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Kicking Game Is in Question
Hall's Injury Forces Coaches to Scramble Before Facing Cowboys

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Place kicker John Hall will most likely miss Monday night's game in Dallas, Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said, leading the team to begin contacting free agents for tryouts this week. Hall nailed all three field goal attempts in Sunday's 9-7 win over Chicago, but strained his quadriceps, an injury that cut his 2004 season in half.

Gibbs said Hall's injury is not as severe as what he suffered last season but expressed serious reservations about him being able to play in Texas. Washington has its bye in Week 3, however, which could work in Hall's favor, although Bubba Tyer, the team's director of sports medicine, said no timetable for a return has been established.

The Redskins could contact Jeff Chandler, who filled in well for Hall last season but struggled in the preseason before being cut, and special teams coach Danny Smith began the process of finding a replacement yesterday, Gibbs said.

"We're going to have to wait that out," Gibbs said of Hall's injury. "But if I had to guess right now, I think it would make it tough for him to make it back for Monday night. We'll just have to work our way through that situation and see what's the best way of handling that."

The other significant injury Sunday was tackle Jon Jansen's broken right thumb. Jansen, whose superior play against the Bears helped solidify the offensive line, was already wearing a cast on his left hand after breaking his other thumb last week. Despite having to wear two casts, Gibbs said the staff is convinced Jansen will be able to perform well and does not expect them to be a major hindrance. The casts allow Jansen's fingers to protrude, so he can still get in his stance for run blocking.

"The good thing about it is the cast covers his thumb but your fingers are out," Gibbs said. "He played extremely well with one last week and I asked him, 'Hey, does it bother you?' And he said, 'Not really.' So that's good."

Defensive tackle Brandon Noble, who missed the game with a knee problem, will seek a second opinion today, Tyer said. Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs (toe) was inactive for Sunday's game but is expected to practice fully this week, Gibbs said. Cornerback Ryan Clark (knee) and linebacker Chris Clemons (hamstring) are expected to return to practice after missing last week.

Not So Happy Returns

Gibbs was noncommittal on whether return specialist Antonio Brown was in danger of losing his job after fumbling a kickoff Sunday. Gibbs maintains any such decision would be Smith's, since that is under the domain of special teams, but Gibbs has noted how well running back Ladell Betts has handled kickoffs.

"We'll continue to talk about that all week," Gibbs said of the return situation.

Wide receiver Santana Moss, who was slowed by a calf cramp Sunday but still produced 96 yards receiving, thrives returning punts as well, and Gibbs said he will do so in Washington at some point. "He's a heck of a player and a heck of a return guy," Gibbs said. "So whenever we think it's a good time to get him in there, we'll certainly be doing that."

Touchdown-Free Sundays

The last time the Redskins won without scoring a touchdown is believed to be Oct. 25, 1992, in a 15-13 win over Minnesota that included five field goals. . . .

Washington allowed just 41 rushing yards Sunday, a total surpassed only twice last season, when the defense ranked first against the run (based on yards per carry). The defense has now allowed just 3.08 yards per carry in 17 games under assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams, easily best in the NFL. . . .

Safety Sean Taylor will continue to be featured in the Redskins' goal line formations as a receiver, Gibbs said. "He has great hands," Gibbs said. "I think he definitely could play receiver. We're trying to get him in a few situations where he can maybe make a play for us."

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