Williams Expects to Rotate LBs

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 21, 2007

Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, closely guards his starting lineup. So it was no surprise that he was not forthcoming about who will replace injured linebacker Rocky McIntosh against the Vikings on Sunday night. He did allow, however, that veteran Randall Godfrey, who was inactive last week, will be involved and expected to play a heavy role against the NFL's top-ranked running offense.

Godfrey, 34, was signed just before the season to add depth at linebacker, and although he has lost some quickness, he remains a strong player suited to stopping the run. Williams praised the work of rookie H.B. Blades, who filled in on first and second downs for McIntosh, and veteran Khary Campbell, who played in McIntosh's spot on passing downs.

"Depending upon the score of the ballgame and what kind of ballgame it is, we're going to try to rotate as many guys in as we can," Williams said. "And [Godfrey] is in some packages, yes. I think it does fit his style of play. He's an excellent run football player and I'm real glad we got him here because he's done some very good things in the run game all year for us."

McIntosh was placed on injured reserve Wednesday and could miss all of next season recovering from surgery to repair torn knee ligaments.

Draw Play Succeeds

Last week the Redskins found a go-to running play against the Giants, executing a delayed draw to perfection. But against the Vikings -- who boast two mammoth defensive tackles and the NFL's best run defense -- it might be just as effective.

While a typical draw play is run from the shotgun formation, Sunday night the Redskins had quarterback Todd Collins under center. He would drop back -- usually five steps -- and fake a pass, freezing the defense with his play-action -- then hand off to Clinton Portis or Ladell Betts. The Giants, who are very aggressive at the line of scrimmage, were vulnerable and Betts scored from 14 yards on the play in the first half. On the next drive Portis ran the delayed draw for gains of 31 and 10 yards before the Giants adjusted in the second half.

"It's just something that evolved in the game," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "It wasn't something new, really planned on."

But Vikings Pro Bowl tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are less likely to be duped. "It's really going to be tough to run that on these guys," Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels said. "They're big and strong, but they can also run. They're very quick."

Yoder on the Mend

Tight end Todd Yoder (knee) missed practice again with a sore knee, but the team is hopeful he will practice today and could be active Sunday night. . . . The Redskins have signs around the facility urging players to drink plenty of fluids all week. The Metrodome is notoriously hot and sticky. . . . Defensive end Alex Buzbee, an undrafted rookie from Georgetown, was thrilled to be promoted to the active roster. Williams was pleased that he added strength, and began adapting to the pro game from his humble college roots. "To be this young and coming in from such a small school, I've made some good strides," Buzbee said. . . . Santana Moss and Portis returned to practice, a day after sitting out the team's walk-through because of a stomach flu.

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