- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2003

If the New England Patriots really did claim guard Wilbert Brown to get some help planning for Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, any edge appears likely to be small.

Redskins officials and several people who work in other NFL teams’ personnel departments believe potential game-plan advantages were at least partly why New England claimed Brown off waivers Monday. But the consensus seemed to be that any impact would be minimal.

“They might get something on snap counts or audibles, and that would help,” one general manager said in a phone interview. “But the Redskins could do some things to dummy up what they’re doing. Also, he wasn’t in on specific game plans.”

Said another GM: “I think sometimes that stuff is overblown, especially once you get a few games into the season. In the first game, especially if there’s a new coaching staff, that might be a factor. But after three games, there’s enough on tape.”

There was widespread speculation that New England’s Week1 blowout by Buffalo had something to do with the game-plan effects of cutting Lawyer Milloy on Tuesday of that week (after he had been in game-plan meetings) and having him sign with the Bills on Wednesday night.

“That was a totally different situation,” one talent evaluator said, noting that Milloy was a veteran safety (not a young lineman) who wanted to show up his old team (unlike Brown, whose ties with Washington run deep).

Among the reasons Brown might be a reluctant turncoat: he’s best friends with Jeremiah Trotter, having grown up with him in tiny Hooks, Texas; he played for offensive line coach Kim Helton at Houston; and he wasn’t entirely eager to go to New England. Brown, according to Redskins sources, even asked if he could reject the Patriots’ waiver claim.

On New England’s roster, Brown replaced injured guard Mike Compton. Brown, 26, was a spot starter for Washington in nine games last season. He was inactive in Week1 this year and was released in Weeks2 and 3 to make room for tight end Kevin Ware.

Note — Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs passed one test on his bruised pancreas and was awaiting the results on a second. The first test simply determined whether his abdomen was still tender (it wasn’t). The second test was to check his enzyme levels. Jacobs was told he “most likely” will be cleared to play.

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