Defense Is Not Sleeping On Garcia

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 8, 2006

The Washington Redskins have become used to chasing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb around the field, and with him out for the season, they expect to do the same with backup quarterback Jeff Garcia on Sunday at FedEx Field. Garcia, 36, is not nearly as gifted as McNabb at this stage of his career, but he remains elusive and mobile.

"The biggest thing is Donovan scrambles and he can throw and scramble, and Garcia scrambles and throws, too," Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs said.

"So Coach [Andy] Reid and his system they have in Philly, they've been keeping the train moving. Donovan missed most of last year and he's going to miss a lot of this year, and he's maybe had one healthy year in the last three, and they've still been winning, so obviously the system up there is working."

Garcia beat the Redskins in 2004 as a member of the Cleveland Browns, and though he is no longer playing at a Pro Bowl level, he showed poise and playmaking ability in rallying the Eagles over Carolina on Monday night. That victory kept Philadelphia (6-6) very much in the hunt for a wild-card spot in the mediocre NFC.

While common sense might seem to dictate that facing the Eagles without McNabb would be a big boost for the Redskins, several defensive players said they fully respected Garcia's ability to win as well.

"You know what? You never know in this league," linebacker Marcus Washington said. "You have to be ready to play every week. I remember a long time ago we went to New England, and there was no [Drew] Bledsoe. Of course, we got [Tom] Brady. So you never know."

Several Redskins have strong ties to McNabb. Springs is close to him and has participated in the rigorous offseason workout programs McNabb hosts at his home in Arizona. Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell is friendly with McNabb, and they exchange calls and text messages. Although Campbell said he has not chatted with McNabb since the Pro Bowler tore ligaments in his knee and underwent surgery, he plans to visit McNabb this offseason.

QB's Pay Stays Put

Campbell took over the starting job too late this season to meet any contract escalators, according to sources with knowledge of his contract, but could be primed to do so in 2007.

Campbell received a $4.97 million signing bonus after being drafted 25th overall in 2005, and will make $372,500 this season. He is set to make $635,500 next season, but that could rise dramatically should Campbell take 60 percent of Washington's snaps, make the Pro Bowl or place in the top five in major quarterback statistical categories.

The Injury Front

The Redskins had most of their injured players back on the field for yesterday's practice, but tackle Jon Jansen (calf) and tight end Todd Yoder (thigh) did not participate.

Jansen's injury is the biggest concern, because his right calf injury has become more painful as the season has progressed.

Center Casey Rabach (shin), defensive tackle Phillip Daniels (ankles), cornerback Kenny Wright (knee) and linebacker Khary Campbell (hamstring) were back in uniform for practice. All are listed as probable.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company