- The Washington Times - Friday, August 31, 2001

FOXBORO, Mass. The arm strength seemed solid, but the timing was mostly off as Washington Redskins quarterback Jeff George continued to struggle in his comeback from shoulder tendinitis.
George completed 10 of 18 passes for 126 yards with one touchdown, one interception and two fumbles last night against the New England Patriots. George clearly showed more zip on his passes when playing the first half, even throwing his first two deep balls of the preseason. However, a 40-yarder was overthrown at the Patriots 4-yard line and intercepted by New England cornerback Terrell Buckley. George later connected with receiver Michael Westbrook on a 36-yarder that led to a touchdown.
Shoddy blocking by a makeshift offensive line made George clearly uncomfortable in the pocket. He was sacked twice, including an ugly blindside hit by Patriots linebacker Roman Phifer that forced a fumble New England later converted for a touchdown. George also fumbled on a 24-yard sack that was converted for a field goal.
Ironically, George seemed energized after taking a brutal hit by safety Antwan Harris shortly before halftime. George slowly arose to throw a 36-yard strike to Westbrook on the next play before later connecting on a four-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kevin Lockett with eight seconds left in the second quarter. George completed 3 of 5 for 57 yards on that drive.
George narrowly missed causing a safety. The replay official endorsed the Redskins' challenge that George intentionally downed the ball on Washington's 1-yard line instead of the end zone that would have been an automatic safety.

Smoot, Jones start
The Redskins started middle linebacker Robert Jones and cornerback Fred Smoot in ongoing looks at possible starters.
Jones gained his first start over middle linebacker Kevin Mitchell, though the latter is considered the frontrunner to open against San Diego on Sept. 9. However, the Patriots were in a spread offense so often that neither middle linebacker played regularly in the first quarter.
Both cornerback Donovan Greer and Smoot started with cornerback Champ Bailey out with a bruised foot. However, team sources said Smoot and Darrell Green are competing for the starting job opposite Bailey.
Smoot made two smart plays in the opening quarter. He batted away a deep pass intended for Patriot receiver David Patten near the Redskins 20 after earlier swatting away a third-down pass. However, Smoot was also beaten for a 17-yard completion by Patriots running back Antowain Smith.

To the wire
A variety of young Redskins fought for roster spots, particularly in the second half after the starters departed. Among the battles to be decided by coach Marty Schottenheimer before 4 p.m. Sunday:
Nos. 4 and 5 wide receivers: Darnerien McCants, Derrius Thompson and Justin Skaggs. The presence of specialist Michael Bates, a receiver and running back, allows Schottenheimer to keep just one of these players if he chooses.
No. 11 offensive lineman: Mookie Moore, Ryan Kalich, Ross Tucker and Terrance Simmons. This spot isn't necessary, particularly with veterans Matt Campbell and Ben Coleman offering guard/tackle versatility.
Nos. 3 and 4 defensive end: Dorian Boose, Derrick Ham and Rod Kelly. Kelly would be the likely ouster, though Ham didn't make many plays this preseason.
Nos. 3 and 4 defensive tackle: Delbert Cowsette, Jerry DeLoach and Mario Monds. Monds has appeared on the outside looking in in recent weeks.
No. 5 cornerback: Lloyd Harrison and Central McClellion: Both had good camps. The loser would qualify for the following category.
Extra: RB Stanley Stephens, FB Thad Buttone, LB Chaz Murphy, LB Donny Green, S Josh Symonette and S Ifeanyi Ohalete. None of these players is competing for a clear position. Any could influence Schottenheimer to drop an aforementioned spot (i.e. No. 11 offensive lineman) to keep him as a promising youngster/special teamer.

Boose keeps going
Defensive end Dorian Boose may return to the bench when Bruce Smith returns from a sprained shoulder against San Diego on Sept. 9. However, he has quietly started the entire preseason after joining the Redskins on Aug. 6.
Boose beat out Michael Bankston as Smith's backup and steadily played while Smith rehabbed. The former New York Jet has been more effective against the run than as a pass rusher.
Still, fourth-year man Boose, a 1998 Jets second-round choice, has been one of the preseason surprises.
He sacked New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe and recovered a fumble that led to a field goal.
"It's nice to be able to start fresh with a new coaching staff," Boose said. "I took it as a sign to be humble and things aren't always certainty. You have to work hard and perservere. I told myself I would do what I had to do."

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