- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2001

Van takes licking from punter Frantz

It was like watching Barry Bonds hitting dingers over the fence. A home run derby of sorts gave the nearly filled stands at Biddle Field something to cheer about yesterday during an otherwise light workout.

The Washington Redskins were simply trying to work on extra-point protection after the Atlanta Falcons blocked one along with a field-goal attempt in their 27-6 victory on Friday.

It seemed like a simple drill with linemen backpedaling into their lanes. There was so little contact that coach Marty Schottenheimer sat in front of the offensive line watching the problem from underneath like a mechanic examining a car on a lift.

The drill didn't call for the ball to be actually kicked, but punter Dan Frantz unexpectedly began booming the 20-yarders while kicker Brett Conway watched. Frantz has worked on long field goals and kickoffs during camp, but isn't expected to survive the Aug. 28 roster cutdown after two standout games by punter Bryan Barker.

Still, Frantz wanted to make an impression. He did so on some unlucky soul's van parked outside the fence. It was a good 50 yards to the street, but Frantz popped them regularly over the fence to the crowd's applause. He cleared the 8-foot fence seven times, including three straight. Several landed on the van's hood or grill.

The end zone sidewalk may be the most dangerous place in Carlisle. Frantz's kicks landed only a few feet away from a recent car crash during practice that left a local woman pinned between parked cars and the fence.

Defense wins

The defense clearly outplayed the offense in the 80-minute session. Quarterback Sage Rosenfels threw three interceptions while newcomer Tony Banks tossed one.

Safety Martavius Houston is seemingly on the bubble of making the team, but grabbing two interceptions didn't hurt his chances. The sweetest theft came from cornerback Champ Bailey, who showed cat-like quickness when stealing a ball over receiver Kevin Lockett. Even defensive tackle Kenard Lang came up with a pass at the line.

Middle man out?

One of camp's closer competitions remains unsettled. Middle linebacker Kevin Mitchell opened as the starter over Robert Jones, but Marty Schottenheimer said the latter has nearly closed the margin.

"I have no clue how it may turn out," Schottenheimer said. "It's very, very tight competition. They're both playing well."

Busy behind center

With quarterback Jeff George expected to return to practice tomorrow after missing most of camp with shoulder tendinitis, it will suddenly get very competitive for time behind center.

Todd Husak and Sage Rosenfels received an unexpected large share of work over the past three weeks while George was sidelined. However, George and Tony Banks probably will get the most work over the final three days of camp. That leaves Husak and Rosenfels getting the scraps and Mike Watkins in danger of being released if former Kansas City guard Dave Szott is signed soon.

Husak, Banks and Rosenfels split snaps yesterday. Rosenfels will be the No. 3 quarterback this season, according to team sources, leaving Banks and Husak to compete for No. 2 behind George. That Banks doesn't know the offense gives a slight edge to Husak, but the latter's uneven preseason play leaves him vulnerable.

Quick hits

• Today's practices: 9 a.m., 3:15 p.m.

• Weather: 84 degrees, cloudy.

• Injuries: DE Bruce Smith (shoulder) is out against Cleveland on Friday. QB Jeff George (shoulder) threw lightly yesterday. RB Stephen Davis (toes), OT Chris Samuels (back), LB Anthony Sessions (shoulder) and DT Delbert Cowsette (thumb) missed practice.


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