- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 22, 2001

Washington Redskins quarterback Tony Banks will start against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, barring any late setback.
Banks will practice today after throwing lightly yesterday. Coach Marty Schottenheimer said the extra rest after suffering a concussion in Sunday's 17-10 victory over Denver was "precautionary."
Banks said he wasn't worried about returning one week after being carried from the field following a scary sack by Broncos defensive end Leon Lett.
"It can be [worrisome] if it continues, but I've taken a lot of hits in the past and been pretty durable," Banks said.
Tight end Stephen Alexander also will also start after missing four games with a high ankle sprain. Alexander went through a full workout for the first time since his Oct. 15 injury against Dallas and felt no pain when running.
"Thumbs up, baby. It felt good. I did everything," he said.
Kick returner Michael Bates also is probable after his hip flexor improved following two days' rest. However, running back Ki-Jana Carter is preparing for his first career kick return after serving as Bates' lead blocker this season. Carter returned kicks at Penn State but never played special teams in four previous NFL seasons.
"[Kickoff returns] get everyone psyched up to play, so it can be a big difference in the game," Carter said.
Defensive end Bruce Smith (sore knee) didn't practice, but will play.
Tastes like cat?
Defensive tackle Kenard Lang recently said he wouldn't go trick or treating with defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson because "Big Daddy" would eat all their candy. Now Lang doubts he'll eat Thanksgiving dinner with his linemate.
"I'm not going to Big Daddy's house. They cook cats and dogs," Lang said, jokingly. "If I'm at the table and hear 'meow, meow,' then it's time for me to go."
Lang claimed there wouldn't even be any pie left for dessert because "that's the first thing Big Daddy eats. That's the appetizer."
Smoot smack
Veterans Stadium is no place for the timid, and Redskins rookie cornerback Fred Smoot can't wait to jaw with Eagles rookie receiver Freddie Mitchell, a big tongue-wagger himself.
"I've been wanting to get up with Freddie," Smoot said. "It's my first time in Philly, and I want to make it a memorable one. You shut up any receiver by not giving them a catch."
Meanwhile, Smoot has finally thawed out from playing in the wintry mix at Denver.
"It hurt me in every way possible," he said. "That's the worst game I ever played in. It rained the first quarter, sleeted the second, snowed the third and I don't know what it did in the fourth because I was numb."
Extra points
The Redskins are still deciding between turf shoes and cleats for the new artificial turf at Veterans Stadium. … The team hasn't voted on game balls for its victory over Denver, but receiver Derrius Thompson earned the "Golden Glove" special teams award for a hit on kickoff coverage. …
Schottenheimer admitted concern about special teams play entering the preseason because of the team's youth. However, the Redskins are the NFL's leading kickoff coverage unit, and Bates' 24.9 yards on kickoff returns is the team's best since 1995.


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