Warpath Update

Corner Fred Smoot knows what this season has become.

''It's a true rebuilding year,'' he said. ''People were looking at this like, 'We've got the championship maker back so he'll take us to the championship.' But he needed to get in and find out what players he wants and what he needs to do too. Come on, he hasn't coached in a while. Now he has to get back and catch up with the times. From there comes new players and they have to learn.''

But Joe Gibbs is the reason Smoot said this will get turned around. In the past, Smoot said they were adapting to a new coach every year because they'd done their annual house cleaning. With Gibbs, there's a sense of stability. So even though they're 2-5, the players remain confident.

That's why Smoot, a free agent after the season, wants to return.

''I want to be here man,'' Smoot said. ''I'm a Washington Redskin. I put in too much work here losing. I want to see those golden days. I want to be in the midst of it.''

Gibbs wants him here, too.

''Fred loves football,'' Gibbs said. ''Most people wouldn't be playing right now [with his shoulder injuries]. He's very talented and has a great attitude. He's a real Redskin and our kind of guy. He's a leader by the way he plays. That Chicago game? Not many guys would have done what he did.''

. . .Gibbs on last week's controversial call and subsequent loss: ''That's one of the toughest plays I've ever had to swallow. It could have been one of the biggest comebacks I've ever been a part of. I don't know how to put it into words. You've got to live through it and move on. I've got to put it behind me. I can't spend time fooling around worrying about it, but as a coach that's one of the hardest things to do. It happened and it's over with. It'll go down as a loss, but not in my mind it won't.''

. . . John Hall (groin) is listed as out; linebacker Mike Barrow (knee) is questionable; end Phillip Daniels (groin), tackle Chris Samuels (ankle), corner Fred Smoot (shoulder), defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (back) and receiver Rod Gardner (hip) are probable.

. . . Newly-signed returner Antonio Brown practiced today. Still not certain if he'll return both punts and kickoffs and not even certain he'll be activated for Sunday. The Redskins haven't made that decision yet. Brown is listed at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, but seemed smaller.

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