- The Washington Times - Friday, September 5, 2008

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. | Jason Taylor’s consecutive-games streak is still intact after the Washington Redskins defensive end started Thursday night’s contest against the New York Giants.

Taylor’s streak of 130 starts was in jeopardy after he sprained his knee in the Aug. 23 preseason game at Carolina. But he did light work at practice Tuesday and ran around Giants Stadium about two hours before kickoff.

Despite trying out two braces early in the week, Taylor wore none during pregame warmups. He played all 11 snaps when the Giants moved 84 yards on the game’s opening drive. New York wasted no time running Brandon Jacobs to Taylor’s side of the field, gaining 13 yards on three attempts. Taylor then lost containment on the 1-yard bootleg on which Eli Manning scored the opening touchdown. He wound up with just two tackles.

“The fact that he suited up and went out there and competed tells me a lot about the man,” defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. “I have all the respect in the world for him because that injury he had wasn’t a light injury. I like this guy. He’s a warrior.”

While Taylor played, cornerback Shawn Springs was a surprise scratch.

Springs was kicked in the calf/shin region Monday and missed practice Tuesday, though coach Jim Zorn didn’t seem concerned the injury would sideline Springs. It was his first missed game since Dec. 3, 2006, against Atlanta.

Springs underwent an X-ray on the calf Tuesday, and the result was negative. But he had a substantial limp as he left Redskin Park, and his left leg was outfitted in a sleeve to limit the swelling.

“I couldn’t even get out there for warmups,” Springs lamented.

Rookie Justin Tryon served as the Redskins’ fourth cornerback.

Heyer’s rough start

Stephon Heyer, who replaced veteran Jon Jansen as Washington’s starting right tackle this week, was beaten for a sack by Justin Tuck on the opening play and was called for a false start two snaps later before settling down for the rest of the game.

“I could do a lot better,” said Heyer, who had stoned now retired elite passrusher Michael Strahan in Washington’s 22-10 victory here on Dec. 16. “We have a lot to work on.”

New year, new roles

This year’s season opener represented new roles for safety Reed Doughty and cornerback Leigh Torrence compared to the opening game a year ago.

Doughty made his first Week 1 start Thursday night, a year after he was almost entirely a special teams player. Torrence served as the third cornerback, and his roster spot was secure throughout training camp.

“It is different because I was thinking that I started a long time last year, but it was only half the season,” Doughty said. “I’m definitely looking forward to this start. People have film on me, so I have to go out and establish myself as an everyday player in the NFL.”

Said Torrence: “In the past, I would worry about making the team, but that focus was more about winning and seeing how I could make the team better.”

Six picks inactive

All 10 draft picks made the Redskins’ final roster, but six were inactive against the Giants: Receiver Malcolm Kelly (knee) and safety Kareem Moore (hamstring) were injured, and included in the healthy scratches were quarterback Colt Brennan, offensive lineman Chad Rinehart, tight end Fred Davis and defensive end Rob Jackson.

Linebacker Alfred Fincher also was inactive.

Taylor, Tyron, Erasmus James, Chris Horton, Justin Hamilton and Devin Thomas made their Redskins debuts.

Giants extend Burress

Two hours before kickoff, the Giants announced they had reached an agreement on a two-year contract extension through 2012 with receiver Plaxico Burress.

The Giants and Burress’ camp had been in contract talks for several months.

“We always remained hopeful that it would get done before the season started,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. “It came down to the last few minutes, and we’re happy to get it done so we can move forward in our season. … It took a little longer than we expected it to take, but Plax was professional about it the whole time.”

Medals in the house

Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards, also Giants cornerback Aaron Ross’ fiancee, visited New York’s practice earlier in the week with her Beijing medals: a gold in the 1,600-meter relay and a bronze in the 400 meters.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin asked her to speak to the team.

“It was kind of a surprise,” Richards said. “I didn’t think I was going to talk to the team - I thought I would just show them the medals.”

Said Coughlin: “The guys were yelling that maybe we could have her run a few go-routes or something. I don’t know if there was anybody that rooted for her more than our team.”



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