Flags blemish offense's banner preseason

Despite scoring efficiency, unit leads in penalties

Redskins notebook

August 28, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Despite boasting a 4-0 record during the preseason, one of only three unblemished marks - the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Jets are also perfect at 3-0 each - the Washington Redskins lead the league in one unflattering category: offensive penalties.

The Redskins have incurred a league-high 40 penalties for a loss of 299 yards - also the worst during the preseason.

Washington hasn't exactly been stung by the penalties, as it has scored at least 35 points in each of the four games, but the yellow flag did cancel an early touchdown that would've given the Redskins a 14-0 lead against Tampa Bay Saturday night.

With first-and-goal at the Buccaneers' 1-yard line, running back Stephen Davis slammed through the middle for an apparent touchdown early in the second quarter.

But the touchdown was nullified when a fullback and a wide receiver both went in motion before the football was snapped.

Marched back to the 6-yard line, Washington couldn't convert on three plays and had to settle for James Tuthill's 23-yard field goal.

Washington committed only 10 penalties in the game compared to the 12 it earned against Pittsburgh Aug. 18, but coach Steve Spurrier said the team had to learn to avoid such miscues.

"The other night was the first time we threw away some points," Spurrier said. "First-and-goal, and we've got a receiver going in motion and a fullback going in motion. So we didn't get that coached up very well. That's my fault as the coach."

The Redskins know that this is the best time to work out any kinks.

"Once the season begins, penalties will hurt you real bad," said wide receiver Darnerien McCants. "The defense scored a lot, so that helped us out. But if both sides of the ball aren't clicking and you get all those penalties, that can look real bad."

Injury update

Defensive end Bruce Smith missed yesterday's afternoon practice, which drew a quizzical response from Spurrier.

"I think he's OK," Spurrier said. "I don't know where he is, to tell you the truth. Nobody told me."

Later, a team spokesman said Smith had to attend to personal matters.

In injury news, cornerback Andre Lott will not play in tomorrow's final preseason game against the New England Patriots at FedEx Field after suffering a concussion during practice yesterday.

Dean Kleinschmidt, the team's head athletic trainer, said Lott was battling a headache and had extra sensitivity to light and noise. He will be examined by a doctor tomorrow, Kleinschmidt said.

Linebacker LaVar Arrington experienced some soreness in his hamstring, but Kleinschmidt said he didn't expect it to prevent Arrington from joining the defensive starters for their assigned number of plays tomorrow.

Kicker Brett Conway's knee is improving, Kleinschmidt said. Conway, who has missed the last two games, will suit up and warm up tomorrow, but will not play.

Kleinschmidt said Conway should be ready for the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals Sept. 8.

Three players cut

Washington cut three more players to get to the 65-player limit.

Released were linebacker Donte Curry, a third-year player out of Morris Brown in Georgia; defensive tackle Sean Powell, a second-year player from New Mexico State; and long snapper Jeff Grau, a rookie from UCLA.

The Redskins must cut 12 more players by Sunday to reach the league's 53-player limit.

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