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PAUL WOODY: Bad news for Skins, Noble Injured knee ends his year


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Bad news for Skins, Noble

Injured knee ends his year

BY PAUL WOODY

TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Aug 18, 2003

As bad as the news is for the Washington Redskins, it is even worse for Brandon Noble.

Noble, a starting defensive tackle, suffered a catastrophic knee injury in Saturday night's 20-13 preseason loss to the New England Patriots. Noble dislocated his left kneecap and tore three ligaments in the knee - the medial collateral, posterior collateral and anterior cruciate.

That leaves the Redskins with a gaping hole in the middle of their defensive line. Noble was a free-agent signee this past off-season. He was expected to play as a nose tackle, occupying blockers on running plays so the linebackers could come up to make the plays.

Instead, Noble faces a year's rehabilitation, plus the prospect that his career could be over.

The Redskins will continue their discussion with the Denver Broncos concerning the possibility of a trade for defensive tackle Lionel Dalton. They also will take a look at Del Cowsette, James Cannida, Bernard Jackson and Greg Scott as possible replacements for Noble.

Jackson, though, sprained his ankle against New England and could be sidelined for several weeks. The Redskins just signed Cannida last week.

Noble, 29, will be placed on the injured reserve list. Noble's injury was the worst news for the Redskins on a night filled with bad news.

The Redskins offense was far from a smooth operation, their starting defensive unit gave up several big plays to the Patriots starters and the Redskins had a plethora of mental errors.

"That means we're not very smart," Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said. "Either it's lousy coaching or not very smart players. It's probably a combination of the two. We have to accept responsibility for that.

"And we have to see if we can get a center who will not snap it over our head in the shotgun."

Backup center Wilbert Brown sent what was supposed to be a short snap over the head of quarterback Patrick Ramsey on a third-down play during the Redskins opening possession of the game. Ramsey recovered the ball at the Redskins 4 yard line, a loss of 16 yards.

Brown is filling in for Larry Moore, the starting center who is out with a sprained knee. Moore is not the world's greatest shotgun snapper either. Moore's snaps tend to have a bit too much hang time before reaching Ramsey's hands.

Ramsey suffered an injured index finger on his passing hand when he hit a helmet on the follow through after a pass. He left with his hand bandaged, but said he expected to be fine.

Ramsey was upbeat, exactly the opposite of Spurrier.

"We're real close," Ramsey said of the offense. "I think there are some small things here or there, mental errors, assignment mistakes on our part.

"But we're in the game. This was much more encouraging than last week."

Not encouraging was the Redskins proclivity for drawing penalties. They were penalized 13 times for 89 yards. And while preseason games are often penalty-filled affairs, the Redskins starters drew nine of those penalties in the first half.

"We have offensive guys jumping offsides and holding," Spurrier said. "We're not a well-oiled machine by any means. We're trying to figure out who the culprits are and figure out some punishment."

Two of those nine penalties were against the punting unit late in the second quarter. A false start followed by a personal foul meant that Bryan Barker got two kicks away, and neither counted in the statistics. After the second penalty, Brent Bartholomew was sent in to relieve Barker.

That will be Bartholomew's swan song as a Redskin. Special teams coach Mike Stock had said before Saturday night's game that either Barker or Bartholomew would be released after this one-game punt-off. Barker, with his 44-yard average, 39-yard net and excellent hang times, will be retained. Bartholomew will be released.

Barker now faces a two-game punt-off with David Leaverton, who was signed last week to compete for the punting and holding jobs.

Contact Paul Woody at (804) 649-6444 or

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"We're working on it" Steve Spurrirer. And they are being very quick about it too. They are still pursuing Dalton in Denver, but need him to come down from the $1.2 mil he's getting. I believe as long as he's out of Denver, getting close to what he wanted and a little incentive, he'll be happy. The reason the Skins conditioned the, "if he makes" the roster part is to cover any last minute unknowns, which Denver may be overlooking.

Grady Jackson's off limits, but if you can get his backup, the Skins would at least have something of a decent rotation.

Ramsey was upbeat, exactly the opposite of Spurrier.

SS's not smiling a lot, so here comes the ax.

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