- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2003

The Atlanta Falcons have a translator for the Fun ‘n’ Gun.

Falcons quarterback Doug Johnson is a product of the system Washington coach Steve Spurrier made famous at Florida. With potential espionage in mind, the Redskins are changing around their calls and hand signals for Sunday’s game at Atlanta.

“Oh, I’m sure he’ll go in there and tell them a lot of our audibles, a lot of our signals and stuff,” said Redskins assistant quarterbacks coach Noah Brindise, who played with Johnson at Florida. “So we’re going to have to find a way to combat that.”

Complicating the situation is the noise level at the Georgia Dome. Quarterback Patrick Ramsey might have to resort completely to hand signals at times to get the offense into the right play. And hand signals will be easier for Atlanta to spot.

“We’re going to have to change some stuff, and we’re all going to have to be on the same page,” Ramsey said. “We’ve got to know it.”

Jacobs, Flemister in doubt

Spurrier wasn’t sure either wide receiver Taylor Jacobs (bruised pancreas) or tight end Zeron Flemister (strained Achilles’ tendon) would be able to play at Atlanta, but both players expressed some optimism.

Jacobs, who spent five days in the hospital after being injured in the Aug.28 preseason finale at Jacksonville, is scheduled to undergo a CAT scan today to see if he has healed sufficiently. He participated in individual drills yesterday and was feeling much better.

“If I had to guess, I’d say I’ll be full-speed by Sunday,” Jacobs said. “I can do just about everything. I’m not really full-speed. I lost a little strength while I was in the hospital. I’ve just got to get that back.”

Said Spurrier: “He could [play], but we’ll wait and see.”

Flemister injured his Achilles’ while blocking on a special teams play in Thursday’s win over the New York Jets. He remained in a walking boot and hoped to do some running at practice tomorrow and try moving around in pads on Thursday.

Spurrier said Flemister is “unlikely” for Sunday and that rookie tight end Kevin Ware could be signed from the practice squad.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Jermaine Haley (fractured thumb) participated in individual drills and expects to play.

“I’m just trying to rest it right now,” Haley said. “I don’t want to aggravate it or anything. With these days off, I think I should be OK for the game.”

Ohalete explains

Safety Ifeanyi Ohalete said he committed a late hit in the Jets game because the officials didn’t blow the whistle.

“Just to let the fans know, when you’re growing up and playing football, they teach you to play to the whistle,” Ohalete said. “The whistle hadn’t blown yet. That’s why I dove in there. … But looking on film, it was a late hit. … It was a mistake on my part. It won’t happen again.”

The play was significant because it kept alive the Jets’ only touchdown drive. Running back Curtis Martin gained 2 yards to set up what would have been third-and-8. Instead, Ohalete’s penalty put New York at the 45 with a first down.

Overall, it was a weird day for Ohalete. He broke up a pair of passes in Redskins territory on the Jets’ next drive, but later couldn’t bring down Santana Moss on what turned into a 26-yard punt return.

Strangest of all, he nearly was replaced the day before the game by Lawyer Milloy, who instead signed with Buffalo after his unexpected cut from New England.

“That’s part of the business,” Ohalete said. “If the owner or the GM feel somebody’s better at a position, then obviously they’re going to try to get him. I just have to prove my worth. Hopefully I continue to do that this year.”

Extra points

The Redskins worked out three players but did not make an immediate signing. Two were safeties, David Gibson (who started nine games for Indianapolis last season) and Nick Sorensen (a former St. Louis backup who attended George C. Marshall High School and Virginia Tech). The other was cornerback Ricky Sharpe (an undrafted rookie cut by Cleveland). …

Sunday clearly was a day of football-watching for Spurrier, who compared his penchant for rotating quarterbacks (not this year, of course) to Rams coach Mike Martz’s refusal to pull Kurt Warner and Carolina coach John Fox’s decision to supplant Rodney Peete with Jake Delhomme. …

Brindise confirmed that the interception by Jets cornerback Donnie Abraham was more a nice play by Abraham than a mistake by Ramsey. The quarterback could have sensed Abraham better, Brindise said, but he “threw on time and threw to the right spot.” …

Johnson and Brindise participated in a famous quarterback rotation in Florida’s big win over Florida State in 1997. The Seminoles were No.2 at the time and headed for a national title shot before being upset by the Gators.

“It was weird, but it worked out great,” Brindise said. “That was a fun game. Doug obviously can play. I think he showed that yesterday [in a 27-13 win over Dallas]. We’ll see what happens.”


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