Smoot Shaken, Then Stirred, After His Hard-Hitting Tackle

Washington amasses 381 yards with an efficient, well-balanced offense and a banged up Redskins defense limits a high-powered Dallas attack for a victory.
By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, September 29, 2008

IRVING, Tex., Sept. 28 -- Cornerback Fred Smoot's head-first tackle of Dallas wide receiver Patrick Crayton in the final minute of the third quarter of Sunday's 26-24 victory over Dallas at Texas Stadium left the cornerback momentarily shaken and unusually quiet.

It also left teammates making cracks at his expense, with fellow cornerback Carlos Rogers holding up fingers on the sideline to see whether Smoot could still count.

"He was back in Ashburn when he got up," Coach Jim Zorn said. "I think he thought he was on the practice field."

"I did," Smoot agreed. "Then I looked up and we were in Texas Stadium, so it was time to play some football."

Smoot admitted he was "out of there for a minute" after the collision, and joked he initially thought he was Batman when he got up.

"I was clueless; you could have called me a blonde," he said.

The cornerback went back into the game and was credited with a tackle on Dallas's final drive.

Injured Taylor Sits

After starting in 133 consecutive regular season games, Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Taylor sat out Sunday's victory.

Taylor, who injured his left calf Sept. 21 in a 24-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at FedEx Field, underwent emergency surgery the following day to relieve compartment syndrome, a buildup of pressure on muscle groups within the body because of internal bleeding.

Although Taylor is sidelined indefinitely and could be out "a couple of months," he said recently, the Redskins are encouraged about his recovery.

Late last week, Taylor no longer needed the assistance of crutches or a protective boot on his left leg.

"He threw his boot across the room," Zorn said. "He's in shoes, doing fine, he wants to get back. What's really good about that situation is there's no infection. That would be a setback. There's no infection, things are healing, [and] he'll be progressing now. I don't know how long one of those takes. It's my first time seeing this."

As expected, versatile defensive lineman Demetric Evans started in place of Taylor at left defensive end. Because Evans also lines up as a defensive tackle in nickel situations, the Redskins also used defensive ends Chris Wilson and Erasmus James in a rotation.

Springs Leaves Early

Cornerback Shawn Springs, who is having a superior season, left the game midway through the third quarter and did not come back because of a left calf strain. Springs was blanketing star wide receiver Terrell Owens, as he did to Arizona's Anquan Boldin the week before, but ended up on the sidelines in pain.

He received treatment for much of the quarter, with massage and tape unable to allow him to walk normally, he ended up sitting out the duration of the win.

"I heard something pop, so I knew I was coming out of the game for a while," Springs said. "It feels like a strain, and I hope it's not too bad. I hope I can play next week."

Kelly Absent Again

Rookie wide receiver Malcolm Kelly hopes to be back for next week's game in Philadelphia but was a spectator again Sunday. Kelly has been battling injuries since the first week of training camp and has yet to get into full game shape with all of the setbacks. He is fighting through an ankle problem now that has yet to heal sufficiently for him to be able to play.

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