- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 20, 2001

The Washington Redskins will decide by midweek whether quarterback Tony Banks will start against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. However, the passer has greatly improved after suffering a concussion in the 17-10 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer yesterday said Banks would be listed as "questionable" on tomorrow's injury report, but was "reasonably encouraged" Banks wouldn't be sidelined long. Schottenheimer expected to know by Thursday whether Banks could return against Philadelphia. If Kent Graham starts, Schottenheimer was uncertain whether Banks would be the No. 2 or 3 quarterback.

Banks underwent further precautionary testing locally after being taken briefly to a Denver hospital during the game. However, Banks left Redskin Park saying, "I feel a lot better." Given Banks was lucid after the game and has no past concussions, a quick return is expected. Players with previous concussions are often rested at least one week.

Denver defensive tackle Leon Lett hit Banks during a first-down pass with 1:50 remaining in the first half. The Redskins feared much worse following the scary sack.

"All of Tony's momentum was moving forward, and as he was hit it was almost like a whiplash," Schottenheimer said. "I was concerned he had torn a ligament in his elbow."

Graham would be Washington's 12th starting quarterback since 1993, tying New Orleans for the most among NFL teams. Dallas has started 10 different passers and Philadelphia nine. Baltimore has started nine since moving from Cleveland in 1996. Schottenheimer said starting a third different quarterback this season won't stall the offense.

"There are so many other parts of the puzzle that have to work together that still enable you to be efficient in what you're doing and produce success," Schottenheimer said. "Kent was remarkable [against Den[JUMP]ver]. He's been here and worked and that's helped him."

Schottenheimer prefers veteran reserves, especially at quarterback, for their quicker impact. Schottenheimer signed Graham on Sept. 25 for his leadership after talking with Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher, who released the passer during the final preseason cutdown.

"[Cowher] said, 'Kent's a great leader, a great person and he can do the things you need to do from the standpoint of running the offense. You couldn't have a better guy in the locker room and you'll need him to throw the play action stuff,'" Schottenheimer said.

The Broncos weren't impressed by Graham, though. Then again, maybe Denver is still bitter over Graham ending the Broncos' 13-0 start in 1998 when starting for the New York Giants. Graham completed 12 of 18 for 123 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday.

"Of all the people to come in and abuse us," Denver linebacker John Mobley said. "Kent Graham … a journeyman."

Meanwhile, guard Matt Campbell will miss at least two weeks with a dislocated kneecap while tight end Stephen Alexander returns after missing four games with a high ankle sprain. Receiver Kevin Lockett (ribs), defensive end Bruce Smith (knee) and kick returner Michael Bates (hip flexor) are probable.

Campbell was hit from the side as the outside jumbo blocker on first down at the 3-yard line with more than three minutes remaining. A negative MRI and reduced swelling left Campbell expecting a quick return.

"It was a very unusual injury," he said. "I was blocking and just got hit on my leg and felt [the knee] go."

Alexander could have returned against Denver, but coaches decided not to risk further damage given five coming NFC East opponents over the final seven games. His high ankle sprain was much worse than linebacker LaVar Arrington's that healed over the two-week break during the Nov. 11 bye.


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