- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Injured running back Stephen Davis is not sure whether he will return to the lineup for the Washington Redskins' game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Davis sprained a knee against the Indianapolis Colts on Oct.27, and did not play in the Redskins' 14-3 victory Sunday in Seattle. He said yesterday the condition of the knee has improved but it would need continued improvement this week to make even a "game-time decision" possible for Sunday.

"I feel if I can get better every day, it might be a game-time decision," Davis said, "but the training staff is doing a good job, so I'll get ready like I will play."

Davis, who missed workouts last week, is not sure whether he will practice this week. However, he has played in past games though missing practice the week before.

"If it's getting better like it has been for the last few days, I'll try to do something [during the week]," Davis said. "It's a lot better than it was last week."

Meanwhile, receiver Rod Gardner (shoulder) will be limited in practice this week but should play against Jacksonville. Defensive tackle Carl Powell (ankle) is listed as questionable, but guard Brenden Stai (knee) could return to the lineup after missing two games. Receiver Darnerien McCants is bothered by a sprained ankle he suffered when a Seattle defender stepped on his foot on a downfield pattern. Quarterback Danny Wuerffel remains listed as questionable because of a sprained shoulder.

Gators homecoming

Coach Steve Spurrier dismissed the notion that he will face added pressure in Sunday's game at Jacksonville, where the capacity crowd will include many Florida Gators fans and Redskins fans.

"We have enough to keep our minds busy just trying to find plays that work, get a pass off and get somebody to catch it," the former Gators coach said. "I was really impressed with all the Redskins fans in Seattle. There must have been a thousand or so. It's nice to know we have fans all over the country."

However, the Jaguars are preparing for a circus-like atmosphere. They expect Spurrier's return to dominate weekday discussions.

"It'll certainly be one of those weeks where there's potential for distraction," quarterback Mark Brunell said. "Regardless of what is being said in the paper and on the television, this team and this locker room can block it out and focus on winning a football game. That will be difficult to do, but it's something this team needs to do right now."

Some Jaguars said Spurrier will try to run up the score to impress his fans.

"He's going to come in here with a game of tricks," Jaguars running back Fred Taylor said. "He's going to try to put up a lot of points for the fans more than anything. I can guarantee he's probably going to make some special arrangements for this game. He knows what the fans want to see, and he's going to try and give it to them."

Hot red zone

The Redskins' red zone defense, which held the Seahawks to one field goal in three possessions inside the Washington 20, ranks as the fourth-best in the NFC. Washington also stopped Seattle on the Redskins' 21 when defensive end Bruce Smith forced a fumble on a sack.

The game's biggest play was certainly Smith's earlier sack on fourth down at Washington's 2 with 12 seconds left in the first half to preserve a 14-3 lead.

"We're just pointing at them, telling them to 'Come on with it,'" cornerback Fred Smoot said. "We were real into the game, and if they have the [guts] to go for it on fourth, we have the [guts] to hold up."

No more 'cop-out'

Defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis said the 10th-ranked unit can still greatly improve, even though it held the Seahawks to just three points. Seattle outgained Washington 324 to 259 yards largely between the 20s.

"Where we're struggling at is just doing our job," Lewis said. "Whether it's Pop Warner football, junior high, high school or the NFL, you have responsibilities. We're making some strides. We have a lot of ways to grow, but it's very simple things to do. Make sure you get your guy and play your gap and when the football is there, tackle it."

But Lewis appreciates players no longer saying they don't get the new scheme.

"That was a bad statement," he said. "The players will tell you now it was somewhat of a cop-out."

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