The challenges keep on coming for Reed Doughty. The second-year defensive back is expected to make his fifth consecutive start at free safety on Sunday.
Like his first start against the Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Terrell Owens earlier this season, Doughty faces another tough test in the New York Giants' Plaxico Burress on Sunday at the Meadowlands.
The Giants' passing game is ranked 19th in the NFL, but they have three receivers with more than 50 catches. Burress leads the Giants with 62 catches for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Doughty, who has taken over for the late Sean Taylor and plays opposite LaRon Landry, feels he is getting more comfortable as a starter.
"Knowing how Sean prepared for each game, watching the others guys get ready for every game--that's helped a lot," Doughty said.
Asked how his preparation has changed as a starter, Doughty replied: "I always did a lot of film study before [as a backup], but now I know I'm going to be in. I study their tight ends and receivers closer and I know my matchups better.
Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams says he has not had to scale back his scheme to accommodate Doughty's learning curve.
"Our philosophy has always been to have a system in place that is flexible enough no matter who you have to coach," Williams said.
Gregg Williams says Doughty has made steady progress.
"I have been real pleased to see the progress he has made," Williams said. As you try to get the practice tempo to be as close to game tempo as you can, you really can't make those game decisions until you get put into that environment.
"Every week, Reed has been able to improve on his game decisions."
-- TAKING PRESSURE OFF D-BACKS
With the Redskins starting a pair of young safeties in LaRon Landry and Reed Doughty, defensive end Andre Carter knows that the front four need to increase pass pressure during the stretch run.
Carter leads the Redskins with 8.5 sacks this season. The rest of the defensive linemen have 9.5 sacks.
"We just have to continue to get there faster, whether the quarterback goes on a three-step [drop], two-step [drop] or a quick route," Carter said. "Teams have been doing that a lot these past few games, but we have to find a way to get there and generate some pressure, or at least get some batted balls down.
"As a defensive line, we have to help those guys in the backfield."
The Giants' passing game is ranked 19th in the NFL, but they have three receivers with more than 50 catches.
After Plaxico Burress's team-best 62 catches, Jeremy Shockey is next with 55 catches for 601 yards and three touchdowns, while Amani Toomer has 50 catches for 620 yards and three TDs.
-- MORE ON BURRESS
London Fletcher isn't buying that Plaxico Burress is seriously injured. Not after Burress burned the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday for seven catches for 136 yards and one touchdown despite an ankle injury.
Burress sat out practice this week for the Giants and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Said Gregg Williams: "To have the ability to not practice during the week but come out and play during game day and have that timing with the quarterback--it's remarkable. Maybe he all of a sudden takes a superman pill on game day.
"A lot of players want to play on game day--sometimes just through the adrenaline and the excitement of playing on game day, you get healthy. He has been doing it every week this year.
"He has been impressive. I guess statistically this is thebest year of his career right now, so you can't knock the production."
-- THRASH LISTED AS PROBABLE
Wide receiver James Thrash completed a week of practice and he is on target to play in this Sunday's game against the Giants. He is officially listed as probable on the team's injury report.
Thrash has missed the last four games with a high ankle sprain.
With Thrash healthy, the Redskins have seven wide receivers available for Sunday's game, so the team will have to make some decisions on who to deactivate.
Defensive end Phillip Daniels returned to practice on Friday despite a nagging knee injury. He is also listed as probable for the Giants game.
Reserve cornerback John Eubanks did not practice all week and has been designated as out. David Macklin is expected to see action in nickel and dime packages in Eubanks' place.
-- CLARK PROVIDES PEP
Redskins great Gary Clark spoke to the entire team for 15 minutes after practice.
"I really appreciate the way he supports the team," Joe Gibbs said. "He's from that other era where we had so many great players and great characters. Gary was certainly one of those--a big producer. His kind of attitude is what the Redskins are all about.
"Gary just wanted all these guys to know how much everyone cares about them, in particular that group that went on before. He's a great emissary and he was a great Redskin himself. He's talking from experience."
Clark, a Redskins wide receiver from 1985-92, was inducted into the Ring of Fame at FedExField earlier this season.
-- GIBBS: COACH OF THE WEEK HONOR
Joe Gibbs has been voted the Motorola NFL Coach of the Week for games played Dec. 6-10, the NFL has announced.
After a short week marked by a Sunday afternoon game and the funeral of former teammate Sean Taylor on Monday, Gibbs inspired his team to a 24-16 victory over the Chicago Bears on Dec. 6 to keep the Redskins in the playoff hunt at 6-7.
Gibbs was selected as Motorola NFL Coach of the Week from among three finalists by voters on NFL.com.
The other finalists were head coaches Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts.
In January, voting will be held on NFL.com to determine the Motorola NFL Coach of the Year.