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Prioleau's Injury Puts A Hurting On Defense

By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 20, 2005

IRVING, Tex., Sept. 19 -- The Washington Redskins' group of safeties, undermanned with projected starter Ryan Clark ailing, got even thinner Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys when his replacement, Pierson Prioleau, was forced to leave early in the first quarter at Texas Stadium.

On third and six from the Washington 31-yard line, Cowboys tailback Julius Jones rushed for nine yards to give Dallas a first down with about 10 minutes left. Prioleau pulled his hamstring pursuing Jones, and grimaced on the field while three trainers attended to him. Prioleau was helped off the field by trainers and had his leg wrapped while watching from the sideline.

Clark -- who was on the first unit for most of the preseason -- hasn't played in the regular season because of a left knee strain. For the second straight game, Prioleau started at strong safety next to free safety Sean Taylor, with Matt Bowen coming off the bench. After Prioleau was hurt, Bowen entered the game.

Bowen -- considered Clark's competition for the starter's role -- has been coming off the bench largely because he isn't healthy. During preseason, Bowen suffered a knee injury and then a bruised chest.

Jacobs Gets on the Field

Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs made his 2005 debut after missing virtually all of the preseason with a toe injury. He had only one catch for nine yards. Last week, Jacobs felt healthy enough to play in the season opener, but wasn't activated for Washington's 9-7 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Jacobs was activated for the first time since the 2004 regular season finale. He hadn't played in preseason because of a fractured big toe. Jacobs suffered the injury in an August 6 scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

After injuring his toe, Jacobs didn't participate in another practice until Sept 5.

Jacobs entered the game with about five minutes left in the first quarter on third and eight from the Dallas 27-yard line. Quarterback Mark Brunell was sacked by linebacker Dat Nguyen, forcing the Redskins to punt. Jacobs didn't have any catches by halftime -- Washington's receivers had nine catches for 56 yards -- when the Cowboys led 3-0.

Jacobs's return came with the Redskins having only four wide receivers on the roster. Last week, the team released kick returner Antonio Brown, who had been Washington's fifth wideout in a part-time role. The Redskins filled Brown's roster spot with kicker Nick Novak, who made his NFL debut in place of John Hall. Hall suffered a quadriceps injury last week in Washington's final kickoff against the Bears.

Hall was deactivated as expected. But Novak didn't get an opportunity to kick until he made the two extra point attempts in the final four minutes. During the week, Gibbs said it was unlikely Hall would be able to kick, although the Redskins didn't officially rule Hall out. He was downgraded to doubtful Friday after being questionable for most of the week. . . .

Monday night, the Cowboys donned throwback jerseys from the 1960s. During a halftime ceremony at Texas Stadium, Dallas's "Big Three" were inducted into the club's Ring of Honor: Quarterback Troy Aikman, wide receiver Michael Irvin and tailback Emmitt Smith helped the franchise win three Super Bowls in four seasons. Their inductions to Dallas's Ring of Honor brings the total to 15.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company