Fabian Washington can't wait to get

OWINGS MILLS – Fabian Washington hasn't been stricken with temporary amnesia, but the Baltimore Ravens cornerback will no longer dwell on a dreadful performance that practically made him gag watching how he was repeatedly toasted by Lee Evans. Beaten for three touchdown passes by the Buffalo Bills wide receiver and benched in the fourth quarter, Washington won't soon forget what happened.

Replaced by Josh Wilson, Washington is expected to regain his starting job Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. He wouldn't confirm his status, though.

"I watched the film like three times and was disgusted at myself," Washington said. "My technique was out of whack the whole game. I know what I did wrong, that's the good thing. If you know what you're doing wrong, you can always correct it. I got to clear my head and forget about football, and the day I got back to football, I had fun.

"When you're getting beat to sleep, it's kind of hard to have fun. I just got back laughing, playing, joking around, being me, instead of walking around uptight. I don't stress about a lot, but that one hurt a lot because I don't think that team should have even been in the ballgame with us, and if I make just a couple plays, the game isn't close." Washington leads the team with eight pass deflections.

However, he has no interceptions. He spent this week discussing his technique and how to bounce back from this setback with coach John Harbaugh and secondary coach Chuck Pagano. "We know what was going on," Washington said. "And I got a chance later on in the week to just forget about football. I think I needed, because after a performance like that, man, I never felt that bad in my life. The only good thing about the whole situation was that we won. "It's easier to get over when you win the ballgame, but I've never had a performance like that in my life. It was hard to get over, but I'd say by midweek, I was over it, and I just got away from football completely." While he was struggling mightily, Washington didn't get the cold shoulder from teammates. Several players, including fellow starting cornerback Chris Carr, offered words of encouragement.

Now, Washington is eagerly looking forward to Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins. "I can't wait for Sunday to get around," Washington said. "We're the one sport where it takes awhile to get the next game. Basketball, baseball, hockey, you play the next night. Football, it sits for a while, and it actually sit for two weeks with me. So, I can't wait to play."



GOODEN GETTING HEALTHY: Sidelined since dislocating his left shoulder against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second week of the season, inside linebacker Tavares Gooden returned to practice following the bye. Now, Gooden is crossing his fingers that he could get back on the field Sunday against the Dolphins. "It's all up to the coaching staff, coach Harbaugh," said Gooden, a Ft. Lauderdale native. "He kept asking me how I felt. He knows I'm a competitor, man. That's the toughest thing I think as a head coach, because he knows the type of people he drafted. And he's like, 'This dude's crazy. I know he'll go out there with a finger hanging off.'

"I've played with certain stuff since I've been in the league, with my groin and all that stuff. I'll leave it up to the staff. I think they'll make a great decision. I wouldn't mind playing against my hometown team."

Gooden has been strengthening his shoulder, concentrating on his rehabilitation regimen. The former University of Miami standout is hoping to prevent a setback. "I was still doing my same exercises, because that's what you've got to do," Gooden said. "You've got to stay on top of the little injuries so that they don't grow and also get stronger so you don't get injured doing certain stuff coming back. I was just trying to get back in football shape." Gooden has yet to test out his shoulder with a hit, though.

Until that happens, he won't truly know if his shoulder is going to hold up. "Contact is contact, that's just football," Gooden says. "My coaches can assess and see where I need to be as far as how I used to be. I can't tell.

"I gave it a shot.. I think all the general soreness is gone. I'm strapped up and there was no slipping and sliding, so [Monday] was productive."

ROAD WARRIORS?: Are the Dolphins true road warriors or mere pretenders?

The unpredictable AFC East club has won all four of its road games and lost all three home games.

Although they've beaten the Green Bay Packers in overtime, their other road wins are over the winless Buffalo Bills, the dysfunctional Minnesota Vikings and the disappointing Cincinnati Bengals. Under coach Tony Sparano's direction, the Dolphins are 13-7 on the road.

"I think it's pretty impressive what Miami has done on the road this year," Harbaugh said.

So, what's the explanation for the disparity between the home and road records?

"They've given up more big plays at home, I think," Harbaugh said. "Probably the biggest difference. Why that happens at home? I think we're concerned with the team we're going to see here. We expect to see the team that's played so well in their four wins. ..

"It's a rough, tough team. You can see the personality that their coaching staff is trying to instill in them on both sides of the ball, and it's just going to be one of those kinds of football games. It's going to be a very demanding football game.


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