Archive of our daily coverage of the Washington Redskins' 2003-2007 Training Camps.
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Redskins seek turnaround in third exhibition
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Washington Redskins regulars should get plenty of playing time Saturday night against the New England Patriots. They may need all of it after a poor outing in their last game that angered coach Joe Gibbs.
The first-string defense allowed 145 yards rushing in the first half of a 27-14 loss to the New York Jets. And the first-string offense remained scoreless in the exhibition season.
"We need to step up and play smooth," Gibbs said.
The game is the next to last for both teams, the one in which starters get extended activity for the last time before the regular season.
The Patriots regulars have been more impressive. New England beat Arizona 30-3 with Tom Brady completing 15 of 20 passes for 149 yards last Saturday after losing the opener at Atlanta 26-23, although backups played most of that game.
"This one is the one that everyone looks toward and realizes that this is the one that you're probably going to play the most," Brady said of Saturday's game. "We've been game planning and studying these guys all week trying to get a great feel for what they do. It's a tricky defense."
Both teams will be missing key players.
For winless Washington, Clinton Portis is sidelined with a shoulder injury but is expected to be back for the start of the regular season. Ladell Betts figures to start Saturday night, but the Redskins picked up T.J. Duckett on Wednesday in a trade with Atlanta.
"The fact that Clinton got nicked there causes some concerns," Gibbs said. "It probably causes you to think. But there certainly wasn't a panic to do something. But when T.J.'s name came up, we felt it was something we needed to research."
Starting quarterback Mark Brunell is expected to play after aggravating a groin injury and missing practice Thursday. Jason Campbell and Todd Collins are competing for the No. 2 job.
"The intensity's good" during practices since the loss to the Jets, Brunell said. "There's no lack of effort. That's one of the things that was talked about in the last preseason game, was the effort level. ... We're working hard, but that needs to show up when we play the Patriots."
For New England, No. 1 wide receiver Deion Branch is holding out for a better contract. On Friday, the Patriots gave him permission for one week to seek a trade and negotiate a contract with another team.
The Patriots have been using more multiple tight end formations, "but we need Deion," starting tight end Daniel Graham said. "We miss him being out there a lot. His role is huge."
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi will miss the game with a broken wrist, but the Patriots signed Junior Seau on Aug. 18, four days after he retired from San Diego.
"Junior plays the game differently than Tedy and he's in this system for the first time," coach Bill Belichick said of the 12-time Pro Bowl selection, "but he's great. He's a high energy guy."
While the Patriots tinker with their linebacking corps, they've settled on rookie Stephen Gostkowski as the successor to kicker Adam Vinatieri, who signed as a free agent with Indianapolis after 10 years with New England.
"They probably have four guys on speed dial waiting for me to slip up so I have to stay on my toes," Gostkowski said after his only competition for the job, Martin Gramatica, was released this week.
Last season, the Redskins and Patriots both fell one win short of reaching their conference title games. New England had won three of the previous four Super Bowls and the Redskins, who added wide receivers Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd, have been considered a team on the rise.
"He knows we can play better, and he's upset," Brunell said of Gibbs. "And he has every right to be. We've had two games where offensively we didn't produce, and defensively we could've played better, so we need to turn this thing around."
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