Evans Steps In And Keeps Up The Pressure
When starting defensive end Renaldo Wynn left the game with a broken forearm in the first half of the Washington Redskins' 17-10 playoff victory over Tampa Bay Saturday, it was another example of the team's inability to assemble a fully healthy squad. Just when cornerback Carlos Rogers returned from injury, Wynn was lost for the season.
But the Redskins still were able to apply pressure on Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms from the left end, thanks to reserve lineman Demetric Evans. Evans wound up playing most of the game and recorded two tackles, a sack and was credited with one pass defense. It was his first sack since Dec. 11 at Arizona, his fourth this season and the kind of play that gives him confidence, especially considering he will likely be the one who replaces Wynn in Saturday's playoff game at Seattle. It is also helpful to Evans that he'll be playing on the left end, his most natural position.
"I think it helped me. Renaldo was very helpful with me because he's a leader," Evans said. "I think playing on the outside is where I feel most comfortable."
Evans is going to be the latest player on the Redskins' defense asked to step into a big role and produce in a playoff atmosphere. On Saturday, after safety Sean Taylor was ejected for spitting at Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman, Pierson Prioleau was inserted into the lineup at safety and was immediately tested.
"These are the things that we talked about. You have to be prepared, be ready in case something happens and you have to go in there and fill a void," said Redskins defensive tackle Joe Salave'a. "Demetric is a proven player and he's got to come in and play a little more. I think he's ready. Renaldo's a big part of this team but we're going to have to keep going on."
The Redskins yesterday put Wynn on injured reserve, meaning he is officially out for the season. They signed linebacker Nick McNeil from the practice squad to replace Wynn on the active roster.
On Sunday, Clinton Portis walked into Redskins Park with two ailing shoulders, shoulders that he said will not heal until after the season when he'll be allowed to rest. The Redskins running back played less regularly toward the end of Saturday's game and was replaced by Ladell Betts.
Portis said he was suffering from a stinger in his shoulder, football slang for a temporarily pinched nerve. Portis said he injured himself in pass coverage, but was surprised that the Tampa defenders had hit him as cleanly as they did.
"It wasn't that it was hurting me, but I kept catching stingers, so my arms were going numb," Portis said. "We were up, so there wasn't much use going in there taking a pounding and continually doing it. Ladell and Rock [Cartwright] are capable backs, too. So as long as we were in position, they were going to go with Ladell.
"The last two weeks, it's been happening, but I don't think it will stop me from playing this week. You gear up to play, and hopefully it will go away."
Surgery For Thrash
Wide receiver James Thrash underwent surgery yesterday for a fractured thumb. Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs was uncertain as to whether Thrash will be available for Saturday's game against the Seahawks.
"They put a small plate in his thumb," Gibbs said. "We feel like it will be day-to-day." Gibbs added that Thrash could play because he played for three quarters with the injury Saturday in Tampa, and also because the cast he'll be wearing will expose part of the top of his thumb, making it possible for him to catch passes.
It has been a difficult second half of the season for Thrash, who returned two weeks ago from a strained hamstring that caused him to miss four games. He returned Dec. 24 against the New York Giants and the following week at Philadelphia caught a 41-yard pass that set up a score. . . .
Gibbs said he thought right tackle Jon Jansen would be knocked out against Tampa Bay with an injured back. Jansen remained in the game. . . . In an unusual move for a Gibbs team, the Redskins will leave for Seattle on Thursday, two days before the game. The reason is because of the long flight and time change. Gibbs said with the short week, the team will have dinner on the plane and rest Thursday, and practice in Seattle midday on Friday.
-- Howard Bryant