As the press gathering ended, Mark Brunell told reporters, ''It's not that big a deal.'' To which he was reminded, ''This is the Redskins; you're the quarterback. It's always a big deal.''
Even Brunell agreed with that. But the point remained the same: when he missed practice today for a strained groin, it probably wasn't that big a deal. The Redskins called it a precautionary measure and said he would play against New England Saturday.
Brunell injured the groin in practice Tuesday and worked on it Wednesday. But as he warmed up for practice Thursday, it didn't feel right so Brunell opted to sit out.
''If I was a running back, it would be a big deal,'' he said.
...New running back T.J. Duckett practiced today and will play against New England on Saturday. The players have welcomed him in, even those who were disappointed by his acquisition. Ladell Betts worked with him on a drill and Mike Sellers walked by a media gathering around Duckett and announced, ''Fresh meat!'' Duckett noticed Sellers' number and said, ''I like that number.'' Of course, Duckett wore 45 in Atlanta; he's wearing 36 in Washington.
...Redskins running back Rock Cartwright told a local TV station that he regretted calling the trade for T.J. Duckett a slap in the face. Wise move; Cartwright is hardly in a position to see any move that way.
...Mike Sellers also was upset about the move, but should he be? After all, Sellers will still play fullback in short-yardage situations. If Duckett plays at the goal-line, it likely would be as the running back, behind Sellers. It's not as if Duckett will get the ball every time -- and it's certainly not as if Sellers would have gotten it every time before. His job is to block first and then be a surprise runner second. That won't change.
...End Phillip Daniels will see a spine specialist on Tuesday, to determine if he can return next week or not.
...Redskins assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams told reporters that, on the 23-play drive against the Jets last week, his defense won 17 of the plays. That sounds good, but they six they lost mattered a whole bunch. Dallas could have boasted last year, ''We won for 56 minutes.'' But the bottom line is all that matters. All that needs to be said about a drive like that, ''We need to get off the field much sooner. That's unacceptable.''