Injuries on Both Lines Are Gibbs's Top Concern

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 31, 2005

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Oct. 30 -- The Washington Redskins might be without a handful of starters next week, as the offensive and defensive lines were hit hard by injuries in Sunday's 36-0 defeat by New York at Giants Stadium.

Left tackle Chris Samuels will undergo an MRI exam on his strained right knee Monday, while defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin was limited to the opening two plays because of a hip flexor injury; Joe Salave'a, the other starting defensive tackle, left the game because of a lingering foot injury and starting right defensive end Phillip Daniels left with an ankle injury. Two of Washington's inactive defensive linemen -- Aki Jones and Cedric Killings -- are also battling injuries.

"That's the number one thing I'm concerned about right now," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "We've got a number of injuries there that we're concerned about and we'll just have to see. A number of key guys, and we'll just have to see."

Samuels left the game in the third quarter when he said he felt his right knee give out. "One play it just kind of gave out," Samuels said. "The knee has been kind of bothering me anyway, so we'll just wait and see what the MRI says. I don't really know what's wrong with it." Griffin missed most of practice this week, but started the game. His hip injury was quickly aggravated, and he was unable to continue.

Salave'a is being hampered by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is expected to linger for months. He will likely need more rest this week, but there is no easy solution to the problem. Daniels was the third of four starting linemen to leave the game -- he departed in the fourth quarter -- and he, too, will be reevaluated in Washington.

Place kicker John Hall returned to the lineup after missing five games with a strained right quadriceps but never left the bench. Punter Derrick Frost handled kickoffs and the Redskins never attempted a field goal or extra point. Rookie Nick Novak (Maryland) had replaced Hall the previous five games but was inactive Sunday. Novak said he has not been informed if the team plans to keep two kickers or will release him this week.

Arrington Replaces Holdman

The debate about if, or when, Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington would return to a starting role took a turn Sunday when weak-side linebacker Warrick Holdman was benched in the second half after a poor performance. The Giants exploited Holdman and right cornerback Walt Harris's side of the defense on runs of 57 and 59 yards, and Arrington played most of the second half. Arrington led the team in tackles last week after being benched for two entire games earlier this season.

When the game was still close, Arrington played primarily in the 3-4 package as an extra linebacker, with Chris Clemons often replacing him on third downs. But the Redskins rarely used the 3-4 in the second quarter, and Arrington played much more in the second half with Holdman standing on the sideline, holding his helmet behind his back. Arrington finished the game with four tackles.

Giants Honor Mara

The Giants honored co-owner Wellington Mara before the game, with all 40 of his grandchildren on the field for the national anthem, and again at halftime with a video presentation. Mara died Tuesday at age 89. His son, John, was presented with a game ball. . . . The Redskins have not won consecutive road games in the NFC East since 2001, and have not been 5-2 since 2000. . . . In eight career games against NFC East teams, running back Clinton Portis has 521 yards on 145 carries -- an average of 3.6 per carry. . . . Defensive lineman Nic Clemons, offensive lineman Jim Molinaro, rookie running back Nehemiah Broughton and rookie cornerback Dimitri Patterson were inactive.

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