- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2006

Cornerback Shawn Springs (groin) will be a game-time decision tomorrow for the Washington Redskins’ NFC wild-card game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Springs, who first was injured at Arizona on Dec. 11, aggravated the muscle in the first half of the Redskins’ win at Philadelphia last week.

“[It feels] better,” Springs said yesterday at Redskin Park. “I just have to go down there and see how I feel on Saturday. I’ve done my normal exercises that I’ve been doing the last four weeks so we’ll see how it is. No gut feeling, but I can’t let the cat out of the bag.”

Springs was the only Redskins player to not take part in the 90-minute practice, the team’s final full-scale workout of the week. He remains questionable on the injury report.

“It’ll be down to the wire,” assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. “He’s a veteran and been in a lot of big games before and we’ve tried to rest him as much as we could. We’ll work him out [pregame] and if we can get him, that would be a bonus.”

Springs said he could serve as the Redskins’ third corner behind Walt Harris and Carlos Rogers.

“If I can go, I’ll be out there,” he said. “But the good thing is with Carlos back feeling good and Walt feeling good, we have enough depth where if I can only go 20 plays in nickel package, I could do that. I have confidence in those guys.”

Rogers missed the final three regular season games with a biceps injury but has practiced all week.

“It’s a little sore,” Rogers said, “but I can flex it all the way and haven’t had any problem practicing.”

Defensive end Renaldo Wynn (foot) returned to practice yesterday and remains probable.

Turnover story

At the season’s halfway point, the Redskins were minus-8 in giveaway-takeaway. But a plus-11 ratio during the season-ending five-game winning streak left the Redskins at plus-1 for the season, tied for 14th in the league.

“It’s huge,” Williams said. “That’s the magic formula for winning these five games in a row. When we have taken the ball away, we’ve also provided a short field for our offense.”

During the win streak, the Redskins offense has scored seven touchdowns off takeaways and the average scoring drive has been 29.1 yards.

“Those are the ways you’re able to put points on the board,” Williams said. “We’ve got to do our part on defense and take that ball away if we can.”

In the Redskins’ 36-35 loss at Tampa Bay in Week 10, a Joe Salave’a fumble recovery set up a quick, 7-yard touchdown drive.

Through eight games, the Redskins had four interceptions and only two fumble recoveries even though they forced 16 fumbles. The last eight games, they had 12 interceptions and 10 fumbles off 14 forces. The Redskins forced only 17 fumbles last season, recovering eight.

“One of our top priorities we had coming into the season was creating more fumbles,” Williams said. “We didn’t do a good job recovering them until late in the season.”

Among the 12 playoff teams, Cincinnati (plus 24) had the best ratio and New England the worst (minus 12).

Extra points

Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for December/January. In five games, Washington had 35 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. … H-back Chris Cooley tied a season-low with just two catches against Philadelphia, but he finished with 71 catches — tied for 23rd in the NFL and third among tight ends/H-backs, behind only San Diego’s Antonio Gates (89) and Kansas City’s Tony Gonzalez (78).

Staff writer David Elfin contributed to this article.



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