washingtonpost.com
Moss Unsure If He'll Play Against Eagles

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Receiver Santana Moss said his strained hamstring is healing but he is still unsure if he will be able to play this weekend in Philadelphia. Tackle Jon Jansen (calf), tight end Chris Cooley (shoulder) and tight end Christian Fauria (ankle) were among a handful of players receiving treatment yesterday at Redskins Park as well.

Moss, Washington's leading receiver by far, set a franchise record for receiving yards in 2005, and no other wide receiver on the team has even 200 yards this season. Coach Joe Gibbs said he is remaining optimistic about Moss being able to face the Eagles, but admits the injury could require another week of rest as some blood has gathered at the bottom of his left hamstring.

"Certainly, that guy's got to run 100 miles per hour on the field," Gibbs said. "You can't rush that back."

Moss had missed just one game dating from 2002 before sitting out the Dallas game, and is taking every precaution with his hamstring, trying to avoid having it become a more chronic problem.

"I'm moving in the right direction," Moss said. "I'm taking the right steps towards being better. That's all I can pretty much say. I'm feeling pretty good."

Jansen and Cooley said they expect to feel better shortly, but were in some pain yesterday. Fauria almost was scratched Sunday in warmups with the ankle problem, but was able to get through the game. Bubba Tyer, director of sports medicine, called the injuries Sunday "bumps and bruises," and did not expect them to keep anyone from playing.

Numbers Unkind to Defense

Washington's defense slumped to 30th in the NFL after nearly allowing 400 yards again Sunday. The Redskins rank 30th against the pass, and last in interceptions and sacks per pass play. They are also last in the NFL in average yards allowed per pass.

Creating turnovers has been nearly impossible. The Redskins have five take-aways, fewest in the NFL, and have gone four games and 17 quarters since last recovering a fumble or intercepting a pass.

They rank 26th in third-down efficiency on defense and Dallas converted nine of its first 12 third-down chances Sunday, including several third-and-long tries.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, making his second career start, was the latest inexperienced passer to carve up Washington's secondary. The Redskins have allowed quarterbacks to post a 102.4 passer rating, worst in the NFL, with a 16-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio, also worst in the league.

Duckett Sits, Waits

Tailback T.J. Duckett was supposed to be a short-yardage specialist, but has just five carries all season -- all in Week 2 -- and never got off the bench Sunday even when the Redskins ran eight plays from the 10-yard line on the opening drive, and four from inside the 2. The Redskins rushed all four times and failed to score.

"You can't stress over it and you can't dwell on it," said Duckett, eligible for unrestricted free agency at season's end. "You just keep trying to do your part."

Coaches and teammates have praised Duckett's team-first attitude, but the former first round pick, acquired for a steep price in a preseason trade, remains a spectator. Gibbs pointed to the players in front of Duckett as the reason for him sitting even around the goal line. "My answer to that is Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts," Gibbs said.

Running backs coach Earnest Byner said the staff has discussed inserting Duckett for certain plays the last four weeks but the move to bring him in has not been made, through no fault of Duckett's. "T.J. is ready, he's champing at the bit," Byner said. "He's still hoping for an opportunity."

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company