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Defensive goal: Contain Gonzalez
Tony Gonzalez has it all -- size (6-feet-5, 251 pounds), speed (runs like a receiver) and numbers (102 catches last year) -- and it prompted a six-word scouting report from Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark.
"He's a pain in the butt," Clark said of Gonzalez, Kansas City's Pro Bowl tight end.
Indeed, Gonzalez presents problems for any defense and it will be up to several Redskins defenders to keep him in check Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
"I have a lot of respect for him, especially in the red zone," assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. "He's a threat and very athletic and we have to always be aware of where he's at."
The NFC East features tight ends Jeremy Shockey, L.J. Smith and Jason Witten so Williams said, "this isn't going to all of a sudden shock us when we get in there."
Tight ends have combined for eight receptions against the Redskins this season. Gonzalez is second on the Chiefs with 16 catches for 129 yards (but no touchdowns).
The natural option for the Redskins is to put safety Sean Taylor on Gonzalez because he matches up with him size- and speed-wise.
"Sean is a good matchup for anybody," Clark said. "The problem with a team like Kansas City is, do you put Sean on him all game and possibly be exploited in other places?"
Taylor will likely get his fair share of time against Gonzalez, but also expect to see outside linebacker Marcus Washington get the coverage assignment.
"Even on the plays he's not the primary receiver, you're taking one of your best players to stop him," Clark said.
Williams on Arrington
Williams fielded three LaVar Arrington-related questions after practice yesterday.
"Same like he always has," Williams said when asked about the amount of Arrington's practice snaps. "He gets his fair share like all the guys on our [second and third teams]."
Williams added Arrington "could" see action against Kansas City and, like coach Joe Gibbs did Wednesday, stressed that the lines of communication have always been open.
"I'm in the classroom every single day," Williams said. "I communicate it every single day. Again, you guys are making too much out of this because people talk to him every day."
K.C. pass defense porous
Kansas City's pass defense is third-worst in the NFL, allowing 273.3 yards per game. In the Chiefs' last game, they led Philadelphia 24-7 before losing 37-31. Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was 33 of 48 for 369 yards and three interceptions.
"It's misleading because they were winning some games and teams threw downfield," Gibbs said. "Philly can throw against anybody and when they got way behind, they started chucking it on every play and the stats went way up."
A year after ranking 31st in yards allowed and 29th in points, the Chiefs added cornerback Patrick Surtain and linebackers Kendrell Bell and Derrick Johnson. Not helping the secondary is the pass rushers, which has only seven sacks.
"It's amazing because they have really good players across the board," Redskins center Casey Rabach said. "Their defensive linemen and linebackers are big-name guys. But coming off a bye week, what they had wrong will probably be fixed."
Cornerback Shawn Springs (shin), kicker John Hall (quad) and running backs Clinton Portis (calf) and Ladell Betts (groin) did not practice yesterday. Springs, Hall and Betts remain questionable.
Regarding Springs' status, Williams said: "I don't worry about it as much because he's a guy who has played in that division [AFC West] and against some of those players. But [today] is big."
Cornerback Carlos Rogers (ankle) and right guard Randy Thomas (shoulder) returned to practice after missing Wednesday.
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
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