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Sustained drives key for Redskins vs. Patriots

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman looks to rebound from one of his worst outings of the season.

Grossman completed just 19 of 46 pass attempts against the New York Jets with an interception. That amounted to a 47.5 quarterback rating, down from 95.5 and 96.6 against Dallas and Seattle respectively, the two previous weeks.

Grossman, who also lost a fumble Sunday's loss, emphasized the need to finish drives with points this Sunday against New England's bend-but-don't-break defense. While ranking last in the NFL in total defense, the Patriots surrender just 20.6 points per game, the 13th-best mark.

"They're well-coached, a very smart football team in how they go about their whole team scheme to win games," Grossman said. "We've got to do a real good job of moving the chains and having some long scoring drives."

Grossman will need to engineer long drives if the Redskins hope to keep the NFL's second-ranked offense off the field. Considering the Patriots give up a league-high 310 passing yards per game, that goal might not be out of reach.

If the Redskins can find a way to stay close, they will need to harness the killer instinct that, aside from their win against the Seahawks two weeks ago, has eluded them late in games this year.

"It's about taking that next step and dominating more of the game so that you're not in those situations at the end," Grossman said. "It feels like to me that this team is pretty close, but we're still in that mode of not dominating, not taking charge of games where it's close at the end and anything can happen."

Fullbacks' mutual admiration

Second-year fullback Darrel Young was bummed that a concussion kept him out of last Sunday's game against the Jets, but he was glad to see veteran Mike Sellers get some significant playing time on offense.

"Every time he got in," Young said, "I stood up."

Young took over for Sellers as the starting fullback this season. Sellers internalized his disappointment and has devoted himself to mentoring Young. When Young caught a pass and bulldozed a defender near the Redskins' bench two games ago against Seattle, Sellers ran to the spot on the sideline where the play ended and celebrated Young's hit with him.

"I don't look at it like I took his job," Young said. "I look at it like he groomed me.

Sellers didn't handle the ball against New York, but he was pleased with how he blocked.

"I do what I can when I can," he said. "I'm in no control of how much field time I get, so when I get in there I do the best I can and hopefully they see it."

Extra points

• Safety LaRon Landry (groin) and punter Sav Rocca (left ankle) missed Wednesday's practice, which was held indoors because of inclement weather. Newly promoted nose tackle Chris Baker also missed practice after injuring a quad muscle during stretching. Nose tackle Chris Neild missed practice for personal reasons.

• DeAngelo Hall (back), defensive end Stephen Bowen (knee), receiver Terrence Austin (hamstring), Jammal Brown (hip), London Fletcher (ankle), DeJon Gomes (right knee) and Maurice Hurt (knee) were limited.

• Fullback Darrel Young (concussion) fully participated, as did quarterback Rex Grossman (left shoulder).

• In addition to promoting Baker, the Redskins re-signed tight end Dominique Byrd. He was on the team for the Buffalo and San Francisco losses earlier this season before being waived Nov. 8.

"He's an athlete," coach Mike Shanahan said.

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