By Jason La Canfora and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery said he expects to be on the sideline when the Washington Redskins open the season Thursday against the New York Giants. Montgomery played behind Kedric Golston in their rookie season -- 2006 -- then rose to be a starting defensive tackle last year. Golston held the job throughout the preseason, and Montgomery expects Golston will start at Giants Stadium.
"It looks like it's going to be Kedric," Montgomery said. "He's getting most of the reps in practice and after the Jacksonville game [preseason finale]. I'm guessing they made their evaluation, and that's who they chose to be the starter. So I just have to focus on my role."
The coaches have been hard on Montgomery since he entered the league -- defensive coordinator Greg Blache in particular -- and he has long battled being labeled an underachiever. The Redskins believe Montgomery has the talent and body frame to be an elite defensive tackle -- he is a gifted overall athlete -- and have tried to get him to play harder and with more of an edge.
"I've got this label that I don't want to work hard, that I don't want to be pushed," Montgomery said. "I kind of want to get that label off of me. This is the NFL. I'm not going to go out there and half-step it. I've been trying to get here my whole life, and to kind of have people just think I don't work hard and I need to be pushed, I don't know, it's almost like a slap in the face to me. If that's what they see in me, all I can do is go work and try to change their opinion."
Despite not starting, Montgomery should be in line for ample reps against the Giants, and Blache cautioned the battle was "a series-to-series deal." He believes in rotating linemen as often as possible to keep them fresh, and Montgomery will continue to have chances to prove his worth.
"I'm definitely going to play a lot," Montgomery said, "and when I'm out there I'm going to play as hard as I can and show them that I do work hard and that I deserve to play."Outside Concerns
LaRon Landry and Blache were keeping an eye on Hurricane Gustav yesterday.
Many of Landry's family members are staying with him in Virginia and at the Baltimore home of his brother, Dawan, a Ravens safety. "A lot of my family and my relatives are at my house right now," LaRon Landry said. "Some came in late Thursday night, some came Friday." Landry, who attended high school in Ama, La., has received updates from his family about the storm.
Close to 20 family members are "split between me and my brother's place," Landry said. "It is kind of a hassle. You come home straight from work, and then you've got to study, then deal with your family. It's kind of hard."
Obviously, Landry was concerned about the situation in Louisiana, but he is "really focused on the task at hand, and that's playing football, and winning against the Giants," he said.
Landry, who sat out the preseason because of a hamstring injury, went back to practice last week and has said he expects to start Thursday. "I feel great," he said. "Hopefully, I come out there and make up for what I lost those five weeks in training camp [and the preseason]."
Said Blache: "Hopefully, he can go in and knock the rust off without costing us anything."Still a Formidable Line
The defensive line played a major role in the Giants' Super Bowl victory last season but will have a different look Thursday. In June, seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan retired. On Aug. 23, Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora suffered a season-ending knee injury in a preseason game against the New York Jets.
"But they're still, in my opinion, among the best pass-rushing teams in the league," left guard Pete Kendall said. "Michael had the career that he had, and Osi has been to the last several Pro Bowls, but they've still got a lot of talent there."
Defensive lineman Justin Tuck, who had 10 sacks last season, will take over for Strahan. After Umenyiora was injured, the Giants moved third-year linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end.Other Tidbits
Safety Kareem Moore (hamstring) missed practice again and is unlikely to play, Zorn said, while rookie wide receiver Malcolm Kelly (knee) will not play Thursday, Zorn said, and probably will miss Week 2 as well. . . . Blache and Zorn said that whether Jason Taylor, who turned 34 yesterday and again missed practice, will play Thursday remains a game-time decision. "He is improving, and yet not good enough to do anything full speed," Zorn said. It continues to look like Demetric Evans will start Thursday. . . . Clinton Portis turned 27 yesterday. . . . The Redskins signed wide receiver Devin Aromashodu to the practice squad. Aromashodu is a former teammate of quarterback Jason Campbell at Auburn who spent part of last year on Indianapolis's active roster and was released by the Colts over the weekend.