The Redskins were without their best defensive lineman for last night's critical game against Philadelphia, with tackle Cornelius Griffin out with a hip pointer. Griffin tried to play last week in New York but was unable to participate after the opening two plays and did not practice during the week.
With Griffin out, end Demtric Evans moved inside to take his starting tackle position. Tackle Joe Salave'a started despite considerable discomfort from a linger foot injury, while end Phillip Daniels started as well after missing most of last week's practice with a sprained ankle. The Redskins had seven defensive linemen in uniform given the injury concerns. Rookie Aki Jones was activated for the first time in his career, while Nic Clemons was activated for just the second time in his career
Starting tight end Robert Royal also missed the game with a calf injury, so tight end Robert Johnson, activated from the practice squad Saturday, also was in uniform for the game, his first as a Redskin. Linebacker Khary Campbell, a key special teams performer, was also out with a shoulder injury, and rookie Robert McCune replaced him, immediately joining the kick return team to start the game. McCune, Washington's fifth-round pick in April, spent all season on the practice squad and was a special-teams standout in college.
Backup center Cory Raymer was inactive for the first time this season. Offensive lineman Lennie Friedman can play center and guard and recently joined the defensive line in goal line situations given the run of injuries at that position. Second-year tackle Jim Molinaro was activated for the first time this season.
Captain Arrington Starts
Linebacker LaVar Arrington's rise up the depth chart culminated with him being named Washington's defensive captain for and starting last night's game. Two weeks ago Arrington was still benched -- he did not participate in consecutive defeats last month -- but he played extensively last week in New York and started last night against the Eagles.
Arrington, a three-time Pro Bowl player, missed almost all of last season with a knee injury. He had not started and played in the base formation since the second game of last season. He recognized the crowd's salute for his return to the starting lineup on the first play of the game by raising his right hand in the air. Warrick Holdman, who had been starting, is now a reserve.
T.O. Ready to Rumble
Intrigue continued to swirl around the Eagles with star receiver Terrell Owens suspended for this game, and perhaps much longer, for "conduct detrimental to the team." In addition to his disparaging remarks about the organization and Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb, Owens also reportedly got in a fight with former Eagles defensive end Hugh Douglas this week and then challenged a host of current teammates to fight him as well. Douglas confirmed the altercation during his radio show last night, saying no punches were thrown.
Westbrook Gets Deal
Eagles running back Brian Westbrook signed a five-year contract extension yesterday worth about $25 million. Westbrook, a DeMatha High School graduate, had been negotiating with the club much of the season. . . .
Running back Clinton Portis and safety Sean Taylor, who both incurred several fines last season for uniform violations, wore different colored socks than their teammates. Portis wore burgundy socks, with the rest of the team wearing white. Taylor wore white socks with more stripes than the rest of the team. . . .
Place kicker John Hall handled kickoffs this week after missing five contests.