Ever since Jon Jansen first sustained a calf injury last month, Todd Wade prepared to start and play an entire game at right tackle for the Washington Redskins. But in games against Carolina, Atlanta and Philadelphia, Jansen -- although he wasn't practicing -- healed well enough to play.
Jansen's calf became too bothersome last week, though, and Wade's patience and preparation paid off with a solid performance in Sunday's 16-10 win over New Orleans.
"I thought Todd had a very good day," coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday at Redskin Park. "He's super conscientious, and this means a lot to him. He made great preparation and just did a heckuva job."
It was Wade's first start since Week 10 of last season with Houston. From his rookie season in 2000 with Miami until a season-ending injury for the Texans last year, Wade was a starter.
"There were some nerves, but not as many as I thought," he said. "I felt I was well prepared, and I knew 100 percent that I was going to play."
With Wade in the lineup, the Redskins continued their late-season rushing roll, piling up 161 yards. Ranked 12th in rushing yards a month ago, the Redskins now are fifth, averaging 136.6 yards a game. Ladell Betts is 67 yards from 1,000 after his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game.
"We had been running the ball well lately, and we felt comfortable with what was planned," Wade said. "New Orleans does a lot of different things up front with twists and stunts, and we practiced to expect to see that. But we didn't see as much as that, so we concentrated on double-team blocks and getting those big guys off the line of scrimmage."
A big guy himself (6-foot-8, 317 pounds), Wade worked well with right guard Randy Thomas to open gaping holes for Betts.
"Todd did an outstanding job, and the way the whole line opened up things, it shows that even though we were 4-9, they're still fighting," quarterback Jason Campbell said.
Said Wade: "I had been [disappointed] for a few games thinking I was going to play but then not having it happen," he said. "This week, I was able to sit down, prepare and feel confident that I could help the team."
Gibbs said Jansen's status will be determined later in the week.
"It kind of depends on Jon," he said. "We have to go week to week with that."
Carlos Rogers' interception not only was his first of the season but it ensured the Redskins would not tie the 16-game record for fewest interceptions. Washington has six this season. Oakland had five interceptions last season.
The Redskins have 11 takeaways this season and remain in danger of setting the record for fewest in a full season. Green Bay and St. Louis each had 15 in 2004.
On a roll
After missing his first field goal attempt, Shaun Suisham has made his last seven.
"Certainly, it's been a while since we've had seven straight," Gibbs said. "It would be great for us to have a young guy like that [continue] kicking well."
Gibbs, though, thinks the kicker still has work to do on his kickoffs. Suisham's first kickoff went out of bounds, allowing New Orleans to start on the 40-yard line. His other attempts failed to reach the 10-yard line.
"He has great leg length, and hopefully he'll improve on the kickoffs," Gibbs said.
Thomas is this year's Redskins recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. The right guard spent the offseason recovering from a broken leg sustained last December. Each team awards one player, and the league later will choose an overall recipient. ...
An 0-for-3 performance in the red zone dropped the Redskins to 27th in the league (41.2 percent). ...
Pro Bowl rosters will be announced today.