- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The groin strain that couldn’t knock Washington Redskins defensive end Phillip Daniels out of Sunday’s game now is expected to sideline him at least two weeks.

Daniels, who has earned raves from coaches for his strong play at right end, appeared in obvious pain yesterday at Redskin Park after toughing out the weekend’s 20-14 loss to the New York Giants.

His groin injury follows a strained abdominal muscle that kept him out much of training camp. The two setbacks are related, and he is scheduled to see a specialist today in a visit that was arranged before the Giants game. Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said Daniels could miss “two to four weeks.”

“Oh man, I’m going to be out for a little while,” Daniels said. “I’ve never been through a season where I had so many injuries on the same side of my body. I just have to keep my head up, hopefully come back soon.”

The Redskins apparently plan to go in-house for Daniels’ replacement. The most likely candidate is four-year pro Ron Warner, a 1998 seventh-round pick by the New Orleans Saints who has yet to start an NFL game. Warner played Sunday but wasn’t credited with a tackle; in the opener, he and Renaldo Wynn combined for a sack.

Gibbs wasn’t able to confirm whether Warner would start Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys, but a club official said the team wasn’t considering signing any free agent defensive ends to the 53-man roster.

Right tackle in flux

The coaches will decide this week whether to stick with Ray Brown, who fared well against Giants star defensive end Michael Strahan, or switch back to Kenyatta Jones at right tackle.

Jones, who had manned the position since Jon Jansen was sidelined during the preseason, unexpectedly sat out Sunday after splitting practice snaps with Brown. Coaches said after the game that they opted for Brown, who is healthy, over Jones, who is battling bone spurs in his ankle.

The condition, Tyer revealed yesterday, is a long-standing one that flared up last week. Jones was surprised by his demotion but didn’t dwell on any frustration.

“I was a little discouraged at first because I wanted to be out there with the team,” Jones said. “But you can’t be. They’re the coaches, and we’re the players. You have to go with their decision. Everybody wants to be out there. I really wanted to be out there. They felt like it was time for me to rest my ankle, I guess.”

The NFL is investigating the seeming incongruity that Jones could be sidelined for injury reasons yet not appear on any of last week’s injury reports. Teams are required to list injured players as “probable,” “questionable,” “doubtful” or “out” and make note of anyone who misses team drills.

“He could have played, and he was OK, but he missed some work early in the week,” Gibbs said. “I can’t remember what we did earlier in the week, but he was out there every day, he was in full gear every day, and he worked every day.”

The Redskins could be fined if a violation were found. Said NFL vice president of public relations Greg Aiello: “We’re looking into it.”

Celebration’s over

Gibbs’ frustration with the continued focus on his Hall of Fame credentials boiled over during his press conference. He responded tersely when asked about balancing Sunday’s ugly loss and the expectations that followed his return to the NFL.

“Listen, I’ve got to tell you the truth: I’m kind of fed up with that,” Gibbs said. “Really and truly, me coming back here, I’m starting over. There’s coaches in this league that have been here 12 years, doing great things. I haven’t been. So for my part of this, I’m going to work as hard as I can and do the best I can to put a good football team together.

“But to think that the coach is going to make a huge difference? Players make a difference. Making great plays makes a difference.”

Gibbs’ comments followed a speech he made to the club before the opener in which he expressed hope that the public focus would shift from himself to the players.

Extra points

The Redskins defense continues to rank No. 1 in the league despite Sunday’s loss. At an average of 223 yards a game, Washington is just ahead of the No. 2 Miami Dolphins, who are at 226.5 yards.

Sunday’s performance, in which the Giants generated just 68 yards after halftime, clearly impressed Gibbs, who singled out the performances of linebackers Marcus Washington and Antonio Pierce and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin.

“I felt like we wasted some of the best efforts maybe we’ve had around here,” Gibbs said. …

Kicker John Hall now has a pair of strained hamstrings after injuring his left (nonkicking) while trying to make a tackle on a kickoff return Sunday. However, he was fairly optimistic about getting ready for the Cowboys game.

“[The right] one feels like it’s getting better,” Hall said. “I’m not really worried about it. It’s frustrating, but I’m not worried. I’ll be able to play — always.” …

The Redskins are expected to make a roster move today. A club official indicated a linebacker would be signed. …

Questions for safety Matt Bowen’s weekly column in The Washington Times can be e-mailed to [email protected] The column runs every Wednesday.

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