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CST: Redskins hope CB Springs can bounce back


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Redskins hope CB Springs can bounce back


ASHBURN, Va. -- Because starting right tackle Jon Jansen's season ended with a torn Achilles tendon on the Washington Redskins' second possession Monday night against the Denver Broncos, the first big play Shawn Springs made for his new team was almost overlooked.

But Gregg Williams, the assistant head coach for defense, sure didn't forget about Springs stepping in front of a Jake Plummer pass to end Denver's opening drive.

''It set the tone for our 2004 defense,'' Williams said of the interception that led to Washington's first-quarter field goal. ''We need our corners to have a reputation as shutdown corners, and that was good for him to answer some of the questions about him.''

The questions aren't easy ones to answer because topping the list is whether he can play like the No. 3 overall draft pick he was in 1997 -- or if injuries again will prevent him from playing in every game.

Add to that the fact he has to replace Pro Bowler Champ Bailey, and one would think it would be almost too much for Springs to handle.

The one thing that oozes from Springs, however, is self-confidence.

He says he expects to make plays like his interception Monday night, not because he was trying to make Redskins fans forget about the trade that sent Bailey to Denver, but simply because those are the plays he always has tried to make.

''That was doing my job. That's part of being a defensive back and part of what I bring to the table,'' Springs said.

''That has nothing to do with Champ, that has to do with my self-pride and me being who I am. That has nothing do with him, that's just who I am.''

Springs lives in nearby Silver Spring, Md., where he played running back, defensive back and ran track for Springbrook High School. He was a two-time All-Big 10 selection at Ohio State before playing his first seven NFL seasons for the Seattle Seahawks.

Now that he's back in town with the Redskins, those playing around Springs can sense how excited he is to be with his hometown team -- even if Bailey isn't.

''People always ask me what it's like to lose Champ, but we gained Shawn Springs,'' said fellow starting cornerback Fred Smoot.

''He's playing at home for the first time, playing at home can rejuvenate anybody.''


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