Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Washington Redskins running backs Stephen Davis and Ki-Jana Carter will maintain their roles even though Carter’s increased usage in Sunday’s 13-3 victory at Philadelphia resulted in one of the team’s best rushing performances of the season.

Davis, the featured back, missed part of the first half while getting back spasms evaluated in the locker room. Carter, the third-down back, filled in seamlessly, finishing with 18 carries for 56 yards with a 5-yard touchdown.

The two ultimately combined for 40 rushes for 135 yards. Twelve of their carries came on the 15-play drive that consumed 8:55 of the final 9:25 and sealed the game. Only twice this season did Washington total more than Sunday’s 155 rushing yards Week 7 against the New York Giants (157) and Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks (230).

It was a potent one-two punch, but Carter shouldn’t expect more 18-carry games. Coach Marty Schottenheimer calls the current roles “perfect.” Davis will continue to be featured; Carter will keep playing third downs and give Davis a break when necessary.

“Ki-Jana has done a very good job, but Stephen Davis is our guy,” Schottenheimer said yesterday.

Carter was so effective during Davis’ absence that center Cory Raymer recalls running three or four plays before realizing the switch.

“It was funny because the whole time we thought Stephen was carrying, and then we look up and we see Ki-Jana,” Raymer said. “And then we hear the announcer say ‘Ki-Jana’ over and over. Pretty much at the same time we all looked at each other and said, ‘Where the heck’s Stephen?’”

Davis showed his ultra-competitive nature by returning early in the second quarter. It is that mentality that makes him relish his go-to role and seek every possible carry though in this particular situation, he doesn’t mind relinquishing a few touches.

“You don’t like to give up stuff, but when you’re giving it up to a guy who’s doing such a good job …” Davis admitted, cutting that sentence off and continuing. “My biggest thing is winning. I don’t care how we do it.”

Review for Thomas?

Schottenheimer believes the NFL will review Tra Thomas’ cheap shot on Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington. The coach will not forward tape of the incident but plans to bring it up during his weekly conversation with league officials.

The play occurred in Sunday’s third quarter, when the Eagles offensive tackle dove head-first into Arrington while the latter was on the ground. Arrington immediately got up, began pushing Thomas and was whistled for a personal foul. Thomas received no penalty.

“I don’t have any doubt that the NFL will look at that play,” Schottenheimer said, declining to comment when asked whether it deserves a fine.

During the game Schottenheimer reprimanded Arrington for the costly penalty which set up Philadelphia’s only score but yesterday the coach said he didn’t see what Thomas did until reviewing the tape. He clearly did not approve of Thomas’ action.

“I would not want our players to do something like that,” Schottenheimer said.

Arrington called the incident “over” but felt a lingering pain in his shoulder, which he thought might have been slightly separated by Thomas’ hit.

“It’s a code that we live by: You don’t hit somebody while they’re defenseless,” Arrington said. “But I guess they felt like I was doing a pretty good job out there and he was going to get me any way he could.”

Extra points

The bruised shoulder of linebacker Kevin Mitchell is the most concerning of several injuries but as of yesterday Schottenheimer expected him to play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. Davis (back) and linebacker Eddie Mason (thigh) both should play. Reserve offensive lineman Matt Campbell (knee) is expected to miss at least one more game. …

The Redskins held Philadelphia both times on fourth downs, an area that is becoming a trademark of their defense. Washington now has yielded conversions on just two of nine fourth downs, a 22.2 percent clip that ranks fourth in the NFL. …

The Redskins have the longest current winning streak in the NFL (five games), ahead of the New York Jets and San Francisco (four games apiece). Two teams this year have had six-game streaks (St. Louis and Chicago).

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