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WP:Redskins Notebook Spurrier Plans Job Sharing


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Redskins Notebook

Spurrier Plans Job Sharing

By Mark Maske

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 3, 2003; Page D07

Trung Canidate is scheduled to start at tailback for the Washington Redskins in Thursday night's season opener against the New York Jets at FedEx Field. Coach Steve Spurrier said yesterday he plans to get some carries for Canidate's backup, Ladell Betts, and occasional playing time for Chad Morton, the club's kick returner who is slated to serve as a pass-catching tailback.

"Chad will play a little bit, probably not a whole bunch," Spurrier said. "Trung and Ladell will get some carries. That's the plan."

Betts is not as quick as Canidate but is a more powerful runner, and the Redskins hope he will give defenses a different look.

"I don't know how many I'll get, but I believe I will get some touches in the game," Betts said after yesterday's practice at Redskins Park. "Hopefully I'll be able to do something with them when I get some. . . . I think we're very different. He's obviously faster than me. He brings a little bit something different to the table than I bring."

Spurrier has said he expects several tailbacks to share the running duties this season. He said yesterday he hopes to strike an effective balance in his play-calling between running and throwing the ball after being accused at times last season of abandoning the run too quickly.

"Certainly we shoot for balance, and certainly if we're fortunate enough to get ahead, then you always run the ball obviously more than you throw it," Spurrier said. "We hope to mix it up, we really do."

Moore Braces for Game

Center Larry Moore said he believes he is close to being healthy after going through this week's practices. Moore missed the final three games of the four-game exhibition season after suffering a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a practice. He plans to wear a brace on his knee during Thursday's game.

"I'll have another week or two with this brace on it, and then hopefully I'll get rid of that," Moore said. "It's gone pretty much the way I'd hoped it would. I was trying to get back for that last preseason game, but they didn't want to push it." . . .

Morton, safety Matt Bowen and wide receiver Rod Gardner took snaps from center yesterday and appear to be the top candidates to serve as the Redskins' emergency third quarterback. Gardner played quarterback in high school, and Bowen was recruited to Iowa as a quarterback before being moved to safety. . . . Bryan Johnson has been working with the starting offense at fullback but is slated to share playing time with Rock Cartwright. . . . Spurrier said he hopes that Monday's decision by the team and Champ Bailey's representative to suspend negotiations on a contract extension will ensure that there are no distractions for the Pro Bowl cornerback entering the season.

"The season is here now and, basically, we don't talk about it," Spurrier said. "That's down the road. I watched Warren Sapp. His contract is coming up, too. He just said, 'Hey, if I'm here, fine. If I'm not, hopefully somebody will want me.' Somebody will want Champ. We know that, and hopefully he's here. But we can't dwell on that this year. We're worried about the New York Jets. That's the only thing we can concern ourselves with this week. Contracts for all the players take care of themselves, usually when the season's over. . . . I hope Champ picks off about five balls and scores this year. . . . Hopefully during his contract year, he will have a big year." . . . .

Rookie wide receiver Taylor Jacobs was released from the hospital, five days after being kicked in the stomach during a preseason game and suffering what the team described as "abdominal trauma."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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ultimately, the team needs to settle on a starter. the players on the field need to know who is going to get the tough yard on third and one AND be able to take the 5 yard screen pass and take it 25 or 30 yards :)

some early competition is a good thing, but by midseason a definite starter should be allowed to emerge.

the Redskins will really start to pick up steam when Ramsey, Coles, Gardner and the starting back either Canidate or Betts has 7 or 8 games of playing together.

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and that kind of continuity between qb, rb and ol usually comes through repetitions. diluting the carries too much means that guys will be looking to make the big play instead of getting the patient yards to make an impression.

in fact some of the NFL's best backs swear they don't get a real feel for the flow of game until they have had 8-10 carries.

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