- The Washington Times - Monday, December 13, 2004

Washington Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs has a concussion, a sprained shoulder and a bruised chest, but he’s a lucky man. Springs, who was injured on a hit by Philadelphia fullback Josh Parry in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 17-14 loss to the Eagles, is doubtful for Saturday’s game in San Francisco but should suffer no long-term damage.

“We’re real fortunate there,” coach Joe Gibbs said.

“When we got to Shawn, he was unconscious for probably a minute, and then he started coming around,” director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said. “It took awhile to get his bearings and to get him to respond to verbal instructions.”

Springs was able to move his hands and feet and was breathing normally, but wary of a spinal injury, the Redskins’ medical staff — including a neurosurgeon the team retains to come out of the stands in such situations — decided to remove him from the field on a board-like stretcher and transport him by ambulance to Virginia Hospital Center. A CT scan was negative, and by 3:30a.m., Springs was doing so well that he was released. He reported later to Redskin Park.

Springs, who signed with Washington in March as a free agent from Seattle, has started all 13 games and took the team lead with his fourth interception Sunday. Veteran Walt Harris will take Springs’ place against the 49ers.

Meanwhile, linebacker LaVar Arrington, who returned to practice last week after sitting out more than two months with an ailing knee, will add to his workload this week with hopes of playing. Backup safety Jason Doering was placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. The Redskins likely will fill his roster spot today or tomorrow.

Sellers seems safe

Coach Joe Gibbs was distressed by the Redskins’ three major penalties on special teams Sunday, calling them “a big negative.” All three were committed by Mike Sellers, who was at Redskin Park early yesterday to meet with special teams coach Danny Smith. The H-back also will meet with Gibbs, who was publicly supportive yesterday, dampening speculation Sellers will be released.

“He’s a very physical guy who has made a ton of big plays,” Gibbs said of Sellers, who’s second on the team with 21 special teams tackles. “He’s very aggressive. Sometimes guys who are playing great get earmarked by the other team, and they’re going to go after him. [But] you’ve got to have a lot of poise. You can’t get caught up in something, because if you do, you’re sacrificing the team for yourself.”

Sellers declined comment.

Beating themselves

After the 28-6 loss in Philadelphia on Nov. 21, the Redskins blamed their five false starts and delay of game penalty in part on the crowd noise at Lincoln Financial Field. However, Washington committed four false starts and another delay call in the rematch at home and burned a timeout to prevent a second such infraction.

“The movement penalties are hard to figure,” said Gibbs, who blamed his shift- and motion-filled scheme for the delay penalty and the blown timeout. “Our tempo needs to be much quicker in practice.”

To accomplish that, Gibbs is having the time between the offense breaking the huddle and the snap reduced from 20 to 18 seconds.

“We do a lot of shifting and motioning, and a lot of times you’re getting a play off with two seconds left, and those two seconds are valuable,” quarterback Patrick Ramsey said.

All told, the Redskins, who have averaged six penalties for 56 yards in their other 11 games, were penalized 24 times for 252 yards in their two games with the NFC East champion Eagles.

Smith a candidate, too

Not only did defensive line coach Greg Blache, a Notre Dame alumnus, pull himself out of the running for the vacancy at his alma mater Saturday, but a team source said two colleges had been in pursuit of special teams coach Danny Smith.

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