After an Active Practice, Springs Seems Ready to Return

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 13, 2006

Cornerback Shawn Springs had a strong performance in practice yesterday and appears likely to make his season debut when the Washington Redskins play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Springs, whom the team listed as questionable in its injury report to the league, has been out since the preseason opener with groin and abdominal injuries. But he made several plays in practice and, according to a source, is "a strong possibility" to play Sunday.

Given his prolonged absence, Springs likely will not start but could appear in some defensive alignments, according to Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense. Springs, who declined to comment other than to say he is progressing well, is Washington's best one-on-one defensive back and by far its most highly regarded cornerback.

"It was nice to see Shawn Springs get a nice interception in practice today," Williams said. "It was a kind of a catalyst for a waterfall of interceptions that happened today in practice and everybody was giving him a lot of the credit on finally somebody catching one. It was a really nice play in a two-minute drill we had against our offense. He's coming along well. We take it each day and I've got to see how he bounces every single day, but he has progressed very well this week."

The Redskins have just two interceptions through five games, and second-year cornerback Carlos Rogers in particular has dropped errant passes that could have been picked off. Williams is eager for more big plays from the defense -- the Redskins have registered more than one sack in a game only once -- and Springs has natural playmaking abilities.

Safety Adam Archuleta and defensive end Andre Carter, whom the Redskins acquired as free agents in the offseason because of their big-play capabilities, still are adjusting to their teammates and the system, Williams said, but are showing signs of breaking through.

"We hope it comes in a real hurry and can produce some turnovers, because we need some of those takeaways going down the stretch," Williams said.

Injury Report

Punter Derrick Frost's right calf was wrapped yesterday, but he practiced and is expected to play Sunday. Frost remains listed as probable. He was excused from practice Wednesday because of the death of his grandmother.

Three defensive linemen -- Cornelius Griffin (hip), Joe Salave'a (calf) and Phillip Daniels (back) -- missed practice again. Daniels and Griffin should play, but Salave'a is listed as questionable. Given the line's shaky health, the Redskins could opt to dress extra players at the position Sunday, Williams said.

Linebacker Marcus Washington (hip) also missed practice but is listed as probable. Wide receiver David Patten, who was inactive for Sunday's loss to the Giants, has a thigh injury and missed practice. Guard Derrick Dockery (hip) was added to the injury report, but is probable.

Not Taking the Bait

Williams declined to respond to teasing by Tennessee Coach Jeff Fisher, saying he will refrain from giving his longtime friend any bulletin board material. Fisher joked Wednesday that he has forgotten more about defense than Williams knows. The two talk every week, but will not speak this week about their families or anything else. After the game, however, they will rekindle their relationship. "I will be talking to him about his comments after the ballgame," Williams said. Fisher's flair for the unpredictable could be a big factor, Williams said, and the Redskins' defense must be wary of gadget plays. "We have to be on our toes with every trick imaginable," he said.

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