Coach Joe Gibbs has much work to do in rectifying the problems manifested by the seven turnovers committed by the Washington Redskins during a 20-14 loss to the New York Giants Sunday. But Gibbs also must worry about the health of starting quarterback Mark Brunell, who was forced out with a strained left hamstring on Washington's drive to open the second half.
Brunell is expected to undergo more testing Monday to gauge the severity of the injury.
Brunell finished 10 of 18 for 92 yards with one touchdown and one interception before being replaced by Patrick Ramsey.
"This is something that I haven't had to deal with, as far as hamstrings, in a long time," Brunell said. "It's day-to-day. I'm going to treatment tomorrow. See how it does tonight, and see how it responds."
The Redskins face the Dallas Cowboys next Monday night, and Brunell hopes that extra day will help him mend. "I'm certainly shooting for that big one against the Cowboys," Brunell said.
Brunell appeared to come up lame early in the third quarter after throwing an 11-yard pass to tight end Walter Rasby. On the next play, on first and 10 from Washington's 35-yard line, Brunell stumbled and grimaced in pain as he handed off to Clinton Portis. Brunell limped near the sideline, then lay on the ground before several trainers attended to him. Brunell walked off the field without help. But the injury was too painful for him to play again.
Brunell was uncertain about precisely when he suffered the injury, and didn't rule out originally straining his hamstring in the first half when he ran a few bootlegs.
Brunell has had health issues in recent years, particularly with concussions. After winning the starting Redskins job late in the preseason, Brunell declared that he was feeling healthier than he had in years.
Brown a Starter at 41
Ray Brown, one of the oldest players in the NFL at age 41, was a surprise starter at right tackle. Brown replaced Kenyatta Jones to try to contain Giants right defensive end Michael Strahan, one of the league's best pass rushers. The Redskins used double coverage against Strahan, who went without a sack while collecting five tackles and recovering a fumble.
"Guys around me helped," Brown said. "I hope [Strahan] felt like I played him well. I probably would have wanted more help, but that's me being selfish."
Brown, who played for the Redskins from 1989 to 1995, was signed during the preseason to back up right guard Randy Thomas. The last time Brown recalls playing right tackle in the NFL was in 1994.
Jones had been named the starting right tackle after Jon Jansen suffered a season-ending injury during Washington's first preseason game. Sunday, Gibbs cited an ankle ailment by Jones as a factor in the decision. But Jones said he has been playing with the ankle injury since preseason. "I was surprised," Jones said. "The coaches made the decision."
Taylor Still Behind Lott
Rookie free safety Sean Taylor came off the bench behind Andre Lott for the second straight game. Lott, a third-year veteran, practiced with the starting unit late in the week. However, Taylor's absence in the starting lineup has been noteworthy, particularly because the Redskins' top pick flourished during the preseason.
On Sunday, Taylor didn't get into the game until the second quarter, on New York's fifth offensive series. Gregg Williams, the assistant head coach-defense, inserted Taylor on third and eight from Washington's 42-yard line. Taylor blitzed quarterback Kurt Warner, forcing him to throw an incomplete pass. Taylor played sporadically the rest of the game.
Daniels Sidelined by Injury
Defensive end Phillip Daniels was forced out of the game with a groin strain early in the first quarter. He returned briefly in the second quarter, but left the game for good because the injury was too painful. Daniels was replaced by third-year veteran Ron Warner, who had a strong preseason. Daniels missed much of preseason with an abdominal strain, and was able to play only in the exhibition finale. Sunday, Daniels said his groin strain wasn't related to the injury he suffered in preseason. "I really wanted to be in there," Daniels said. "It's really frustrating right now. I've never had injuries in my midsection like this."
Arrington Yes, Barrow No
Linebacker LaVar Arrington, who was questionable before the game with a sore knee, played and collected seven tackles. . . . Middle linebacker Mike Barrow was inactive for the second straight week because of knee tendinitis. Late last week, Williams noted that the opportunity to face the Giants might help Barrow mend. Before signing with the Redskins as a free agent, Barrow played the four previous seasons with the Giants. Antonio Pierce has replaced Barrow in the starting lineup. Barrow last year produced a career-high 177 tackles, tops in the NFC East. . . . Tailback Rock Cartwright was on the inactive list while the Redskins activated safety Ryan Clark, who received some playing time in the second half. . . . Wideout Darnerien McCants was on the inactive list for the second straight game. . . . One bright spot for Washington was Laveranues Coles, who is playing with a toe ailment. He finished with nine catches for 100 yards, the longest for 22 yards.