- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2005

The Washington Redskins were plagued by 115 penalties last season, the most ever for a Joe Gibbs-coached team, and the problems have carried over to this preseason.

The Redskins had 15 penalties in Thursday’s 26-20 overtime loss to Baltimore and ended the four-game preseason with 35 infractions. Their opponents had 20.

“It was a big disappointment for us,” Gibbs said last night at Redskin Park. “We talked long and hard about it, and we’ll try some different things in practice.”

Gibbs said things can be done in practice to cure false starts and holding. But the Redskins rarely go full speed on special teams, so it’s up to the players to eliminate blocks from behind.

Washington’s special teams had six penalties against the Ravens, causing the offense to have bad field position throughout the game. The Redskins started inside their 20 five times and never in Ravens territory.

“Unless you get a turnover and have the field shortened, it’s rare in the NFL that you drive the ball long distances,” Gibbs said.

Veteran right tackle Jon Jansen is confident the offensive line will be able to limit its penalties when the regular season starts Sept. 11 against Chicago.

“We’ve done a lot of things to not necessarily simplify things up front but things to eliminate those penalties,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll have to worry too much about false starts, and a lot of that comes from the confidence of knowing the offense. There’s no ‘who do I have?’ or ‘when’s the ball going to be snapped?’ ”

Bowen ready

Safety Matt Bowen, who suffered a sprained knee and bruised chest during the preseason that forced him to miss all of the Cincinnati and Baltimore games and most of the Pittsburgh game, said he intends to return to practice Monday.

Bowen’s sprained MCL kept him out against Cincinnati, but he returned to start against the Steelers. He was injured when he landed on Jerome Bettis’ foot and was hospitalized for two nights to monitor any potential internal injuries.

“I feel great,” he said. “I feel tremendous improvement, and I would expect to practice [Monday]. Sometimes freak things happen in football, and this was a freak thing. But it’s over with.”

LaVar takes a step

LaVar Arrington continued his road back from a second knee surgery by playing extensively against the Ravens. He had five unassisted tackles.

“I figured I would play a lot, and they wanted to see if I would hold up,” he said.

Arrington didn’t start but saw action on the second series when he stuffed Jamal Lewis on third-and-1. He also was active in coverage and rushing the passer from his outside linebacker position.

“I want to keep building on it and keep taking it day by day,” he said. “I’m not too caught up in starting or not starting.”

Extra points

Rookie H-back Manuel White (broken fibula) was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Gibbs said surgery is likely.

“It’s frustrating, but it happens,” said White, who played 40 games in four years at UCLA. “I thought it was a sprain until they told me it was fractured.” …

At least one national commentator is on the Redskins’ bandwagon. In the current issue of “ESPN: The Magazine,” former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann picked them to make the playoffs as a wild card and reach the Super Bowl before losing to Pittsburgh. … The Redskins are off today and tomorrow before beginning preparations Monday for the season opener against Chicago.

Staff writer David Elfin contributed to this article.

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