- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2006

Nick Novak believes kickers must have selective short-term memory — remember the great kicks, like his overtime winner against Seattle last year, and block out the bad ones.

Recently, that theory has been tested.

Novak was 0-for-2 in Washington’s 36-22 loss to Indianapolis on Oct. 22, his second game in his second stint with the Redskins. After not attempting a field goal against Tennessee the week before, Novak hit the left upright from 49 yards out in the second quarter and was wide left from 35 yards in the fourth quarter.

Novak’s wait for redemption was extended because of the Redskins’ bye week.

“I’ve forgotten about them and have just put all my focus on the next game,” said Novak, who had appeared inconsolable in the locker room after the loss to the Colts.

“I was [upset] because I strive for perfection and work so hard to perform and I really thought I was preparing the right way,” he said. “But to be great, you have to go through some adversity.”

Novak was cut last year despite a solid five-game stay in place of John Hall. He later caught on with Arizona and was cut by the Cardinals in August. Still a young player, Novak acknowledges he can’t afford many more bad weeks.

“You can’t think about that because it’s out of my control,” he said. “Being young and on a short leash, that’s the way it is. You can’t string together two bad weeks because you never know what will happen.”

Willing and able

Redskins receiver Santana Moss (hamstring) was the only player held out of practice yesterday and remains questionable for Sunday’s game against Dallas. Without their top play maker, the Redskins may have to rely on Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El

“Regardless of if I get one pass or 10 passes, I want to be available for this team and to do that, I have to stay positive,” Lloyd said. “There are three of us — me, Antwaan and [Chris] Cooley — that are chomping on the bit to make some plays for this team.

“We’re really ready to step up and be key contributors for this offense.”

Said associate head coach-offense Al Saunders: “Those guys have got to step up. The strength of our team depth-wise is at the receiver position and they have to step up and do the type of job we think they’re capable of.”

Injury update

Lloyd and right tackle Jon Jansen were added to the team’s injury report after missing part of yesterday’s practice. Lloyd (shoulder) and Jansen (calf) are probable for Sunday.

David Patten (hamstring) also missed part of practice. James Thrash is the only Redskins’ receiver not on the injury report.

Clean shaven

Running back T.J. Duckett looked five years younger yesterday after he shaved for the first time since July 27, the eve of Atlanta Falcons training camp.

Duckett said he always shaves his beard on Nov. 1, the birthday of his late mother, who died six years ago after a long battle with cancer. In his mother’s memory, he created T.J. Duckett’s TD Foundation, which raises money for women fighting cancer. Last year, the foundation raised nearly $90,000.

Philosophical T.O.

Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens conducted his weekly interview session yesterday and used the word “metamorphic” when describing the team’s change from their blowout loss to the Giants to their impressive win over Carolina.

“With the game on Sunday night, it was a change — you could tell by the energy and enthusiasm we had,” Owens said. “Right now, we’re going through a metamorphic stage and just hoping to build on it. You build on it by winning again. The momentum will continue once we string some wins together.”

Balancing act

Dallas ranks fifth in offense (364.7) and fourth in defense (275.4), one of only two teams to be in the top five of both categories. San Diego is third in total yards and second in fewest yards allowed.

Last year, Arizona (eighth on both offense and defense) was the only team to finish among the top 10.

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