- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009


To replace Marcus Washington at strongside linebacker, the Washington Redskins could pursue Buffalo’s Angelo Crowell as a short-term option.

In three years as a starter, he posted 119, 82 and 126 tackles but missed last year when he opted to have knee surgery late in the preseason. Even though he would have been out only four to six weeks, the Bills objected to the operation and placed him on injured reserve. A league source said there’s “no chance” Crowell will be back in Buffalo.

Crowell will turn 28 in August. If the Redskins sign him, that would allow them to address their offensive and defensive line issues with the No. 13 pick.

- “Ugh” and “Seriously?” were the responses of those at the combine when told the Redskins might bring Jason Taylor back. It makes no sense fiscally or performancewise. He made 37 tackles (according to the NFL) in 526 snaps (according to The Washington Times). Taylor said late in the season, “This dog can still hunt.” But what he wouldn’t admit is that the hunting conditions weren’t optimum.

If Taylor is back, it’s up to coordinator Greg Blache to create situations in which Taylor can be productive. They started moving him around the field late in the season - on the same side as Andre Carter and in a two-point stance over a guard - to increase his production.

“There wasn’t ever enough time for him to feel comfortable,” coach Jim Zorn said.

- In addition to having high expectations for receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, Zorn plans to use tight end Fred Davis dramatically more this year. He played only 111 of 1,026 offensive plays as a rookie.

“We’re glad we [drafted Davis],” Zorn said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s going to help this football team. … It was an excellent pick.”

- Zorn said the Redskins’ sack (24) and interception (13) totals will improve but defended the lack of pressure on first and second downs by pointing out the defense was eighth against the run.

“We had good athletes and our scheme was very run-limiting,” he said. “It’s not cautious, but it’s disciplined. … We would all like a much stronger pass rush on third down, and we’re working on improving that. We’re not satisfied with the lack of sacks and the lack of interceptions. We’re going to get better in those two areas.”

- Texas defensive end/linebacker Brian Orakpo injured his hamstring during Monday’s workout after he was fourth in the 40-yard dash (4.70 seconds), second in the vertical jump (39.5 inches) and seventh in bench press (31) among linemen.

Count on the Redskins attending the Longhorns’ pro day in Austin on March 25, regardless of whether they have addressed the strongside linebacker opening.

- West Virginia’s Pat White was one of the big winners during the quarterback workout - and not just as a gadget player. A position coach confirmed what everyone saw on television - White has an accurate arm and posted the best marks in the 40-yard dash (4.55 seconds) and vertical jump (35 inches).

Also helping himself was Kansas State’s Josh Freeman, who asked several teams whether he compares to the Redskins’ Jason Campbell. Freeman checked in at 6-foot-6, 248 pounds; Campbell was 6-5, 233 in last year’s media guide.

- A team needing a safety should be looking at Baltimore’s Jim Leonhard. On Saturday, general manager Ozzie Newsome said: “The things that Jimmy has to deal with us is that Dawan Landry is coming back and we’ve got [Haruki] Nakamura and [Tom] Zbikowski. So he has to look at it like if he’s coming back, he’s competing for a starting job. … I understand Jimmy wanting to go somewhere else.”

Translation: Thanks for you help, Jim. If he wants to get starter money, it won’t be in Baltimore. If he wants to be guaranteed a starting job, it won’t be with the Ravens.

- If it’s willing to spend the money, Philadelphia will face a key decision Friday: T.J. Houshmandzadeh (33 in late September) or the hometown Marvin Harrison (37 in late August)? Houshmandzadeh is a free agent, and Harrison has asked to be released by the Colts. Houshmandzadeh should be the choice because he’s four years younger and could create a ton of matchup problems in the NFC East.

- Changes to the overtime rules and a way to avoid the play-clock fiasco that hurt Tennessee in the playoffs aren’t expected. The overtime rule is fine, but there has to be a way to ensure delay-of-game penalties are enforced - somebody in the NFL office has to devise an alert for one of the officials to whistle a play dead if the clock has expired.

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