- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2005

Jon Jansen has been waiting 692 days for Sunday. That’s how long it has been since Washington’s offensive tackle last tangled with his fiercest rival, New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.

“It’s one of those things I missed last year,” said Jansen, sidelined for all of 2004 with a torn Achilles tendon. “It’s a matchup I look forward to because he’s a [six-time] Pro Bowl guy and if I want to get to the Pro Bowl and have people talk about me the way I hope they would, you have to beat guys like that.”

Jansen and Strahan, who missed the final eight games of 2004 with a torn pectoral muscle, battled twice a year from 1999 to 2003. Jansen stoned Strahan as a rookie in 1999 and again in 2000, but Strahan racked up 7 sacks against the Redskins from 2001 to 2003.

Not only does Strahan rank fourth in the NFC with 5 sacks through six games, but Jansen will be at a disadvantage because of the cast on the right thumb he broke in the Sept. 11 season opener.

“If anything, Mike’s probably a little bit better now because it looks like he’s dropped some weight and is in tremendous shape,” Jansen said. “I think he really tried to prove everybody wrong who said he can’t come back from his injury, or he’s not going to be the same or he’s getting old [33]. He’s still the explosive player.”

Williams: LaVar showed burst

Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said after yesterday’s practice that three-time Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington is having another strong week and has a “pep” in his step.

“He’s put together back-to-back good weeks, not only from a mental standpoint but from a physical standpoint, too,” Williams said.

After being a nonfactor during the first five games, Arrington had seven solo tackles in last week’s 52-17 win over San Francisco, benefiting from Williams’ decision to play a 3-4 alignment due in part to multiple injuries at defensive tackle.

Asked if Arrington could see as much playing time against the Giants, Williams said: “We sure hope so. He’s practicing very well and it was nice to see him contribute last week. We got some very significant plays out of him and it was fun to see the energy and the burst. Those are the things I didn’t see earlier in the year.”

Halloween comes early

Describing himself as “Jerome from D.C. who recently moved to McLean,” running back Clinton Portis donned a costume for his weekly press conference that included a black cape and wig, Zorro-like mask, giant yellow sunglasses and gold-colored foil covering his teeth.

Novak awaits word

Kickers John Hall and Nick Novak have split the work this week and it’s becoming more likely that Hall — out since the season-opening victory over Chicago — will return Sunday against the Giants. If Hall proves he can kick off, Novak probably will be cut.

“If there’s an opportunity, I’ll go to whatever team wants me,” Novak said. “I feel I’ve had great success here and made the most of my chance [5-for-7 on field goals with the failures both blocked].”

Injury report

Safety Sean Taylor (ankle), defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (hip flexor) and left guard Derrick Dockery (ankle) all sat out yesterday, but are listed as probable. Offensive line coach Joe Bugel said Dockery sustained his minor sprain during Wednesday’s practice.

Aki Jones (hamstring) returned to practice and fellow defensive tackle Joe Salave’a (foot), center Casey Rabach (ankle) and cornerback Carlos Rogers (ankle) all were removed from the injury report.

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