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Washington Week in Preview

by Mark Daniels

It took a bit longer than usual for the dust to settle from the opening day loss in San Francisco, thanks to the smug and not so glib Jim Harbaugh, ripping into Clay Matthews for his out of bounds tackle of Colin Kaepernick and the ensuing dust up with tackle Joe Staley.  Matthews admitted the play was bad, Harbaugh took it about five steps further, calling it a "cheap shot, clothesline".  Harbaugh also chided the four time Pro Bowler about punching, make that slapping Staley after the 320 pounder came after Matthews.   "If you're going to go to the head, come with knuckles, not a slap."  Harbaugh said Matthews has worked hard to build a tough guy image and it may need some repair.  Back in Green Bay, the Packers just let the hot air sail out of the Harbaugh balloon all by itself, but they'll file away the quotes I'm sure.

On to Washington.  Redskin week began today with the first practice and two starters on offense didn't work today.  Josh Sitton must not have been able to find a comfortable seat on the team charter to San Francisco and came down with a back problem.  Jermichael Finley also did not practice with a toe injury that he said occurred on his first drag route in the first quarter when he was tackled by Patrick Willis and his toes bent the wrong way.   Finley said he didn't say anything about it until after the five catch, one touchdown game.  Nick Perry showed up on the Wednesday injury report, a full participant with a neck injury.  He suffered a stinger late in the game last week.  Morgan Burnett returned but only on a limited basis with a hamstring injury that forced him out last Sunday.  Casey Hayward is definitely out again because of his hamstring injury.

The post practice talk was about a secondary that is eager to make amends, an all or nothing offense and a running back ready to forge ahead.   Defensive backs, particularly safeties M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian had an uncomfortable film review and correction day Monday.  But Jarrett Bush told me this week, the corners have to take some heat too for missing tackles and not playing up to par.   The offense looked great on their four, quick scoring drives against the 49ers but they also had five, painful, three and out series with a couple of turnovers.  One of those belonged to Eddie Lacy.  Mike McCarthy felt Lacy might have been nervous, like a lot of rookies who saw action on opening day and he has to be more diligent about the details, the little things like offensive checks and his game will improve.  

Visited with Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffen III today via a  conference call from D.C.   Griffen is well spoken and he was blunt about his team's peformance on opening night against the Eagles, falling behind 33-7 in the first half before rallying in the second. Griffen swears he's 100 percent, doesn't have rust despite very few pre-season snaps and no, there aren't any limitations on his running.  Shanahan expects rapid improvement from RGIII who didn't take part in the OTA's during the spring while rehabbing from knee surgery.  The games will get him up to speed quickly.