Saturday, October 29, 2005

Joe Gibbs said yesterday a decision on who will kick for the Washington Redskins tomorrow against the New York Giants likely will be made close to game time.

John Hall has been sidelined since injuring his quadriceps in the Redskins’ Week 1 win over Chicago but has been practicing since Oct. 22. Rookie Nick Novak has kicked in the last five games.

“The week went pretty smoothly and we’ll probably do it at the last minute,” Gibbs said.

If Hall does kick, Gibbs said a decision hasn’t been made whether Novak will be made inactive or released to free up a roster spot.

Novak, a former Maryland player, is 5-for-7 on field goals and has made all 15 of his point-after attempts. Hall was 3-for-3 on field goals against the Bears on Sept. 11, accounting for all of the Redskins’ points. Since the middle of last season, he has missed 13 of the Redskins’ last 17 games.

“I felt like I’ve done everything they’ve asked me to,” Hall said. “I’m looking forward to [returning]. I’ve kept my head in the game every week and have been paying attention in practice to stay in the flow of things.”

In other injury news, left guard Derrick Dockery returned to practice yesterday after missing one day with a minor ankle sprain. Safety Sean Taylor (ankle) and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (hip flexor) practiced after missing the first two days.

The Redskins will be thin at defensive tackle, though. Gibbs said the team is concerned about Cedric Killings (ankle) and Aki Jones (hamstring). Killings did not practice yesterday and was downgraded to questionable. If they can’t play, the only healthy tackles are Griffin, Joe Salave’a, who is nursing a foot injury, and Ryan Boschetti.

Stopping Shockey

Two weeks ago, the Redskins limited Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez to two receptions, but he did draw two penalties. Tomorrow’s task is Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey, who enters with 25 catches for a 17-yard average and three touchdowns.

“They’re both Pro Bowl tight ends and they’re both studs,” safety Matt Bowen said.

Linebacker Marcus Washington covered Gonzalez for most of the Chiefs game, but any number of players could get a chance to cover Shockey, who has 29 catches in five games against the Redskins, including 11 receptions in 2002.

“Jeremy’s been a threat in all the years he’s been there but you can tell him and Eli [Manning] have a good thing going because Eli looks to him in certain situations,” assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said.

Open to new ideas

Because of the health situation at defensive tackle, the Redskins could use their 3-4 defense often against the Giants. Williams said it’s the first time in his NFL career he’s used the 3-4, which employs three down linemen and four linebackers.

The Redskins used it extensively against San Francisco last week, sometimes switching from the 4-3 to the 3-4 in mid-series.

“We put a tremendous emphasis on it this past offseason and we used it a lot last week because we had some nicks [at defensive tackle],” Williams said. “It worked out very well because we were able to rest some of our defensive linemen in the second half. … What it does is effect the decision making and protections for the offense. Our guys are sharp enough and have had a year together and the players are comfortable understanding how we flip from package to package.”

Extra points

Clinton Portis had a game against his former team, Denver, in Week 5, so he can relate to Antonio Pierce’s desire to beat the Redskins tomorrow.

“Everybody knew he wanted to stay here, but football is a business and he had to go — he had to make the best business decision for his family,” he said. “Unlike myself playing Denver and it was a year later, this is months in the making. I’m sure he’s a little angered about having to leave.” …

Right guard Randy Thomas returned to practice yesterday after missing Thursday’s workout to be with his wife, Teresa, who gave birth to a boy.

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