- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 12, 2006

READY FOR COMPETITION

Five years ago, Tyler Jones was the young guy, competing against the experienced guy. He won the kickoff job at Boise State followed by, at midseason, the field goal job. He ended up with 294 career points.

When the Redskins play at Cincinnati in the preseason opener tomorrow, Jones will be back in the role of newcomer, competing against veteran John Hall.

Jones, 26, will need to markedly outperform Hall to win the job since coach Joe Gibbs likes seasoned kickers.

“I feel like I’ve been kicking off really well and hitting the field goals solid,” Jones said. “You have to make sure you don’t overdo it in practice but when you do go out, you have to make sure you’re completely dialed in and focused. Any reps you do have to be quality because it’s easy to overkick in camp.”

Jones said on a day he kicks in practice, he attempts 50 kicks (including warm-ups).

Hall has missed 14 games the last two seasons and was 1-for-3 against Baltimore last week.

“Our thing with John is to keep him from overworking,” Gibbs said. “I feel really comfortable with a veteran guy like him who has been around a lot of winners.”

HELPING HIKE

For fans wondering who the person not wearing pads or a helmet is playing center during the Redskins’ 7-on-7 periods, his name is Alex Santos and he works under Louis Riddick in the team’s pro personnel department.

A former center at N.C. State, Santos was asked by associate head coach Al Saunders to reprise his role when the offensive line is elsewhere on the practice field. Saunders is a proponent of the quarterbacks always taking a snap from center regardless of the drill. Santos started serving as the DH (designated hiker) during the organized team activities and mini camp. Even last week at FedEx Field, he was at midfield during the opening drills.

“Al’s always had a guy simulate the center so the quarterbacks can get their timing and rhythm down,” Santos said. “I don’t mind. It’s cool to be out there because it’s a fun offense to watch, especially seeing our skilled players do what they do best.”

Santos joined the Redskins earlier this year after coaching high school football and, last year, serving as a graduate assistant at Vanderbilt.

GRIZZLED PASSER

Mark Brunell is not only the Redskins’ most grizzled player with his 36th birthday less than six weeks away, but the quarterback has followed in the footsteps of Denver’s Jake Plummer by adopting the Grizzly Adams look with an increasingly bushy beard. Maybe Brunell is operating under the NHL tradition of not shaving until his team is eliminated from the playoffs.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

9 Players not making the trip to Cincinnati

QUOTABLE

“We’ll be very simple and do the basic things and use that to look at a lot of young players who will be playing quite a bit. The main thing, as it is in all preseason games, is to evaluate those players.”

— Associate head coach-offenseAl Saunders

ON THE SIDELINES

Offensive tackle Jim Molinaro (knee surgery), defensive end Nic Clemons (knee), safety Curry Burns (hamstring), defensive back Aric Williams (hamstring), running back Jesse Lumsden (groin), receiver Taylor Jacobs (groin), linebacker Kevin Simon (groin), cornerback Ade Jimoh (sternum) and guard Kili Lefotu (illness) remained sidelined and will not make the trip to Cincinnati. Defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery, who injured a hamstring in the Aug. 6 scrimmage at Baltimore, returned yesterday.

Today’s Schedule

Travel to Cincinnati

Ryan O’Halloran and David Elfin

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