Place kicker John Hall said yesterday he expects to play tomorrow at Giants Stadium when the Washington Redskins take on the New York Giants for the first time this season.
"I'm not 100 percent certain," Hall said yesterday after the Redskins' final practice of the week. "But I have a feeling I'm playing. Nobody's said anything, so I guess we'll have to wait and see, but I think I'm ready to play."
Out since the season opener with a strained quadriceps muscle in his kicking leg, Hall has kicked extensively all week and said his leg felt fine, even when practicing kickoffs. Since his injury, the Redskins have relied on rookie Nick Novak, who hit 5 of 7 field goal attempts.
Novak was still on the active roster as of yesterday, and Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said the team likely won't make a final decision on the starting kicker until "the last minute." They'll see how Hall warms up tomorrow, and if he has no problems, they probably would make Novak inactive for the game. They also could place Novak on waivers, though he'd almost certainly be claimed by another team.
Offensive lineman Derrick Dockery, who sat out Thursday's practice with a sprained ankle, was able to work yesterday and is still listed as probable for the Giants game. Gibbs said the only iffy players for tomorrow were defensive tackles Cedric Killings (ankle) and Aki Jones (hamstring).
Safety Sean Taylor, who missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with a sprained ankle, was able to participate yesterday, and Gibbs said he thought he would be able to play tomorrow.
Giants Attend Mara Funeral
The entire Giants team attended the funeral Mass for team owner Wellington Mara yesterday at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan. Former Giants coach Bill Parcells, now the Dallas Cowboys' head coach, also was in attendance, along with former Giants assistants Romeo Crennel, head coach of the Cleveland Browns, and Charlie Weis, head coach at Notre Dame. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder also was expected to attend.
The team returned to Giants Stadium immediately after the funeral and held a regular Friday practice. Giants Hall of Fame running back Frank Gifford delivered a eulogy, along with Mara's oldest son, John. Tomorrow, there will be a moment of silence before the national anthem, which will be sung by Mara's granddaughter, Kate Mara. There also will be a video tribute to Mara at halftime.
"It wasn't like he was there and you were afraid of him," Giants veteran defensive end Michael Strahan said of Mara this week. "You knew exactly what his position was, but he never walked around here and said, 'I'm Wellington Mara, the owner of the team and if you look at me the wrong way, then you are gone.' You could talk to him and he would talk to you. He knew everybody and it felt like you were part of the family."