- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 8, 2001

Washington Redskins quarterback Tony Banks and strong safety Sam Shade missed practice yesterday with an illness resembling a stomach flu, but coach Marty Schottenheimer expects both to start tomorrow at Arizona.
"I don't think it will have any effect by [game time]," Schottenheimer said after practice. "But they were both very, very sick today."
Banks and Shade did not come to Redskin Park, communicating with team officials by phone. Both received medication.
"We hope it's a 24-hour event," Schottenheimer said.
In Banks' place, Kent Graham took all the practice snaps. Graham has played twice this season, taking two snaps Oct. 21 against the Carolina Panthers and leading the Redskins to a Nov. 18 win at Denver.
Veteran Keith Lyle and undrafted rookie Ifeanyi Ohalete alternated in Shade's place. Lyle sees time in certain defensive packages and on special teams. Ohalete plays mostly special teams. If Ohalete starts he will become the third undrafted rookie to do so for Washington this year, joining offensive lineman David Brandt and linebacker Antonio Pierce.
Among injured players, right guard Ben Coleman (quadriceps) and tight end Walter Rasby (ankle) practiced and will play. Tight end Stephen Alexander (ankle) and reserve offensive lineman Matt Campbell (knee) are the only players expected to miss the game.

Waiting to break one
Despite a season of consistently strong kickoff returns, first-year Redskin Michael Bates is starting to grow frustrated that he hasn't taken one all the way.
Bates, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, has four career kickoff returns for touchdowns one each in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Last season as a Panther, he had a 92-yard score against the Redskins in the opener.
"I definitely want to finish out this year with one," Bates said. "I'm starting to second-guess myself on everything that I do right now. But I've got guys telling me, 'Just relax. It'll come. It'll come.' So that's what I'm going to do."
Bates, 31, has had several near-misses. Oct. 7 at the New York Giants, he raced up the left sideline and barely got tripped out of bounds for a 38-yard gain. Last weekend against the Dallas Cowboys, Bates had a lane up the middle but finished with a 32-yarder when he couldn't evade George Teague.
"If [Teague] wasn't there, or if I saw him sooner, I probably could have possibly made him miss and taken it to the house," Bates said of the latter, which came after the Cowboys took a 20-7 lead with 3:11 remaining.
Bates' long return is a 41-yarder. His average is a solid 24.8 yards, which ties for fifth in the NFC and is the best average by a Redskin since Brian Mitchell led the NFC with a 25.6-yard clip in 1995.

Getting close
Running back Stephen Davis needs 105 rushing yards to become the first Redskin with three straight 1,000-yard seasons. If recent patterns hold, he'll get the mark tomorrow; Davis has averaged 131 yards against Arizona since becoming a starter in 1999.
"He's as good as any of [the running backs I've coached], and I've had Marcus Allen," Schottenheimer said. "You always want to see if you can put the ball in the hands of your best players, and certainly he's that guy."
The coach believes the 1,000-yard mark remains significant even though it frequently is reached these days. Already three running backs have hit the barrier this season, and last season 23 players did it.
"It's not like it used to be when you played 12- and 14-game seasons," Schottenheimer said. "But 1,000 yards in my opinion is still a pretty good achievement. It means you've been durable. Even if you have an average of four yards a rush you still have to carry 250 times in a season to get it done."

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