- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2002

Redskins Notes

Champ Bailey begins life as a full-time multiple threat Sunday against the New York Giants. After years of begging coaches to let him play on offense or as a return man, the Pro Bowl cornerback will return punts in place of recently cut Jacquez Green.
And he can't wait.
"Oh, definitely," Bailey said this week. "I'm going to take full advantage of it. Trust me, there will be some exciting things going on out there."
Speculation on the team for years has been that Bailey could thrive on punt returns. His speed and athleticism allowed him to sparkle in areas other than defense at Georgia, as well as in brief chances in the NFL. In 2000 he caught three passes for 78 yards and took a reverse on a punt return 54 yards.
"He can be extraordinary," special teams coach Mike Stock said. "He's already shown that. He's got the gift. He knows what to do with the ball."
The previous coaching staffs of Norv Turner and Marty Schottenheimer were tempted by Bailey's skills but were reluctant to detract from his focus on defense or to risk him further to injury.
"I try not to look at it as a risk, but I know it is," Bailey said. "Anytime you're on the field, it's a risk. But I don't care about that. I'm not playing not to get hurt; I'm playing to make plays."
The full-time job should give Bailey more comfort in the role. One punt he declined to field last weekend at Jacksonville bounced an extra 20 yards and was downed at the 6. He later said he was caught off guard by the ball's unusual spin because it came from left-footed punter Chris Hanson.
A complicating factor Sunday will be the notoriously swirling winds at Giants Stadium, which likely will be worsened by predicted rain and gusts.
"Yeah, the elements will be an important factor in the game," Stock said. "We've got to cope with that. No question about it."
Jansen-Strahan VII
Right tackle Jon Jansen and Giants left defensive end Michael Strahan are keeping quiet about their high-profile matchup Sunday, declining to say anything other than the usual "I'm excited to play him" line.
But Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels knows how much the matchup against the NFL's single-season sack king means to Jansen, who is one of the game's premier tackles despite not having made the Pro Bowl.
"I'm excited for [Jansen] because I know how excited I am to play against [Philadelphia Pro Bowl end] Hugh Douglas," Samuels said. "I know Jon's feeling that same excitement heading into this game. He already has a name for himself, and it will just grow a little greater when he goes out there and kicks Strahan's behind."
Strahan had 7 sacks against Washington preceding Jansen's arrival in 1999. He then went sackless against the Redskins until last year, when he had 1 in a Giants victory and two late in a Redskins win. Strahan finished with 22 sacks last year to set an NFL record.
Davis improves
Running back Stephen Davis increased his work in practice and should start Sunday's game, according to coach Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier still expects Davis to be less than 100 percent and for backup Kenny Watson, in turn, to get a fair amount of snaps. The coach declined to elaborate much on Davis' condition, saying, "[When] he gets in a real game, that's when he'll be tested."
Guard Brenden Stai said he will miss a fifth straight game with tendinitis in his knee. Safety Sam Shade left early in the day to meet with doctors about the disc problem in his neck that will sideline him Sunday. He did not return.
Extra points
Davis' likely active status means one of Washington's six wide receivers will be listed inactive. Spurrier said Darnerien McCants or Justin Skaggs, promoted from the practice squad Tuesday, will not suit up. Davis' activity also means Watson will be back as a deep man on kickoff returns, alongside Ladell Betts.
Guard Tre Johnson remains behind Wilbert Brown on the right side. Line coach Kim Helton said Johnson will start when he is in good enough shape to play a whole game, but for now Johnson is in the 25-snap range.
The Redskins worked out a fifth option at punter: Craig Jarrett, who was cut from San Francisco's practice squad on Tuesday. Washington worked out four other possibilities Tuesday. Bryan Barker had the worst game in his up-and-down season Sunday and could be replaced if he continues to struggle.
Giants running back Tiki Barber took a shot at former teammate Jessie Armstead, now a Redskins linebacker. Asked by New York media whether the Giants will use rookie tight end Jeremy Shockey to attack Armstead, Barber replied, "Oh yeah, we're coming to him automatically. You have to play to your mismatches."
Offensive lineman Rod Jones reportedly must pay a jewelry store $16,854 for a pendant he apparently ordered in September2000. A judge rejected Jones' argument that the store's receipt was a forgery or had been altered. Jones has been on injured reserve all season after tearing a biceps muscle in the preseason.


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