- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 18, 2007


Coach Joe Gibbs had most of his starters play the entire first half last week at Tennessee — twice as long as usual in a preseason opener — and the best they could manage was a fumble and a missed field goal in Titans’ territory. Yes, Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels and ace running back Clinton Portis (back) remain sidelined with knee injuries, but it’s way beyond time for the starters to find the end zone in preseason.


Derrick Dockery was a competent left guard but the worst of Washington’s five starting offensive linemen the past two seasons. The Redskins were smart not to match Buffalo’s $49 million offer. However, Dockery isn’t proving so easy to replace. Career tackle Todd Wade was struggling before dislocating his shoulder at Tennessee. Tonight, Mike Pucillo, who started 15 games at guard for Buffalo and Cleveland, gets his shot at the job.


The best battle to start is at cornerback where the Redskins have five proven NFL regulars, three of whom have previously started in Washington. Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers, the starters when healthy since November 2005, opened the game last week at Tennessee. However, Fred Smoot, a starter when healthy almost every week for six seasons with Washington and Minnesota, certainly will have something to say about who winds up starting.


With Adam Archuleta traded to Chicago and Andre Carter having enjoyed a late-season surge, receivers Randle El and Lloyd are the embodiment of what went wrong for the Redskins in 2006. Randle El, who strained a quadriceps against Tennessee, would love to have a big game tonight against his old team. Lloyd, who sat out the preseason opener with shin splints, needs to have a big game to have any chance of taking back the starting job.


Todd Collins came to camp with his status as the No. 3 quarterback on the line. The Redskins had former starter Mark Brunell as a veteran behind 25-year-old starting quarterback Jason Campbell and were looking to find another young quarterback to develop. But Collins has not only beaten back the threats from rookie Jordan Palmer et al, he gets a shot to play ahead of Brunell tonight. Is a competition for No. 2 really brewing?

— David Elfin



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