- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2001

Washington Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey has a selective memory. He clearly remembers his three-interception game against the Arizona Cardinals in 1999 but already has forgotten about getting beaten on a 64-yard touchdown last week by the Dallas Cowboys.
Now Arizona receiver David Boston threatens to give Bailey another forgettable game Sunday. The Cardinals' only regular offensive threat, Boston leads the NFL with 1,171 yards, and his 72 catches are already a career-best with five games remaining. Arizona's 26th-ranked running game leaves the Cardinals with Boston and little else.
Bailey shut down AFC-leading receiver Rod Smith when the Redskins faced Denver on Nov. 18. Dallas receiver Rocket Ismail's touchdown Sunday was only the third touchdown permitted by Bailey this season. Boston won't find him worried about getting beaten again.
"I don't care what people say. They don't make or break me. I make or break myself. I take care of what I have to do," Bailey said. "You just tell yourself over and over, 'Forget about it.' But it's not as easy as you might think. You hate to give up anything, but you put it behind you."
Boston (6-foot-2 and 222 pounds) has emerged in part because the Cardinals spent the offseason rebuilding the offensive line to give quarterback Jake Plummer more time to find downfield options. Receiver Rob Moore was lost with a hamstring injury, leaving Boston as the featured offensive player.
"In his mind, he wants the ball," Bailey said. "He's a lot bigger and stronger and hasn't lost a step, and that makes him more dangerous."
Boston spent the offseason working on running routes after catching 71 passes last year. This season he has four games with eight or more catches, including nine receptions for 137 yards against the New York Giants on Nov. 11.
"Last year I would get open on my athletic ability and try to make plays," he said. "Now I'm getting open on my breaks."
Said Bailey: "Defenders just have to get the ball. Knock it down, knock it out of his hands. He hasn't dropped any passes."
Bailey has spent the week refocusing on fundamentals. The Redskins spent 15 minutes during practice yesterday on the basics because the long season sometimes makes players relax their techniques. Bailey admitted that a technical mistake against Ismail set up the touchdown, on which he was beaten on a fake.
"There's a tendency when you get into the back half of the season that you spend so much time talking about what the other guy does that if you're not careful you're not spending enough time on what you're doing," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "Ultimately, what you do is the determining factor."
Certainly, Plummer has been looking for Boston deep lately. The pair have combined for four touchdowns in three games.
"It looks like their timing right now is just where you want it to be," Redskins safety Sam Shade said. "They took a little time to jell, but right now they're playing well."
Defensive tackle Kenard Lang said containing Plummer to avoid long balls to Boston on busted plays is paramount.
"Jake's a little squirrelly guy. He's going to dodge around and run out of the pocket," Lang said. "Don't let him make plays and we'll be all right."
Otherwise, the Redskins (5-6) suddenly could be trailing the Cardinals (5-6) in the NFC East chase behind the Philadelphia Eagles (7-4). Bailey knows Boston will try to muscle past him. He just plans to batter him close to the line.
After all, nobody remembers a receiver jammed at the line.

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