s shoulder OK

By Terrry Blount
Houston Chronicle

A man named Kenny Owens is going to be swamped with phone calls today. That’s bound to happen because Oilers quarterback Warren Moon called him a “miracle worker” after Sunday’s game.

After throwing three touchdown passes against the Bengals, Moon his new therapist with helping his tired throwing arm come to life.
Owens is a neuromuscular therapist Moon went to see after Friday’s practice because of tightness in his shoulder.

“I had immediate results,” Moon said. “I almost have to say he’s a miracle worker. My whole shoulder and rotator cuff has been very tight, and I’ve been trying to find a way to get it loose.”

So what is the miracle procedure Owens performs?

“It’s basically just a massage, but he really hits the pressure points and gets down deeper than most massages.” Moon said, “It really loosens up the muscles that tend to get tight because of overuse.”

A couple of Moon’s teammates referred him to Owens.

“He did Cris Dishman on his hamstring and Doug Dawson on his back,” Moon said. “Those injuries might have kept them out of the game if they hadn’t gone to this guy.”

Until Sunday, Moon had not mentioned his problems with tightness in his shoulder, which may partially explain why he performed below his usual standards the previous two games.

“It’s mostly just wear and tear from the season,” Moon said. “But I’ve always had stiffness in my shoulder since I fractured it a few years ago. There hasn’t been any pain, just tightness that affects my range of motion.”

Moon broke his shoulder blade in 1988 and missed five games.

“I have to stay on top of it,” Moon said. “I had to do something to loosen it up, and this guy got my arm a lot looser. I felt real good out there today. My ball was really coming off with a lot of velocity. He made me feel a lot better.”

It showed Moon completed 24 of 37 attempts for 289 yards before leaving the game in the fourth quarter. The most dramatic play came on a 61-yard touchdown pass to Drew Hill. Moon wanted to throw a screen but elected to scramble to the left and look for another option. He found Hill wide open deep.

“They covered the screen pretty good, so all I did was try and improvise and make something happen,” Moon said. “The main thing I was worried about was having a lineman downfield. I think Bruce Matthews was downfield but came back. I saw Drew taking off, and I was able to get enough on the ball to get it out there to him.”

Things went well, but it wasn’t a perfect day. Moon threw two interceptions, which gives him eight in the last four games.

“I got off to a good start, but I’m still having trouble turning the ball over,” Moon said. “I had one pass get away from me today. But the other happened when I got hit as I was throwing the ball. I want to cut down those interceptions and turnovers. When we get into the tighter games with the better teams, that’s something that I can’t afford to have happen.”

The next game is an example of what Moon is saying. The Oilers play at unbeaten Washington on Sunday.

“There’s a confidence on this team that we can do even better things than what we’ve done so far.” Moon said. “But this game coming up will show us exactly where we are. It’s a measuring stick for us. We just have to play good, solid football the way we have been. We can’t turn the ball over, because their crowd does as much for them as ours does for us.”

The 35-3 victory over Cincinnati didn’t exactly give the Oilers a tough test to get ready for the Redskins.

“Maybe we needed an easy one,” Moon said. “Our last two games on the road were pressure-packed games that came down to the end. I think it’s good to have a so-called easy one before you go into the type of atmosphere we’re going into this week.”

Moon said the key Sunday was the fact that the Oilers didn’t take the winless Bengals lightly.

“We came out and got off to a fast start,” Moon said. “Jack (Pardee) has been preaching that to us all week. We know the Bengals, and if they get any momentum they are a good football team.”