By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
A couple of figures seemed to take the Washington Redskins by surprise on the first day of practice yesterday after the bye week. Naturally, players were still shocked by their 2-5 record. The other was that Sunday's game against Dallas at FedEx Field likely will mark the first time that starting cornerbacks Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers will open a game together.
Like much of a defense that has had to deviate from the master plan, Springs and Rogers were supposed to anchor the cornerback positions -- one being a proven veteran and the other a 2005 top 10 draft pick who played immediately and was slated to be a major factor at his position.
Nothing of the sort has occurred this season. Springs played one series in the preseason opener Aug. 13 in Cincinnati, underwent abdominal surgery the next day and did not take the field again until in a reserve role in a 25-22 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 15. Springs did not start until a week later, when the Redskins lost, 36-22, in Indianapolis.
Rogers started every game in Springs's absence until breaking his thumb against Tennessee but struggled in coverage, at times by picking up costly penalties, and by dropping potential interceptions that could have turned games around. While Springs was on the field against Indianapolis, Rogers didn't play against the Colts. But on Sunday, the pair the Redskins counted on will finally be on the field at the same time.
"If you had told me that coming into this season, I wouldn't ever have believed it," Springs said. "I never even saw my surgery coming because in OTAs [organized team activities] and training camp and everything, I was having my best year. Getting us together should calm some things down."
The assignment will not be an easy one. The Cowboys' receiving duo of Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn is -- along with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne of Indianapolis, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona and Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh of Cincinnati -- one of the best in the league.
Glenn, a former teammate of Springs at Ohio State, caught a 40-yard touchdown pass that broke open a 27-10 Dallas win over the Redskins in Week 2.New Cowboy in Charge
The last time the Cowboys came to FedEx Field, on Dec. 18, the Redskins had won two straight games and feasted on quarterback Drew Bledsoe, sacking him seven times and intercepting him three times.
This weekend, the immobile Bledsoe will be on the bench, and Tony Romo will be the Dallas quarterback. Romo was impressive Sunday at Carolina, throwing for 270 yards and a touchdown in a 35-14 rout.
"I like Romo. To me, he's close to a Jake Plummer, movement-like guy, but maybe closer to Drew Brees, one of those guys who is athletic enough to move out of the pocket but yet still throw like a [Matt] Hasselbeck or guys like that," Springs said. "I'm just making a comparison. Maybe he'll end up being better than those guys."Campbell With First Team
With quarterback Mark Brunell not practicing, Jason Campbell took the snaps in practice yesterday. It was the third time in a week that Campbell worked with the first team. In two practices before the bye, it was Campbell, and not backup Todd Collins, who worked with the first team.
"You can know everything you need to know, but you still have to have that chemistry together," Campbell said. "Right now, you have to stay patient, and stay confident. You have to understand that when your number is called, you can go in there and produce. I try to stay positive about everything."
Campbell accepted a fair amount of hazing during yesterday's interview session from teammates, razzing him that he "might actually get into a game." Brunell, however, is expected to play against Dallas. . . .
Former offensive lineman Ray Brown attended practice yesterday and is expected to join the organization as a consultant today.