- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 29, 2001

A week after stifling Philadelphia's talented Donovan McNabb, the Washington Redskins will face Dallas Cowboys rookie Quincy Carter, who has played just two games and compiled a 14.6 quarterback rating, in what appears a similar but far simpler challenge.

The Redskins aren't so sure. Although they acknowledge that they could rattle the inexperienced passer if they blitz, they respect Carter's speed, elusiveness and arm strength that make him resemble McNabb and concede that they haven't seen enough of Carter to predict how he'll play.

"I guess if we choose to go after him, we probably could put some pressure on him and make him have to make some quick decisions," safety Sam Shade said yesterday. "But I'm not going sit here and take him lightly. I'm not going to say he can be rattled, because you never know."

The most difficult part of preparing for Carter is the lack of film. He played in the opening loss to Tampa Bay, then injured his thumb in practice three days later. He returned to play against the Oakland Raiders Oct. 7 but suffered a strained hamstring in the first quarter. Sunday's game at FedEx Field will be his first action since.

Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer has compiled tape of Carter and found that he has run the ball seven times in 60 NFL plays. While passing, Carter has completed just 10 of 24 throws with two interceptions.

Carter, 24, is one of four quarterbacks to start for the Cowboys this season. He is considered their quarterback of the future, his elevation to the No. 1 role having triggered the release of current Redskins starter Tony Banks during training camp. With size (6-foot-2, 231 pounds), speed and talent, Carter has potential though that's about all right now.

"Our biggest thing is going to be since he's so young, we don't know what he's going to do," linebacker LaVar Arrington said. "Sometimes if you have an accomplished player or a quarterback, you get a feel for what they're going to do. Quincy hasn't played much, and he's an athlete. … They could do anything option, naked bootlegs. You just don't know."

The Redskins shut down McNabb in Sunday's 13-3 win by using a four-man rush, blitzing rarely and forcing him to throw the ball. Arrington was used to shadow McNabb. A similar scheme might work against Carter, but defensive tackle Kenard Lang said, "Dallas saw what we did, so they're probably going to try to counter like a chess game."

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether Carter will need some time to adjust after the layoff. Redskins rookie cornerback Fred Smoot recently sat out two games with a leg injury and appreciated returning as a reserve with more limited responsibilities.

"I'm glad they slowly worked me back into the rotation, because it's not easy for a rookie to get right back into the speed of things," Smoot said. "In college, you're the best talent out there. You can miss four games and pick up where you left off. But [now] it's difficult to get back in the pace of the game."

Cover boys

Running back Stephen Davis and offensive tackle Chris Samuels are featured on this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, thanks to the Redskins' unprecedented five-game win streak after an 0-5 start. The picture is of Samuels lead blocking for Davis.

It marks the Redskins' first time on the magazine's cover since Feb. 2, 1992, following their win in Super Bowl XXVI.

Samuels tried to play off the honor, saying, "I don't get wrapped up in that kind of stuff," before adding with a laugh, "but I do want 10 copies."

The drawback to being on the cover might be the dreaded SI jinx. Samuels says he doesn't believe in one, and neither does quarterback Tony Banks.

"Ask Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali if they believe in the jinx," Banks said.

Health watch

The Redskins listed a number of players as probable on the injury report and expect everyone to play besides reserve offensive lineman Matt Campbell, who is sidelined at least one more week with a dislocated knee.

Linebacker Kevin Mitchell, whose bruised shoulder was considered the most serious injury, practiced. Sitting out were Davis (back), linebacker Eddie Mason (thigh), defensive end Bruce Smith (knee), Lang (general bumps and bruises) and wide receiver Michael Westbrook (rest for knee).

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