- The Washington Times - Monday, September 20, 2004

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As if seven turnovers weren’t bad enough, the Washington Redskins also left Giants Stadium last night uncertain about the status of their starting quarterback.

Mark Brunell was forced out of the Redskins’ 20-14 loss early in the third quarter with a strained left hamstring and never returned. For now, Washington is listing Brunell as day-to-day, leaving his status for next Monday night’s game against Dallas up in the air.

“It’s pretty sore right now,” Brunell said afterward. “I’ll see how it does tonight, go to treatment tomorrow and see how it responds.”

Brunell is not sure exactly when he aggravated the hamstring, but it likely came on one of his several scrambles during the opening drive of the second half. He remained in the game for a few more plays, but after struggling to get a handoff to tailback Clinton Portis, Brunell remained on the ground and called for a trainer.

He walked off under his own power and tried to loosen the hamstring on the sideline, but he said he never felt good enough to return to the huddle.

“I think it [happened on] one of those bootlegs,” Brunell said. “I either landed wrong, or I just felt a pull. It’s unfortunate, because it came at the worst time.”

Patrick Ramsey replaced Brunell and was sacked almost immediately. Moments later, Portis fumbled for the second time in the game.

Washington likely won’t know about Brunell’s availability for several days. On the bright side, the veteran quarterback does have a long week to recover before Dallas comes to town next Monday.

“That’s what I’m shooting for,” he said. “The extra day certainly helps, but I’m certainly shooting for that big one against the Cowboys.”

Brown starts

A position held by Jon Jansen for all but one down from 1999 to 2003 yesterday got a second spot starter. Veteran Ray Brown filled in at right tackle for Kenyatta Jones, who apparently was hampered by a bone spur in his ankle last week.

There had been no word of Jones’ injury during the week, and he even gave an interview Friday about his impending matchup with Giants star defensive end Michael Strahan. Strangely, after the game, Jones was coy when asked why he didn’t play.

“Talk to them,” Jones said. “I don’t know. You’ve got to ask the coaches.”

But coach Joe Gibbs, assistant head coach for offense Joe Bugel and Brown all described a similar situation, in which midweek evidence of Jones’ injury had Brown getting frequent reps at right tackle as the game approached.

“The trainers came up to me on Wednesday,” Bugel said. “They said we better be careful about Kenyatta, as far as his reps and stuff like that. He’s got a little bone spur on his ankle, some swelling. I moved Ray there right away. We moved them around. I thought, game-time decision, ‘Hey, play the healthy one.’”

Brown, at 41 the third-oldest position player in the NFL, appeared to hold up pretty well against Strahan, who was credited with five tackles and no sacks. The performance came despite Brown’s age and his belief that he hadn’t played tackle since his first stint under Gibbs in the early 1990s.

“Probably about 10 years or so,” Brown said. “It’s been awhile.”

Hall, Arrington play

Two Redskins played despite nursing injuries all last week. Kicker John Hall performed his usual duties after straining a hamstring in the opening win over Tampa Bay, while linebacker LaVar Arrington overcame a knee sprain he suffered in the Bucs game.

Hall clearly was limping at times, particularly following his kickoff midway through the first quarter. But he couldn’t provide any information about the injury, and he became angry when asked if he expected it to linger into next week.

“I don’t expect anything,” Hall said. “I really don’t want to talk about it, to be honest with you.”

Arrington, meanwhile, maintained his “no time for pain” mantra when asked about his plans for next Monday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

“I’m sore,” Arrington said. “But it doesn’t matter. We’ve got games to win.”

Portis streak ends

Not since Oct. 12, 2003, had running back Clinton Portis fumbled. But yesterday he put the ball on the ground twice, ending an impressive streak of consecutive touches without a turnover.

According to the Fox broadcast, Portis had gone 280 touches (runs and catches) before Giants safety Shaun Williams popped the ball loose in yesterday’s second quarter. Linebacker Barrett Green recovered and ran 16 yards for a touchdown. Portis fumbled again on the first series of the third quarter, squelching a drive in Giants territory.

“I know you can’t give the ball up,” Portis said. “Everybody knows you can’t give the ball up. It ain’t no big thing. Fumbles happen. That’s what the defensive players get paid for.”

Bowen burned

One week after playing the game of his life, Matt Bowen struggled against the Giants. The Redskins’ strong safety, who had two sacks and a forced fumble in the season-opening win, was beaten by receiver Tim Carter on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner early in the second quarter.

It was the first touchdown surrendered by the Redskins’ defense this season.

“He ran past me,” Bowen said. “He made a good move, and Kurt made a very good throw. If you don’t play your technique, you get beat.”

Bowen also was mysteriously absent from the huddle during much of the fourth quarter, with seldom-used Ryan Clark taking over at safety alongside Andre Lott, who again started ahead of first-round pick Sean Taylor.

Daniels battles injuries

Phillip Daniels suffered a strained groin late in the first quarter, and though he was able to briefly return after a few series on the sideline, Washington’s right defensive end expressed frustration over his frequent injury troubles.

Daniels missed most of the preseason with an abdominal strain and had only recently fully recovered from that injury. Yesterday’s groin strain figures to linger for at least some time as well.

“I’ll just keep battling,” Daniels said. “Hopefully I’ll be healthy enough to play in the near future. For now, it’s just frustrating. I’ve never had injuries like this. I just have to find out what’s going on. It’s upsetting not being able to be out there battling with your teammates.”

An offseason free agent acquisition from Chicago, Daniels has started at least 13 games in each of the last six seasons.

Inactives

Linebacker Mike Barrow, despite significantly increasing his work in practice last week, missed another game with knee tendinitis. He has yet to appear in a preseason or regular-season game for Washington.

The Redskins’ other inactives were running back Rock Cartwright, linebacker Devin Lemons, offensive lineman Mark Wilson, H-back Brian Kozlowski, wide receiver Darnerien McCants and defensive lineman Demetric Evans.

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