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Cronan Attempts To Instill Some Focus

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 27, 2006

FOXBOROUGH, Mass., Aug. 26 -- After the Washington Redskins' loss to the New York Jets last week was marred by special teams penalties and mental lapses, Coach Joe Gibbs invited his former special teams player Pete Cronan to speak to the team at the Ritz-Carlton on Friday in Boston.

Cronan played nine years in the NFL and for Gibbs from 1981 to '85, and was a member of two the Super Bowl teams that defeated Miami and lost to the Los Angeles Raiders. Gibbs and Cronan have always been close. When Gibbs was inducted into the Hall of the Fame in 1996, he invited Cronan to the ceremony and mentioned him in his remarks. Cronan, a former star at Boston College lives in the Boston area.

The Redskins started the game with a first-team special teams unit. Kenny Wright, James Thrash, Pierson Prioleau, Buck Ortega, Rocky McIntosh, Mike Sellers, Khary Campbell, Sean Taylor, Ade Jimoh and Mike Rumph were on the field.

It did not help. Patriots rookie Laurence Maroney took the opening kick from David Lonie and ran 36 yards. Jeff Posey, the linebacker signed two weeks ago, was called for holding on a second-quarter kickoff, and punter Derrick Frost shanked a punt that traveled just 23 yards.

Lumsden in Limbo

For the first two weeks of camp, Canadian running back Jesse Lumsden was positioning himself as the surprise of the camp. He had impressed Redskins coaches with his speed and running power in the scrimmage against Baltimore but missed the first preseason game at Cincinnati with a shoulder injury. Last week, Lumsden barely played, seeing his first action late in the second half.

Lumsden's chances of making the team are further complicated by the arrival of T.J. Duckett, acquired from Atlanta in a three-way trade that also involved Denver.

The trade has already created consternation among Redskins reserves fighting for a place on the depth chart and made uncertain the roles of three established players -- Rock Cartwright, Mike Sellers and Ladell Betts. Betts had worked for the previous two seasons as the primary backup to Clinton Portis, but Duckett may have displaced him.

Associate head coach Al Saunders has for weeks praised Betts's short-yardage ability, but Duckett is a short-yardage specialist. Cartwright was brought back as a free agent, but Duckett, who practiced only one day this week, played Saturday night, rushing four times for eight yards. Lumsden rushed once for one yard.

"It's been hectic," Duckett said. "I'm still trying to learn a new offense and new situation. It's just been a learning process all week."

Wynn 'Horse-Collared'

Defensive end Renaldo Wynn walked to the team bus with his right foot in a boot, courtesy of what he called an illegal takedown by Patriots tight end Daniel Graham. Wynn left the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle.

"The guy horse-collared me, and I let him hear about it," said Wynn, who started at left end in place of the injured Phillip Daniels. "I was about to make the tackle and he grabbed me." . . .

The players who did not practice during the week did not play. Offensively, tight end Robert Johnson (ankle), lineman Jim Molinaro (knee), and Portis did not play. Defensively, linebackers Kevin Simon (abdomen) and Robert McCune (hamstring) were out. Defensive end Daniels (back) and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (knee) were also out, as was cornerback Shawn Springs (abdomen).

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