- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Starting cornerback Carlos Rogers had three screws placed in his broken right thumb yesterday and will have to wear a cast if he plays this week against unbeaten Indianapolis, another blow to the Washington Redskins’ beleaguered secondary.

To help offset Rogers’ injury — and with Shawn Springs, who missed two months with pelvic injuries, saying he’s not ready for full-time duty — the Redskins signed veteran defensive back Troy Vincent.

Vincent, 35, has played 15 seasons in the NFL and had been with Buffalo since 2004 before his release last week. His 47 career interceptions rank second among active players.

“I’m not the answer, but I do believe I can bring some value,” Vincent said. “I’ll play wherever I’m needed. I played free safety and nickel corner all during training camp. Right now I’m going to concentrate on safety.”

Rogers broke the thumb in Sunday’s 25-22 loss to Tennessee and would have to wear a cast if he plays against the Colts, like offensive tackle Jon Jansen did last season. Receiver James Thrash, who had a similar injury late last year, was unable to play in the playoff loss to Seattle — but he needed to be able to catch the football.

Vincent’s signing adds depth at safety with third string Pierson Prioleau on injured reserve. But with starters Sean Taylor and Adam Archuleta healthy, Vincent could be a better option at corner opposite Kenny Wright if Rogers can’t go against Indianapolis. Mike Rumph was a healthy scratch Sunday, and Ade Jimoh was beaten for a touchdown by Tennessee’s Brandon Jones in a rare defensive appearance.

“Troy did a great job for us in Buffalo,” said cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray, Vincent’s defensive coordinator the past two seasons with the Bills. “He can play free safety. He can play nickel corner. He can play corner. We’ve got to figure out where he fits for our defense.”

Vincent, who made five Pro Bowls with Philadelphia from 1996 to 2003, signed with Buffalo in 2004. He played in only seven games that season because of injury but returned in 2005 with 66 tackles and four interceptions.

But Buffalo’s defense fell from second in 2004 to 29th last season, and the staff was fired. The Bills drafted safeties in the first and fourth rounds in April, and when Vincent aggravated a summer hamstring injury in the opener, the Bills placed him on injured reserve. He was cut Thursday after “trying to get out of Buffalo for a few weeks.”

Vincent turned down feelers from Arizona, San Francisco and Tampa Bay to sign with Washington, in part because of his knowledge of the scheme run by assistant head coach Gregg Williams, Gray’s mentor, and in part because of geography. Vincent lives outside of Philadelphia, and he’s building a house in Purcellville, Va., near Redskin Park at the recommendation of Thrash’s wife, a close friend of Vincent’s wife.

The seventh pick in the 1992 draft out of Wisconsin, Vincent started four seasons in Miami before moving on to Philadelphia. Vincent is also president of the NFL Players Association.

“Troy’s a guy everyone respects,” Gray said. “When they see him in the meeting room, they’ll understand why he is what he is. He takes notes. He comes in early in the morning and leaves late at night. He’s a real professional.”

The Redskins cut safety Curry Burns to make room for Vincent. Burns, who had been re-signed Sept. 13 after Prioleau suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener against Minnesota, played briefly in two games.

Campbell takes blame

Special teams ace Khary Campbell admitted he failed to pick up Tennessee’s Casey Cramer as he raced untouched to block Derrick Frost’s punt for a safety, which put the Titans up 22-14 in the third quarter.

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