No Matter His Age, Springs Has Impact

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Even after the Redskins' victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Terrell Owens couldn't shake Shawn Springs. After covering the wide receiver all afternoon, the cornerback followed his longtime friend home and watched the Chicago Bears defeat the Philadelphia Eagles.

Television commentators who expressed surprise that he played well against Owens, his offseason workout partner, amused Springs. "He didn't really say much to me after the game," Springs said of Owens. "We just sat there and watched a little bit of the Chicago game at his condo.

"You know what's the funny thing about this? This is what I laugh at: You hear commentators like, 'Shawn Springs, for an older corner, can cover.' I was like, 'Hold it! He's two years older than me.' "

Springs, 33, is in his 12th season in the league and had permission from the Redskins to stay in Dallas to visit his father, who remains in a coma there. Owens, who turns 35 in December, is a 13-year veteran.

"People forget stuff like that," Springs said. "That's funny. The reason why I was drafted was to play bigger receivers. It's not the first time we've matched up. It's probably been like eight times.

"He's so used to playing against me, and how I'm going to play him, he's used to it. It's not like he's going to quit. He's a competitor. He's going to keep working. He knows I'm going to keep trying to jam him and keep trying to cover him."

With Springs in coverage, Owens caught a 10-yard touchdown pass on the Cowboys' opening possession of the third quarter. Springs did not reenter the game after injuring his calf in the quarter, and Carlos Rogers also fared well against Owens, who finished with seven receptions for 71 yards after gaining 11 yards on two catches before halftime.

"That hurt me," Springs said of having to sit out most of the second half. "I felt really good coming out in the second half. That was one of those games you just want to keep going. I was like, 'Oh, man.' I guess that would have made the game a little more dramatic for the fans."

The Redskins play the Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Springs sat out the season-opening loss to the New York Giants after strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington inadvertently kicked him in the shin during practice that week.

"I'm walking pretty fine," Springs said. "The shin that Marcus almost broke hurt worse than this."

Looking Ahead

The Redskins may have a three-game winning streak, but it isn't something with which players said they're overly concerned.

"We really don't talk about how things are going," defensive end Andre Carter said. "We really just focus on the week that's at hand and preparing for each opponent. You're only as good as your last game, so everything is about making progress.

"You just want to keep growing as an individual, as a [position] group and as a defense as a whole. We're just continuing to play hungry and continuing to play strong, but we definitely feel good about the results and about the potential we have as a defense to do great things."

Before facing Washington, Dallas had a league-leading average of 440 yards per game. The Cowboys totaled 344 yards against the Redskins. In the first four games, Washington has given up an average of 315.2 yards, ranking 14th in the NFL.

Versatile defensive lineman Demetric Evans performed well in place of Jason Taylor at left end, Redskins coaches and players said, and second-year end Chris Wilson and rookie end Rob Jackson also contributed in a rotation with Evans and Carter.

"It worked great," Carter said. "Demetric, in his first start for the 2008 season, did what we expected him to do. He's been working his tail off and he's solid. But he's not just a solid end, he's a great end."

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