- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 9, 2004

Redskins Notes

Washington Redskins defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin is on pace for 124 tackles.

OK, so it might not be fair to start extrapolating statistics with just one-quarter of the season played. Still, Griffin’s 31 tackles trail only linebacker Antonio Pierce (40) on Gregg Williams’ fourth-ranked defense and stand as a rather remarkable testament to Griffin’s contributions in his first Redskins season.

Washington signed Griffin, a promising young talent but generally modest achiever from 2000 to 2003 with the New York Giants, to a seven-year, $30.1 million contract this spring. He was expected to provide some interior pass rush on a line that appeared otherwise very pedestrian.

Instead, both Griffin and the line have stood out. As the Redskins have established the NFL’s No. 1 run defense, Griffin, whose career-high is 68 tackles, has achieved consistent penetration and frequently gotten to the ball-carrier.

But don’t go looking to praise the defensive tackle.

“If I was playing better, we’d be winning,” Griffin said. “I really feel that way. If I was getting to the quarterback a little faster, seeing the play a little faster, it [would be] second-and-long, third-and-long. They may dial a different play. I look at things like that. I always want to be better. It’s never good enough.”

In particular, Griffin is frustrated that he missed two tackles in last weekend’s loss to the Cleveland Browns.

“I added it up,” Griffin said. “It was 32 yards. I missed [William Green], they picked up 7 yards. I missed [Lee Suggs], he picked up 25. That’s 32, on me.

“It was burning me up on the sideline. You’re playing, so you’ve got to let that stuff go, but it was eating me up. So when you saw me hitting him, I was really hitting him. I was trying to knock his head off. Because it burns you.”

Brown unlikely to start

Offensive lineman Ray Brown, nursing a strained hamstring, practiced for the first time this week and said afterward he expects to play tomorrow night against the Baltimore Ravens. However, Brown said Kenyatta Jones likely will start at right tackle.

“I feel pretty good,” Brown said. “[I’m] just a little sore. I can handle doing what I do in the game. I probably won’t start, but I’ll be ready to play if anything happens.”

Meanwhile, linebacker LaVar Arrington conceded what had been virtually certain all week: He won’t play against the Ravens.

“They ain’t gonna let me play,” Arrington said. “I wish I could try.”

Despite being listed “out” on Wednesday’s injury report, Arrington maintained hope that his knee, which underwent arthroscopic surgery Sept.23, would be healthy enough for him to play tomorrow. Now he’s turning his attention to the Oct.17 game at Chicago.

“I’m going to keep riding until they tell me I can’t,” Arrington said. “I made a lot of progress. I made so much I thought I was going to be cleared to play.”

Among other injuries, return man Chad Morton (knee) intends to play but won’t know for certain until just before game time. Safety Andre Lott (hamstring) was declared out. Cornerback Shawn Springs (ankle) and defensive end Ron Warner (ankle) returned to practice and should play.

Portis spouts off

Running back Clinton Portis, who declined to speak to Washington area media this week, found time to blast the Ravens’ defense on Sirius NFL Radio.

“Nothing impresses me about them,” Portis said. “It is a defense, and we have to go out and play ball, and that is what we are going to do. There’s nothing impressive about them; it’s nothing spectacular about them. We just got to go out and establish what we want to do and don’t put ourselves in no [bad] situations and run right at them.”

Extra points

Coach Joe Gibbs just laughed when asked about the conventional wisdom regarding Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis — that the best way to beat Lewis is to run right at him. “I wouldn’t want to spend my game plan running at Ray Lewis,” Gibbs said. “I prefer to find out where he is and run every other place. I don’t know that I buy into that.” …

Gibbs indicated that he hopes to get running back Ladell Betts more involved. Betts has 10 carries and one reception, including just two touches at Cleveland when he was the third-down back and in the hurry-up offense. “I think our deal is we want to keep Clinton fresh,” Gibbs said. “We probably need to get [Betts] more carries.”

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