- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jason Taylor didn’t mince any words in describing how he felt about his performance in last week’s Washington Redskins regular-season opener.

“Terrible,” he said Monday night during a charity event in Leesburg, Va.

Although he missed nearly two weeks of practice with a sprained left knee, Taylor played 57 snaps (including penalties with the exception of false starts and delays of game), second among Redskins defensive linemen behind Andre Carter’s 68.

The New York Giants limited Taylor to two unassisted tackles, and their run game challenged him often. He didn’t post a quarterback sack or pressure, a product of the Giants having so many third-and-short situations in which they rushed for first downs.

“I didn’t make enough plays to help us win,” Taylor said. “If we lose a game and I have four or five sacks, I still didn’t play good enough.”

Taylor, who practiced Monday with a brace on his knee, hopes the additional three days of rest has his knee feeling better for Sunday’s game against visiting New Orleans.

“All days help,” he said. “If I get 10 days and we were lucky to have a long week, it will definitely help. … It’s hurt. It’s a physical game, and my knee’s hurt. But that’s not an excuse. I have to make more plays. But this is football, and we’re going to get hurt and banged up and play our way through it.”

Taylor will make his 132nd consecutive start this week, and many of those came in the AFC East against New England quarterback Tom Brady, whose streak of 128 consecutive starts will end because of a season-ending knee injury.

“That’s tough,” Taylor said. “Nobody in this league is immune from getting injured. The thing you learn is that the league doesn’t stop for anybody - it keeps going, and they have enough talent on that team to rally, but you don’t replace a Tom Brady, period.”

Taylor said staying on the field for so many years is equal parts luck and personal drive.

“You’re lucky to not have the big injuries to prevent you from playing,” he said. “A lot of it is fortitude. You’re going to be dinged up. If you want a nice, cushy job, you should go sit in an office. There’s no carpal tunnel syndrome in this game, but there are a lot of bumps and bruises and things like that you have to play through.”

Good start for Rock

Special teams ace Rock Cartwright had a strong debut for the Redskins, setting up the only touchdown with a 50-yard kickoff return and making a good tackle on a punt return.

“It was decent, but it could have been better,” said Cartwright, who averaged 29 yards a return against the Giants. “I missed a couple of reads [on returns] that could have made it explosive. … I didn’t press the wedge as long as I should have. The kicker did a good job of slowing me down [on the 50-yard return], so I had to try and make him miss, and by the time I did, the other guy was right up on me.”

Led by return man Reggie Bush, the Saints’ special teams impress Cartwright.

“What don’t they do?” he said. “They have a lot of guys who make plays and get penetration on coverage, and we know we have to be prepared for Reggie.”

Solving the drops

Ever since he came to the Redskins in 2005, it seems as if cornerback Carlos Rogers has dropped several potential interceptions, and Week 1 was no different - he flubbed two chances.

Coach Jim Zorn said working after practice with a machine isn’t the answer for Rogers.

“Part of it is him working extra, and I think he’s probably done that over his career because he’s noticed it and people around him have noticed it,” Zorn said. “Quarterbacks throwing him the ball in different places and him getting a feel [is better than a machine]. He hasn’t connected the idea of making the play and getting in great position with just putting his hands up. He has to become more comfortable, and quarterbacks throwing him the ball with the kind of velocity they do will help.”

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