- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

Cedric Killings hadn’t played in an NFL game since 2001. Ryan Boschetti played in just three games as an undrafted rookie in 2004. But when Brandon Noble re-injured his left knee in practice three days before Washington’s season opener, journeyman Killings and the still-raw Boschetti were suddenly the Redskins’ reserve defensive tackles, roles they will keep the rest of the year after Noble went on injured reserve Sept. 22.

“This is a league of opportunity,” starting right tackle Joe Salave’a said. “Ced and Ryan have to look at this as an opportunity to step into the limelight, do some good things and help us win. They can’t replace Brandon’s experience, but if we didn’t have confidence in them to get the job done, they wouldn’t be here.”

With 10 linemen with NFL experience ahead of him, Boschetti wasn’t supposed to play for the Redskins last season, but after 10 weeks on the practice squad, he was activated for the Pittsburgh game and made four tackles. He started two weeks later against Philadelphia.

“I feel like I’m up to the task, but I felt like I was up to the task last year,” said Boschetti, 23, who played two years at UCLA after two years in junior college. “When I’m called upon, not only do I need to fill in, I need to make plays. I practiced against the starters every day last year, which really got me ready to play.”

Killings had an even more promising rookie year, playing in 14 games, starting one, and recording three sacks as an undrafted rookie for San Francisco in 2000. He went to Cleveland in 2001 and played four games with Carolina that season. But Killings never got on the field with Minnesota the next two seasons or after being picked up by Washington for the final four games of 2004. Defensive line coach Greg Blache said Killings probably would have made the roster last summer if he hadn’t sprained an ankle during training camp.

“This is my best chance to show what I can do since my rookie year, but I never stopped believing or stopped working,” said the 27-year-old Killings, an All-American at Carson-Newman. “The only thing I can control is what I do. I make sure that I give maximum effort when I’m out there and let the rest take care of itself.”

Despite losing Noble, Blache isn’t worried.

“Cedric is very strong, a very good point of attack player, where Ryan’s got a little more movement, a little bit more quickness,” Blache said. “They’ve both gotten some snaps and made some plays. What we need them to do is make more. They’ve got to fill a void.”

Noble, 31, hinted he might never play again after losing his second year in the last three to a balky left knee as well an underlying bone bruise, which is similar to the ailment that kept Pro Bowl weak side linebacker LaVar Arrington out for most of 2004.

“They didn’t just tell me I was on IR,” said Noble, who’s assisting Blache with the linemen. “They asked me. It was a tough choice but probably the right thing to do if you look at what LaVar went through last year. For me to say four to six weeks and potentially longer and hold up a roster spot wouldn’t really be fair. [Retirement] is something my wife and I will talk about. It’s something I’ve been thinking about since blowing my knee out [in August 2003]. They’ve told me if I want to come back next year, I can, so it’s up to us.”

Notes — Cornerback Walt Harris (calf), safety Pierson Prioleau (hamstring) and kicker John Hall (quadriceps) all remained sidelined. Harris might practice today. If not, he likely will join Hall and Prioleau on the inactive list Sunday, and rookie Carlos Rogers will make his first start. … Assistant head coach defense Gregg Williams downplayed Arrington’s unhappiness with playing less in Week 2 than in Week 1 behind starter Warrick Holdman. Said Williams, “LaVar’s doing very well, and he’s improving each week. He has a tremendous team attitude, and as things work out, you’ll see him more.”

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