Injuries Force Changes to Defense
Monday, November 14, 2005
TAMPA, Nov. 13 -- The Redskins were without two of their defensive stalwarts for Sunday's 36-35 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Safety Sean Taylor was out with an ankle injury and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin was out with a hip flexor injury. Taylor had never missed a pro, college or high school game because of injury, while Griffin missed his second straight game.
Neither player practiced last week, and by Friday the club decided it would require other options at their positions for this game. Veteran safety Pierson Prioleau played in place of Taylor, while several players rotated into Griffin's spot with end Demetric Evans again often moved to tackle in the base formation. Tackle Ryan Boschetti played in that spot as well.
The Redskins were also without reserve safety Omar Stoutmire, leaving veteran Matt Bowen as the only extra safety on Sunday's roster beyond the starters.
Defensive lineman Joe Salave'a (foot) and Phillip Daniels (ankle) started but are still playing in discomfort due to their lingering injuries, so the Redskins had seven linemen in uniform to compensate, as reserve lineman Cedric Killings (ankle) remains out.
The Buccaneers, who had difficulty throwing the ball in recent weeks, enjoyed great success against Washington's secondary, and while quarterback Chris Simms said the team did not alter its game plan once it became clear Taylor was out, they did benefit from his absence.
"I was aware," Simms said. "He's a great player. We were definitely happy about that."
After running back Clinton Portis racked up $20,000 in fines for uniform violations last week, the league warned him before this game about future infractions.
Portis was told if he wore different socks from his teammates or deviated from the uniform code in any way, he would be ejected, league sources said, and he complied. Portis has been fined for uniform violations three times the past two seasons for a total of $35,000.
Portis went on to have his best game of the season, rushing 23 times for 144 yards and a touchdown. He entered this game off two of his worst performances, averaging 2.9 yards per carry in those two contests.
Ladell Betts contributed 26 rushing yards in the defeat, and Washington outgained Tampa Bay 185-61, the kind of margin that usually signals victory.
Washington ended up attempting 35 passes to 33 rushes. The team is 1-14 when passing more than running the last two seasons and 10-0 when running at least as many times as it passes.
The Redskins wore their burgundy jerseys Sunday for the first time this season. . . .
The Buccaneers were without wide receiver Michael Clayton. Former New York Giant Ike Hilliard started in his place, while starting free safety Dexter Jackson also was out, leaving Will Allen to start. . . .
Rookie linebacker Robert McCune, Washington's fifth-round pick, was in uniform for the second straight game after spending the first eight weeks of the season on the practice squad. . . .
Reserve offensive lineman Jim Molinaro, the 2004 fifth-round draft pick, was in uniform again after being inactive most of the first half of the season. . . .
Center Cory Raymer, tight end Robert Johnson and running back Nehemiah Broughton, Washington's seventh-round pick, were inactive.