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 last week.
With Griffin out, end Demetric Evans moved inside to take his starting tackle position. Tackle Joe Salave'a started despite considerable discomfort from a lingering 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, also was 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. 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 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 selection, 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.
With Terrell Owens suspended indefinitely, former Redskin Darnerien McCants was active. McCants, who attended Arundel High School, was released by Washington during training camp, entered the game with one catch this season and did not have a catch last night. Rookie Reggie Brown took Owens's starting spot. Brown filled in well, finishing the game with 94 yards and one touchdown on five catches.
"I think Reggie Brown did an excellent job today," Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said.
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. Defensive lineman Cedric Killings was inactive, as was safety Omar Stoutmire, who is suffering from a hamstring injury.