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Defensive Rookies Tackle a Steep Learning Curve

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 16, 2006

The loss to Tennessee yesterday was a learning experience for Washington Redskins rookie defensive tackles Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery, and while they struggled at times Golston did produce what could have been a game-changing play.

The rookies, along with reserve lineman Ryan Boschetti, who had been inactive recently, were forced into heavy duty with Joe Salave'a and Cornelius Griffin out, including on short-yardage plays and crucial snaps inside the 20-yard line.

The Titans were driving to take the lead in the fourth quarter, when running back Travis Henry plowed ahead on third and three from the Washington 15. He cut outside on Golston, heading left, when the sixth-round pick dived, wrapped him up with one arm and knocked him to the grass one yard short of the first down.

Tennessee opted for a 30-yard field goal, making it 25-22, but the tackle could have been critical as the Redskins still had a little more than five minutes left in the game. Golston said the team missed the leadership of Griffin and Salave'a on the line, but made no excuses for the loss.

"I'm blessed just to be in this situation and I've got to make the most of it," Golston said. "Every rep and every play, we're expected to get it done no matter who is out there, and we didn't get it done today."

Said Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams, "They're only going to get better the more they play."

Two-Point Switch

Washington committed a special-teams blunder in the third quarter that helped shift the game in the Titans' favor. Derrick Frost was defenseless when punting from the 25, and Tennessee reserve tight end Casey Cramer sprinted up the middle and blocked the kick. Frost alertly followed the ball into the end zone and knocked it out of a bounds for a safety, preventing a Tennessee touchdown.

Redskins special teams stalwart Mi ke Sellers said he may have missed a block, but would have to watch the tape of the play first.

Long snapper Ethan Albright blocked to the right after the snap, and no one filled the gap to his left. Cramer stormed up the middle -- it was not a called block attempt -- and the safety gave the Titans a 22-14 lead.

"I didn't get touched," said Cramer, playing just his second NFL game. "For whatever reason, they had the center going the opposite way and the personal protector didn't pick me up."

Duckett Does Not Play, Again

Tailback T.J. Duckett was active but never got on the field. He has appeared in just one game this season after being acquired for the equivalent of a high third-round pick in the preseason. . . .

Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, a key offseason acquisition, was held to a catch or less for the fourth time in six games. But his one grab yesterday was significant -- a 52-yard bomb on a touchdown drive -- but he has yet to catch more than three balls in a game. "As a player you just do what you're told," Lloyd said. "That's pretty much how we look at it." . . .

Safety Curry Burns, center Mike Pucillo, tackle Jim Molinaro, wide receiver David Patten (thigh) and quarterback Jason Campbell were inactive. . . .

Quarterback Mark Brunell suffered a torn toenail but stayed in the game. . . .

The Redskins are now 19-21 in 40 games under Gibbs including the playoffs. During his first stint, the team went 29-11 in its first 40 games with a Super Bowl victory.

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