- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 22, 2007

Coach Joe Gibbs, as usual, is nervous about tomorrow’s game even though the visiting New York Giants are winless and his Washington Redskins are undefeated. Gibbs isn’t just worried because the 0-2 Giants have the NFC’s third-ranked offense or because they swept the Redskins last year or because they will have had more time to prepare because Washington (2-0) played in Philadelphia on Monday night.

“I worry about us because when you win a couple of games, everybody starts saying a lot of good things about you,” Gibbs said.

Too bad. People could continue saying nice things if these Redskins follow the trend set by past Gibbs teams. In his previous 15 seasons in Washington, Gibbs won his first two games just four times — in 1982, 1986, 1991 and 2005 — and made the playoffs each season. What’s more, those teams never failed to advance, winning two Super Bowls (1982 and 1991), reaching an NFC Championship game (1986) and the divisional round (2005).

Gibbs made the playoffs in just five of his other 11 seasons.

Last starter standing

The injuries to right tackle Jon Jansen and right guard Randy Thomas have 2000 first-round draft choice Chris Samuels as the only one of the Redskins’ 22 starters who predates Gibbs’ 2004 return.

“That’s crazy,” the left tackle said surveying the locker room.

The only other healthy players whom Gibbs inherited are snapper Ethan Albright (2001) and reserve running backs Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright (both 2002). Receiver James Thrash and cornerback Fred Smoot are both in their second Washington tenures.

Daniels will play

Defensive end Phillip Daniels practiced for a third straight day and should reclaim his starting job from Demetric Evans tomorrow after missing the Philadelphia game with the sprained right foot he suffered in the opening victory over Miami.

However, Smoot was limited again in practice because of a tender hamstring, leaving him questionable for the Giants. Smoot said he expects to play, but he said the same thing before being held out against the Eagles. David Macklin and Leigh Torrence are the other backup corners although third safety Pierson Prioleau played more than usual in Smoot’s absence against Philadelphia.

Backup safety Vernon Fox is still limited by the groin he hurt against Miami. Fox, inactive against the Eagles, is questionable for the Giants. Reed Doughty and/or Omar Stoutmire will play if Fox can’t.

Randle El heats up

Receivers Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd were grouped together during their Washington debuts last year because of their huge contracts and lack of production. But while Lloyd doesn’t have a catch this year and has seen his playing time dwindle, Randle El has clearly established himself as a viable option to 2005 Pro Bowl wideout Santana Moss with nine catches for 206 yards.

With 22.9 yards a catch, Randle El trails only Tampa Bay’s Joey Galloway and Dallas’ Terrell Owens (both 23.0) among players with at least four catches.

Randle El’s 206 receiving yards rank eighth in the league.

“A lot it is knowing the offense [better],” Randle El said. “A lot of it is working with [quarterback Jason Campbell] in the offseason. I came in last year and wanted to get some big-time things going, but it didn’t [happen]. This year, you run your routes and you knowing you’ve got an opportunity to get the ball. You felt that like that before, but it’s a little different because you’ve made the plays and you know they’re trying to get you the ball.”

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