- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Clark feeling confident

During his first three NFL training camps, with the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, safety Ryan Clark lived on the bubble. He knew he needed a good preseason and needed to stay injury-free to make the team. Anything less wouldn’t be good enough.

But after starting 11 games and making 91 tackles for the Redskins last year, Clark finally can feel somewhat secure.

“It’s a totally different camp for me,” he said. “I came in last year as a free agent, and I was fighting again to make the team. This year I’m still fighting, but I have more confidence because the coaches have seen me play and know what I can do.”

Clark, 25, was released by the Giants last summer and signed by the Redskins on the eve of training camp. Not only did he make the team, when Matt Bowen sustained a season-ending knee injury, Clark was thrust into the lineup. He made an instant impression with 10 solo stops against the Ravens and went on to lead the secondary with 91 tackles.

Now Clark is competing with Bowen for the starting strong safety position. In any event, Clark’s likely to see plenty of action.

“Without a doubt, this is the first time I’ve come to camp with a chance to be a starter,” he said.

Just a snap

Five Redskins have played at least 10 years. Punter Tom Tupa has played in a Super Bowl and a Pro Bowl. Quarterback Mark Brunell and offensive lineman Ray Brown have been to Pro Bowls and conference championship games. Tight end Brian Kozlowski has started a Super Bowl. Then there’s snapper Ethan Albright, who hasn’t even smelled a playoff victory during his 10 years in Buffalo and Washington.

Not only has Albright lasted for a decade in the league at 34, he’s one of just three Redskins to have gotten on the field for coaches Marty Schottenheimer (2001), Steve Spurrier (2002-2003) and Gibbs. Albright’s fellow survivors since 2001 are Pro Bowl veterans LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels. Albright just goes about his business, quietly and efficiently.

Jackson visits

Bobby Jackson, who coached with Redskins coach Joe Gibbs at Florida State in the 1970s and coached Washington’s running backs from 1994 to 1999, watched practice. Jackson, 65, retired to a farm in Alabama after the 2002 season, his third with St. Louis.

Gibbs peeved

Not long after star running back Clinton Portis fell on his arm for the second time in less than a week and sat out the rest of practice, starting receiver David Patten crashed into the frame that holds a weighted blocking bag and went down hard. Both Portis and Patten said they were fine, but Gibbs wasn’t happy about the piece of equipment being so close to the end zone.

“Perfect spot for that — that was great,” Gibbs said in a flash of sarcastic anger.

OVERHEARD

“We’re still negotiating on the draws. I’ve got to bring Coach [Gibbs] a couple of more cookies per week.”

— Running back Clinton Portis on his hopes for making the draw play a regular part of the offense.

BY THE NUMBERS

7 Redskins who have played in a Super Bowl.

18 Redskins who haven’t played in an NFL game.

TODAY’S PRACTICE SCHEDULE

4 p.m. (Open to public)

David Elfin and Ryan O’Halloran

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