- The Washington Times - Friday, September 15, 2006

Running back T.J. Duckett was greeted with a media horde worthy of a star when the Washington Redskins acquired him from the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 23. After all, Duckett had rushed for 2,175 yards and 31 touchdowns during his previous four seasons.

But Duckett didn’t play in Monday’s season-opening loss to Minnesota. Coach Joe Gibbs said the right situation to use the 6-foot, 254-pound Duckett didn’t present itself, even though the Redskins had a trio of second- or third-and-shorts and penetrated the Vikings’ 15-yard line on four drives. Associate head coach Al Saunders, who calls the plays, noted that Washington had just 53 snaps.

Duckett, who had seven carries for 26 yards in two preseason games after the trade, was a team player about not participating in the game.

“It’s just part of the territory, the role,” said the 25-year-old Duckett. “I have to adjust to it.”

Duckett said not playing against Minnesota hasn’t made him any more anxious to get in there tomorrow night in Dallas. His main focus is on mastering his crash course in Saunders’ scheme.

“I’m trying to learn as much as I can as fast as I can,” Duckett said. “It’s like the first day of school all over again.”

New man in town

When Christian Fauria, Washington’s only reserve tight end, came out of the Vikings’ game with a hematoma on his lower leg, the Redskins decided they needed another backup to Chris Cooley. So they signed Todd Yoder, who had worked out for them the previous week.

“I was hopeful that they would give me a call,” said the 28-year-old Yoder, one of Jacksonville’s final cuts. “It was tough getting cut after being there for two years, but when they drafted [tight end Marcedes Lewis] in the first round, we had an extra guy.”

Yoder, who missed last season with a knee injury, started just 10 games with 28 catches and two touchdowns in five seasons with Tampa Bay (2000-03) and Jacksonville (2004). The Vanderbilt graduate has made his mark as a blocker and on special teams.

Quiet debut

Since they didn’t have a first-round draft choice, the Redskins welcomed second-rounder Rocky McIntosh to Washington in April with all the usual trappings of a top pick: a press conference that began with Gibbs presenting the linebacker with his jersey.

McIntosh was supposed to push veteran Warrick Holdman, a disappointment in 2005, to start on the weak side. McIntosh had a solid preseason, leading the Redskins with 22 tackles.

But while sixth-round defensive tackle Kedric Golston played about a quarter of the defensive snaps against the Vikings, McIntosh only saw action on special teams. He made one tackle on a kickoff.

“Of course, I wanted to play on defense, but it was exciting to get out there and show people what I could do on special teams,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh’s predecessors as high-profile rookie additions to assistant head coach Gregg Williams’ defense, safety Sean Taylor (fifth overall in 2004) and cornerback Carlos Rogers (ninth overall in 2005), didn’t start until their third games, but each played on defense in the openers.

Injury update

Fauria (ankle) missed a second straight day but is still probable. Defensive end Renaldo Wynn (ankle) worked for a third consecutive day and is probable. Cornerback Shawn Springs remained sidelined as he has been since having abdominal surgery on Aug. 15.

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