In Rematch, Gibbs Is Starting From Scratch

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 23, 2005

Coach Joe Gibbs was asked to prioritize the adjustments the Redskins will make for tomorrow's game against New York, considering the Giants blasted Washington, 36-0, in their first meeting, but he had no answer. Given the totality of that defeat, Gibbs said the rematch requires an overhaul of his team's game plan and tactics.

"They totally dominated that game all the way across the board," Gibbs said. "I don't know what else to say about it."

Gibbs said the coaches dissected the film of the Oct. 30 loss as they would any other, but could not glean too much from it considering the Redskins struggled in all aspects of play. "Hopefully, we'll try to do some different things," Gibbs said.

Coaches and players on both teams said that they are looking at that game as an anomaly, and not a true reflection of the gulf between them. Redskins players have likened it to their 35-7 defeat of Dallas on Sunday, a game in which Washington could seemingly do nothing wrong. Similarly, once the Giants got rolling against the Redskins at the Meadowlands -- New York was honoring its recently deceased owner, Wellington Mara, at the game -- it snowballed into a decisive result.

"I never would have thought we would have lost for one, and never in that fashion," Redskins offensive lineman Ray Brown said. "We caught a good team playing on an emotional high, and we weren't able to match it. So they're going to come in here with some confidence."

Arrington Appears Likely

Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, said that linebacker LaVar Arrington (thigh) practiced well yesterday and is expected to play tomorrow, while cornerback Shawn Springs (knee, back) did not practice but also will play. Before the Dallas game, Williams made a late decision that Arrington would not play, not wanting to risk further injury. "It's their decision," Arrington said. "If they want me to play, I'll play, and if they want me to sit, I'll sit."

Rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers, who assumed a starting role recently, was not on the field for practice again yesterday due to his torn biceps muscle, and is highly unlikely to play. Williams said safety Matt Bowen (knee) did not practice either and that the team will make a game-time decision whether he will play. Starting left tackle Chris Samuels (knee), rested Wednesday but practiced yesterday and is slated to play. Kicker John Hall missed yesterday's practice with the flu but is expected to be fine by tomorrow, Gibbs said.

Portis the 'Inspector'

Tailback Clinton Portis dressed as "Inspector Two-Two" for yesterday's media session, with a leather helmet, fake nose and mustache, black glasses and a small hat with blond pigtails coming down the side. Apparently, the mysterious demise of "Southeast Jerome," one of Portis's prior characters, remains unsolved. . . . Williams was unapologetic about the lack of Redskins defensive players on the Pro Bowl roster. "If they want more recognition, then play better and win more games," Williams said. . . . Giants second-year quarterback Eli Manning got his first taste of the Giants-Redskins rivalry last December in the Redskins' 31-7 win at FedEx Field. Manning completed 12 of 25 passes in that game for 113 yards and no interceptions or touchdowns. "I didn't play real well," Manning said. "They were loud. It's a big stadium. It's going to be loud, and we need to be prepared for that."

Staff writer Mark Maske contributed to this report.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company