Vincent Signed to Bolster Secondary

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Washington Redskins signed veteran defensive back Troy Vincent yesterday in an effort to invigorate a secondary that has been victimized in each of the first six games of the season.

Vincent, 35, has played 15 seasons for Miami, Philadelphia and Buffalo, where he played two years for Redskins cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray. Vincent said Gray called him after the Bills released him last Thursday.

"We talked a week ago. Jerry made the call and spoke to Coach [Joe] Gibbs and Gregg [Williams, assistant head coach-defense] had reached out to me. It was the best situation for me and my family logistically," Vincent said. "I'm kind of familiar with the system and I feel like they have a chance to win and compete and get into postseason play."

As a cornerback and later free safety, Vincent earned Pro Bowl berths in five consecutive years from 1999 through 2003. He spent the best years of his career with the Eagles from 1996 to 2003 after entering the league in 1992 as a cornerback with the Dolphins. He converted to safety in 2004, his first year in Buffalo.

Both Vincent and Gray said Vincent would be used in a variety of ways, in the nickel formation or as a free safety or cornerback. Vincent said he was playing cornerback in Buffalo before a dispute over a hamstring injury forced his release.

"To me, we'll find out where we need him. I know he can play free safety, nickel and corner," Gray said. "He's made a living from it. He made the Pro Bowl as a corner, and he led Buffalo the last two years in interceptions as a safety."

Vincent joins a secondary that hasn't jelled, a problem that has plagued the Redskins since the early days of training camp when starting cornerback Shawn Springs tore a portion of his abdominal muscle from his pelvic bone Aug. 13 at Cincinnati.

During training camp, the Redskins dealt fifth wide receiver Taylor Jacobs to San Francisco for Mike Rumph. On the opening kickoff of the season, nickel safety Pierson Prioleau tore ligaments in his left knee and was lost for the season. Cornerback Kenny Wright has struggled at times.

The secondary has been susceptible to big plays. Only Green Bay has given up more pass plays of at least 20 yards. The Packers have yielded 28 to the Redskins' 25. The Redskins are 24th in the league in passing yards allowed and only 1-5 Arizona has given up more plays of 40 yards or more (seven) than the Redskins' six.

"I'm very familiar, watched a lot of tape, and I think there's talent on this defense," Vincent said. "I'm familiar with what's going on. Obviously, I don't think anyone thought they would be 2-4 at this time in the season, but that's football."

To make room for Vincent, safety Curry Burns was released for the second time this season. Burns, who was inactive against Tennessee, was cut during training camp, then brought back.

Forgettable First Start

Rookie Anthony Montgomery's dream to start in the NFL came true on Sunday against Tennessee. However, the results of the afternoon were, from his standpoint, completely forgettable.

Montgomery got the start at defensive tackle for Cornelius Griffin, who has been fighting a hip injury for the past two weeks. With Joe Salave'a already injured with a strained left calf, the Redskins started rookies Montgomery and Kedric Golston together for the first time. Golston made his first start three weeks ago against Houston.

But winless Tennessee ran directly at the two young tackles, racking up 194 yards and a touchdown in a 25-22 win. Titans running back Travis Henry rushed for a career-high 178 yards on 32 carries. Montgomery received an education going up against veteran center Kevin Mawae.

"I've been better," Montgomery said. "What did they rush for, 32 carries for 180 yards or something? That's just a slap in the face."

Montgomery took his debut hard, but the Redskins had struggled against the run a week earlier at New York, when the Giants rushed for 155 yards, 123 by Tiki Barber alone. Montgomery was inactive for that game.

"These are the things you have to go through as a rookie, the learning process," he said. "You have to learn from your mistakes. Having to go against a 13-year veteran didn't help, either. Those guys have a lot of tricks." . . .

Starting cornerback Carlos Rogers had th ree sc rews inserted to stabilize his broken right thumb yesterday. Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said he will be evaluated later in the week. . . . Left guard Derrick Dockery has a strained hip flexor, and wide receiver David Patten (thigh) will begin limited practice tomorrow. Griffin and Salave'a will be evaluated as the week continues.

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