- The Washington Times - Monday, September 25, 2006

HOUSTON — Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston have been working together as reserve defensive tackles since early May, days after they were drafted by the Washington Redskins.

The long road — numerous offseason workouts, a six-week training camp, four preseason games, the angst of learning whether they had made the roster — all became worthwhile during yesterday’s 31-15 win over the Houston Texans.

Golston, who played in the Redskins’ first two games, started in place of injured Joe Salave’a. Montgomery, on the inactive list for losses to the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys, played a reserve role.

Each player made two tackles, and Golston added a half-sack.

“They both did very well with an inside push of the pocket and with an inside presence in the run game,” said Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense. “We needed to see some young guys step up at that position. We drafted them because we needed youth there, and we needed to get them ready to play behind Cornelius [Griffin] and [Salave’a].”

Montgomery moved ahead of third-year player Ryan Boschetti in the pecking order at tackle, and Golston used a strong camp to start the season as the third tackle.

Montgomery, a fifth-round draft pick, said he benefited from not playing the first two weeks.

“I was able to watch how the older guys attack the game and get themselves mentally ready,” he said. “I’ve been playing football forever, but this is the highest level and a new level. Even though you think you’re ready, you’re not truly ready until you watch for a little while.”

Golston wasn’t officially told he was starting for Salave’a; his number simply was called during the Texans’ opening offensive drive. Golston, a sixth-round choice, teamed with Lemar Marshall for the Redskins’ only sack.

“Coach [Joe] Gibbs always says to take deep breaths and then play, and I tried to really listen to him about that,” Golston said. “It wasn’t perfect, but I felt I did well.”

Williams seemed impressed enough that when Salave’a does return, the two rookies still will get playing time.

“When they produce and play the way they did, we feel we can get a good rotation going,” Williams said.

Big day for Betts

Benefiting from Clinton Portis’ presence, T.J. Duckett’s absence and a fourth-quarter lead, running back Ladell Betts produced the third 100-yard rushing game of his career.

Betts gained a career-high 124 yards on 16 carries and scored on a 9-yard run to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter. He gained only 62 yards on 19 carries in the Redskins’ first two games.

Betts’ previous 100-yard games came in the first two starts of his career, a 116-yard effort against the Texans in 2002 and a 118-yard performance against the Vikings in 2004.

“Once my blockers got me to the second level, my job was easy,” he said. “I just had to keep running. We got off to a slow start, but now that we got the first one, I hope we can keep going from here.”

Patten catches on

Receiver David Patten made his first reception of the season, a key 25-yard catch late in the first half. Two plays later, Clinton Portis scored on a 30-yard touchdown run to extend the Redskins’ lead to 21-7.

Patten’s playing time has been severely limited by the additions of Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd.

“David is an example of a guy that’s unselfish,” Gibbs said. “You could see where he really might be upset with his role. … He had a chance to go in and make a play for us and did.”

Duckett surprise inactive

Defensive tackles Joe Salave’a and Ryan Boschetti were placed on the inactive list for yesterday’s game, along with cornerback Shawn Springs (groin), running back T.J. Duckett, safety Reed Doughty and offensive linemen Jim Molinaro and Mike Pucillo. Jason Campbell was the emergency quarterback.

The benching of Duckett, acquired from the Atlanta Falcons for two picks last month, was a surprise, but third tight end Todd Yoder also can play special teams.

“I really felt bad about that, and T.J. was great about it,” Gibbs said. “I had some concern with our tight ends. We were so thin there. I was afraid we would lose a bunch of packages that we had if we had one injury.”

Gibbs said Chris Cooley (hip) and Christian Fauria (ankle) had lingering injuries.

Pucillo, who threw a key block on Rock Cartwright’s 100-yard kickoff return touchdown last Sunday in Dallas, was deactivated in favor of backup offensive tackle Todd Wade.

Texans struggle on

The Texans are 2-15 dating to the start of last season, and their road doesn’t get any easier. Their next six games are Miami, at Dallas, Jacksonville, at Tennessee, at the Giants and at Jacksonville.

“It’s an embarrassing situation,” cornerback Dunta Robinson said. “Right now, we can’t even keep a game close. That’s embarrassing in the NFL, where everybody’s supposed to be professional. But we’re not going to give up. [Mark] Brunell set a record on us this week [with 22 consecutive completions]. What else can go wrong?”

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