Player Analysis: Winners & Losers

Coach Joe Gibbs: ''We got a big downer there with Jon. It took a lot out of us for a while. We'll try to make the best decision we can for him. He's going to play here forever. I told him let's get this fixed. Now we have to have somebody step up.''


Someday, there will be a trivia question. And it will involve Andre Lott. And it will be this: which safety started ahead of Sean Taylor for one week.

So much for the competition at safety. Is there any doubt now after Washington's 20-17 win over Denver? It wasn't just the two interceptions -- though it's a big part of it -- it was also the little plays. On at least three occasions Taylor came up strong against the run and made a nice hit. He had one tackle on a third and four in which he knocked the runner back, holding him to two yards.

Another time Taylor came up hard and made a nice wrap for the tackle. A simple, basic play. But one that's been missing over the years by the safety.

But, man, those interceptions. He played the first one perfectly, not getting too far over on a rollout, turning and showing good speed to the corner. Then he turned around at the right time, clearly reading the receiver's eyes. It was damn near perfect.

On the touchdown, he again read the play perfectly. Too bad the quarterback never read him. But Taylor took a step to his left, saw the play was coming back right and never stopped running as the ball arrived.

Special players make special plays. And this was a special play. But it's his ability to make the non-special play that makes him unique.

Other winners:

RB Clinton Portis. Actually, he didn't do much at all. But I loved the burst he showed on a run around right end for seven yards. He ran around the corner, made a fast decision and busted it up, always moving forward and never hesitating. Other backs would have gained three or four yards on the play. Portis gained more. Portis is not ordinary.

CB Shawn Springs. What an athletic interception he made in the first quarter.

DE Greg White. Had a couple pressures.

OL Kenyatta Jones. Actually was doing OK at right guard.

WR Gari Scott. Caught a 33-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline from Tim Hasselbeck.

DT Cornelius Griffin. Had one good pressure. A few plays later, Griffin showed good athleticism, getting off his block to make a tackle on a screen pass.

QB Tim Hasselbeck. Threw a nice touchdown pass in the corner to Gari Scott, then led a last-minute scoring drive, saving us all from a dreaded preseason overtime.


Redskins OL. Losing Jon Jansen is a major, major blow. As if that wasn't obvious. The Redskins knew their depth at tackle was poor, which is why they drafted two young players. But Mark Wilson is a major project.

RB Rock Cartwright. Didn't do much on the ground and fumbled.

OL Daryl Terrell. Looked lost at right tackle. He hasn't worked there much this summer, but he's going to need to show some versatility to make the roster.

QB Patrick Ramsey. He completed three of eight passes for 12 yards. Didn't seem comfortable at all. The only good news for him is that starter Mark Brunell was merely adequate.

Redskins tackling. It was very, very sloppy in the first half. That could be the result of not doing much tackling in training camp. Whatever the reason the starting linebackers missed a bunch of tackles.

FS Andre Lott. Did you see what Taylor did? In truth, Lott never had a chance. He's just not physical enough to start at this position. Not that anyone ever thought he'd win the job.

OT Mark Wilson. The rookie offensive tackle had a false start penalty and looked like it would take a long time for him to develop. True, it's only his first game, but some things aren't hard to see.

SS Ifeanyi Ohalete. Bit on the bootleg late in the game, allowing the tight end to get open for a 2-yard touchdown pass. Needs to play his responsibilities better.


Coach Joe Gibbs: ''We got a big downer there with Jon. It took a lot out of us for a while. We'll try to make the best decision we can for him. He's going to play here forever. I told him let's get this fixed. Now we have to have somebody step up.''

Gibbs: ''We just couldn't really get stuff going. I think there's going to be a lot to look at on films. . . Tim did a real nice job. I've been bragging about him all the way.''

Gibbs: ''Sean had a real good week in practice too. I'd say he was pretty impressive.''

OT Chris Samuels: ''It's definitely a tragedy for Jon to go down and be out for the season. He's a leader and someone guys in the locker room look up to. He plays hard and it will hurt us. But I have faith in the guys behind him.''

Samuels: ''I saw some tears in his eyes. Jon loves the game and gives it everything he has. It hurts him.''

QB Patrick Ramsey: ''When Jon was kneeling on the field I knew we were in trouble.''

Ramsey: ''I felt a little rusty. I had a few good throws here and there, but I can do better.''

OT Kenyatta Jones: ''I feel like I'm back at home at right tackle. I just have to get back in the groove. I had never played guard before in my life so that was new to me. I was still having to learn it. [Losing Jansen] is a big negative for the team, but this is why we have backups.''

Jones: ''Football is football. I've had a double knee surgery where I missed a season and then I had that incident in New England. I've got another opportunity to play ball. But I put that incident behind me when I signed with the Redskins.''

OT Jon Jansen: ''It's something that a challenge I've never had to deal with before. I've never had to be helped off the field. Ive never missed a practice. It's disappointing and frustrating, especially with the new coaching staff.''

CB Fred Smoot: ''I told you weeks ago that Sean Taylor was a player. When I first came here they threw me in the fire. Hey, a natural is a natural. You can't replace that. He's always around the ball. He has good hands. He's a player. I love having him behind me. He lets Fred Smoot take a lot more chances.''

Smoot: ''Sean doesn't really know the defense yet. Wait until he knows the defense. With me, him and LaVar out there, look for a lot of big plays. Everyone talks about Gibbs' offense, but what about Gregg's defense?''

Smoot: ''Champ was talking about Sean. I told him during the week that he would be good. Champ said, 'Yeah, you've got your mustard behind you. You'll get a lot of picks. Anytime a corner has a safety like that behind him he can cheat a little bit. I'll get 10-12 picks. All I need are the chances. I don't miss my chances."

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