With a Short Week, Gibbs Still Has a Lot to Cover

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

To some, a short workweek around the holidays is a welcome reward, but to the routine-crazed coaches and players of the NFL, it can be a worrisome situation. After much deliberation, Coach Joe Gibbs and his staff settled on a schedule for this week, with the team hosting the New York Giants in a huge game Saturday rather than the normal Sunday kickoff.

Gibbs has repeatedly mentioned that the NFC East-leading Giants will get an extra day of preparation -- New York beat Kansas City last Saturday -- and is trying to create a workweek that replicates the norm. Given the late stage of the season, players were kept off the field Monday and yesterday, coming in for lifting, treatment and meetings only, and return to practice today. This will be a long day, with meetings and film sessions crammed in amid the walkthroughs and practice, while tomorrow will be a normal practice day.

Fridays are normally half-days for the players, with an earlier morning practice, and Gibbs will stick with that.

"We've got a shorter workweek than they do and that's something we were struggling with around here, what's the right way to approach it?" Gibbs said. "At this point in the year, I think the extra rest is probably warranted, and we'll have to go harder toward the end of the week."

Giants Coach Tom Coughlin, meantime, deemphasized the importance of the schedules during a conference call with the media yesterday, pointing to his team's success against Kansas City in a similar situation Saturday. "We played pretty well without the extra day last week," he said.

The Redskins will also face an unusual schedule going into Week 17, with an extra day between the Giants game and the season finale at Philadelphia. Gibbs is likely to give everyone Christmas day off, and then resume a normal schedule Monday, conducting his usual media conference then.

Pro Bowl Selections Today

Several Redskins could be in line for Christmas paydays, with contract incentives tied to their selection to the Pro Bowl today. Receiver Santana Moss is tied for second in the NFC in receiving yards and has revitalized a dormant downfield attack, making him a likely choice. Moss's 1,240 yards are the most by a Redskins receiver since 1994, and he is within range of Bobby Mitchell's team record (1,436 yards in 1963).

H-back Mike Sellers, having a career season in that hybrid role, is a strong candidate as a fullback or special teams player, and right guard Randy Thomas was having a career year before his season ended with a broken leg Sunday. H-back Chris Cooley should merit consideration as a tight end, as well. Linebacker Marcus Washington was the Redskins' lone Pro Bowl representative last season and is playing well again. Cornerback Shawn Springs doesn't have the sack and interception totals he had last year, but teams have largely tried to avoid throwing near him. Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin is clearly one of the best in the league at his position, but has a decidedly low profile and missed several games because of injury, which might work against him. . . .

Defensive end Phillip Daniels was named NFC defensive player of the week. He tied the Redskins' single-game record for sacks with four against Dallas. . . . Offensive lineman Ikechuku Ndukwe was signed to the active roster from the practice squad. Offensive lineman Jim Jones and tight end David Kashetta were signed to the practice squad.

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