All Along the Lines, Reserves Are Tested
Friday, September 1, 2006
The Redskins had ample opportunity to evaluate the depth of their offensive and defensive lines during the preseason finale last night at FedEx Field, with six regulars from those units missing the game. Defensive linemen Cornelius Griffin (knee), Phillip Daniels (back), Renaldo Wynn (ankle) and Demetric Evans (infected wisdom tooth) are injured, while the coaches opted to rest veteran offensive linemen Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas after they picked up "bumps and bruises" in practice this week.
Backup quarterback Jason Campbell left the game at halftime of a 17-10 loss to the Ravens with a minor hamstring injury -- "I felt like I could keep playing," Campbell said, "but they said there was no need to risk it" -- and reserve wide receiver Jimmy Farris left with a hamstring problem, too, although he said it was minor.
Reserve offensive linemen are of particular importance to the team, with little proven talent beyond the starters, and with Samuels and Thomas out there was more time to observe them in a game situation. Jim Molinaro, out most of camp recovering from knee surgery, started in place of Samuels at left tackle and was targeted on the first series by Baltimore's blitz, nearly giving up a sack. Ikechuku Ndukwe started in Thomas's spot, right guard, and the second-team line yielded six sacks in all on what was a miserable night for that unit.
Griffin and Daniels are starters, and the club is cautiously optimistic both will be back for the start of the regular season. Numerous players rotated in and out of the defensive line last night under the circumstances. Starting cornerback Shawn Springs is recovering from abdominal surgery, an absence that could linger for several more weeks. Starting running back Clinton Portis is recovering from a partially dislocated left shoulder, an injury suffered early in the preseason opener in Cincinnati. Linebacker Robert McCune, a fifth-round pick in 2005, was out with a hamstring injury, which could hurt his chances to make the club. Safety Reed Doughty, a sixth-round pick in April, missed the game to be with his wife in Colorado while she gave birth.
Wide receiver Santana Moss, who sat out Tuesday's practice with soreness in his upper leg, was in uniform for the game but did not get on the field. Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El did not enter the game, either. Coach Joe Gibbs said Randle El was scheduled to play, but his packages were not called in the quarter the starters were used.
Campbell, who has yet to throw a regular season pass, said he was pleased overall with his second preseason. He finished with 26 completions in 51 attempts for 270 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
"I feel like I did some good things," Campbell said. "I also did some things I have to learn from, but that's all part of the process. I've got to keep learning."
Gibbs was displeased with the 0-4 preseason in which the Redskins were outscored 104-27. "There's no excuse for that," Gibbs said. "If people beat us, they beat us. My thumbs up to them. They're doing the same things we're doing, and they wind up winning the ballgame. That's four times against us, and I give those people credit." . . .
Special teams coach Danny Smith was fuming after his team was caught with 12 men on the field in the first quarter, negating Matt Stover's 49-yard field goal miss and giving Baltimore a fourth-and-one opportunity. The Ravens converted that and went on to score the opening touchdown. Starting safety Adam Archuleta was involved in both big plays on the drive, with Devard Darling catching a 35-yard pass in front of him, and Mark Clayton grabbing a 15-yard touchdown pass between Archuleta and cornerback Carlos Rogers.