Defense Gets an Early Start on Delivering the Sacks
Monday, October 2, 2006
The Washington Redskins entered the game against Jacksonville at FedEx Field with one sack in each of their first three games, then posted three sacks in the first 18 minutes yesterday -- one of many areas of improvement in a 36-30 overtime win over the Jaguars.
The long-dormant pass rush came to life against drop-back passer Byron Leftwich. Washington's defense looked like its aggressive self, stuffing the run and blitzing from the secondary to rattle the passer, even without two starters -- tackle Joe Salave'a and cornerback Shawn Springs.
Washington received its first tangible contributions from big free agent signings Andre Carter and Adam Archuleta, who had come under heavy criticism the first three weeks. Carter, an end, and Archuleta, a safety, registered their first sacks of the season, and, late in the third quarter, Carter hit Leftwich as he threw, leading to an interception that gave the Redskins the ball at the Jacksonville 29-yard line.
"We wanted it to all boil down to the trenches," Carter said. "Our defensive line as a unit, had a great rotation. We tag-teamed it."
The defensive line entered with only 1 1/2 sacks, and Carter and Phillip Daniels picked up their first sacks early on. The Redskins posted four sacks for the game, with one by lineman Demetric Evans. The Redskins also got beat several times downfield when blitzing, however, and continued to struggle defending the pass.
Cartwright Makes Big Returns
Tailback Rock Cartwright was a sparkplug through the entire game, returning kicks with aplomb, including a huge 46-yard runback after Jacksonville tied the score at 27 late in the game. Cartwright, who returned a kick for a touchdown against Dallas, powered his way straight ahead on most returns, finding creases and exploding through them.
He averaged 30 yards on his five returns, and was a primary reason why the Redskins enjoyed superior field position much of the day, a great outing after fumbling on a running play in Houston. "I had a crucial fumble last week, so right now I'm just trying to hold on to the ball, and get it out to the 30-yard line," he said. . .
Salave'a seemed all but certain to return to the lineup Thursday after completing another full day of practice, but instead missed a second straight game with a right calf injury. Rookie Kedric Golston started his second straight game in Salave'a's absence, and was very active again, including batting one pass down at the line.
Golston, a 2006 sixth-round pick, and lineman Anthony Montgomery, a fifth-round pick, have continued to develop rapidly and work their way into the rotation. Veteran lineman Ryan Boschetti was inactive for the second straight game. Washington's secondary also remained depleted with Springs yet to play this season because of abdominal and groin injuries. The defense has yielded at least one pass of 30 yards or more in every game. . . .
The coaches opted to deactivate T.J. Duckett for the second straight week, and have gotten virtually no production out of the running back since acquiring him in the preseason.
Campbell Still Biding His Time
Jason Campbell was designated the third quarterback. The 2005 first-round choice has been inactive for 20 straight games and has never officially dressed for an NFL contest. Rookie safety Reed Doughty, reserve center Mike Pucillo and tackle Jim Molinaro also were inactive. . . .
Place kicker John Hall again handled kickoff duties and connected on a field goal more than 40 yards for the second straight week. "I never really felt like I was kicking bad," said Hall, who missed a last-second kick in Week 1. "I just missed one kick, but it happened to be at the wrong time."