Struggles continue for Redskins in loss 2

Jets 27 Redskins 14

Pro football

August 20, 2006|By DON MARKUS | DON MARKUS,SUN REPORTER

LANDOVER // Like most NFL teams, the Washington Redskins have been downplaying the meaning of the preseason. Yet, if their first two preseason games have shown anything, it's that the Redskins are far from ready for the regular season to begin.

Still struggling with the new offense brought by Al Saunders from Kansas City, and still making enough mistakes on defense to elevate the blood pressure of Gregg Williams, the Redskins lost to the New York Jets last night, 27-14, at FedEx Field.

Though the offense scored its first two touchdowns of the preseason while playing without injured tailback Clinton Portis, the Redskins appear to be way behind Saunders' 700-page playbook.

The defense, continued to be hurt by injuries and a stunning lack of depth, surrendered two touchdowns by the first team, including a 61-yard reverse by rookie wide receiver Brad Smith, and another by the reserves.

And don't forget the less than stellar special teams. The opening kickoff was run back 47 yards and only an arm tackle by punter Derrick Frost prevented a touchdown. Leon Washington later ran back a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

It all combined for another disappointing performance by a team that many expect to reach the NFC championship game, if not the Super Bowl. And it was enough to elicit more than a few boos from the crowd of 65,538.

Trailing 17-7 at halftime, the Redskins spentmost of the third quarter playing defense. Starting at their own 24-yard line, the Jets went on a 23-play drive that took nearly 12 minutes and ended with a 22-yard field goal by Mike Nugent.

Starting quarterback Mark Brunell didn't throw any costly interceptions as he did in the 19-3 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals - the one that ended with Portis partially separating his shoulder making a tackle - but the 36-yard-old left-hander was three of six for 45 yards.

Second-year quarterback Jason Campbell threw one interception, but he also showed some flashes of promise, particularly in the team's first scoring drive in the opening half. Campbell finished six of 13 for 83 yards.

Veteran quarterback Todd Collins, after an abysmal start to his Redskins career last week in Cincinnati, found a little redemption in the form of a six-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with a 30-yard touchdown pass to backup tight end Buck Ortega in the fourth quarter.

For the Jets, a team rebuilding with first-year coach Eric Mangini, last night was one of promise. Despite the absence of starting quarterback Chad Pennington, the Jets had no trouble moving the ball against the Redskins.

Former Redskins starter Patrick Ramsey returned to earn some retribution against his old team, but it was the plays made by rookies Smith andWashington that should excite fans back in NewYork.

There was little to get Redskins fans excited. No bone-crushing hits by Sean Taylor. No big runs from Ladell Betts, who in place of Portis gained only 9 yards on three carries. Not much of anything on a night when fans started leaving with 10 minutes left.

The injuries continue to mount for the Redskins. After losing Portis, then watching cornerback Shawn Springs and defensive end Phillip Daniels go out with injuries during practice, defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin sprained his right knee on the second series last night.

With Daniels sidelined for at least a couple of weeks with a sprained back, it means that the Redskins will likely gomost of the preseason without the starting left side of their defensive line.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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