- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Washington Redskins’ stiff task at Philadelphia tomorrow could get tougher if defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin remains sidelined because of a hip flexor.

Injured in last weekend’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Griffin sat out practice all this week and yesterday was unsure of his status. He wouldn’t speculate on his odds of playing, saying his athletic movement was limited to riding a stationary bike.

The Redskins continued to list Griffin as “probable,” but his tone indicated more doubt.

“I think it’ll be a game time decision,” Griffin said. “I really don’t know.”

The availability of Griffin, who has dominated in his first season with the Redskins, is a key issue for Washington’s second-ranked defense. After going without a sack last weekend, the unit now must stop Philadelphia’s dynamic offense featuring quarterback Donovan McNabb and wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Coach Joe Gibbs prefers that players who miss the week’s major practices — on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — don’t play on Sunday. But defensive players generally fall under the purview of assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams and his staff. Gibbs said line coach Greg Blache and Griffin would make this choice.

Blache, however, offered no insight, saying, “I’m not a doctor. I didn’t work that hard in school. I don’t do medical.”

Brown ‘scared’

Among the tricks Ray Brown apparently picked up during 19 NFL seasons is how to sweet-talk his opponent. Asked about talented pass rusher Jevon Kearse, Brown’s primary matchup tomorrow, the 41-year-old right tackle offered two words:

“I’m scared.”

Brown was joking, of course, but the duel should be an intriguing one. Kearse is up to six sacks in his first season as an Eagle, leading a defense that ranks sixth in the NFL in sacks per play. Brown has earned raves from Redskins coaches while filling in for injured Jon Jansen, and in Week 2 the New York Giants’ Michael Strahan wasn’t able to do much against him.

“Look, it doesn’t matter who it is — technique and that type of stuff has to be successful for me,” Brown said. “When I fail at technique and don’t do things right, that’s when I get in trouble. I’ve got to be pretty technique sound against this guy.”

What was that?

Cornerback Fred Smoot took exception to the theory that Washington’s defense has yet to stop an offense as potent as Philadelphia’s.

“I’m sorry, we just played Brett Favre,” Smoot said, referring to the Green Bay Packers’ fourth-ranked offense. “We just played Chad Johnson and the Bengals. Every time we step out, it’s a challenge. And as a defense, we’re going to take it personally. Yeah, we play people like that.”

Then Smoot took a jab at Owens and Co.

“If you ask me, Green Bay’s wide receivers corps is better as a whole anyway,” he said.

Extra points

Backup quarterback Mark Brunell was added to the injury list as “probable” after getting kicked in the calf. …

No Redskins appeared on the NFL’s list of leaders in Pro Bowl voting this week. The league revealed the top overall vote-getters and the No. 1 player at each position in each conference. Former Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey was the AFC’s leading vote-getter at his position. …

An NFL Players Association spokesman said a hearing will be set in February to resolve linebacker Clifton Smith’s grievance against the Redskins. Smith filed a claim Sept. 16 after he was cut, signed to the practice squad and placed immediately on injured reserve. Smith is being paid a practice squad salary while rehabbing from elbow surgery. His request for his regular salary was denied by the Redskins.

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