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Godfrey Steps Up In Place of Washington


In the Redskins' post-game locker room, Randall Godfrey makes a point to seek out a stat sheet. He goes right to the column that mentions what the opposing running back produced.

That's typically how he measures himself, and the Redskins' defense as a whole.

Football is a game that's decided in the trenches, and Godfrey believes stopping the run is paramount.

In the Redskins' 21-19 win over Arizona on Oct. 21, the defense allowed running back Edgerrin James to rush for 83 yards on 27 carries.

Two weeks later, the defense limited New York Jets running back Thomas Jones to just 49 yards on 13 carries in a 23-20 overtime win.

Last Sunday, against the Philadelphia Eagles, the defense let running back Brian Westbrook rush for 100 yards on 20 carries.

It was Westbrook's 57-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass in the fourth quarter that proved to be the pivotal play of the game.

Godfrey was part of a blitz package that pressured quarterback Donovan McNabb on the play. The frustrating part? Godfrey was less than a yard away from a sack, but McNabb was able to avoid him and lob the pass to Westbrook.

Godfrey could only watch as Westbrook raced downfield for a game-winning touchdown.

Godfrey, a 12-year veteran signed by the Redskins last August, has taken over at outside linebacker as Marcus Washington continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

Including Sunday's game against the Eagles, Godfrey has started three games this season, recording 18 tackles and a forced fumble. He nearly had two interceptions in pass coverage.

The 6-2, 245-pound Godfrey is playing for his fifth NFL team. He started 13 games for the San Diego Chargers last year, recording 58 total tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles.

Godfrey began his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins' opponent this Sunday. He was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round (49th overall) out of the University of Georgia in 1996.

Godfrey played four seasons with the Cowboys, then moved on to the Titans and Seattle Seahawks.

Like good pitching in baseball, depth at linebacker is something a team strives for every year.

After contemplating retirement last offseason, Godfrey came to the Redskins accepting his role as a reserve linebacker. One of his strengths is versatility--he can play all three linebacker positions.

"I want to contribute any way I can," he said. "I'm here to help the team win games. This will be my 12th year in the NFL, so if I'm out there playing, I'll give it my all. If I'm not playing, I'll be giving advice."

Acquired on Aug. 21, Godfrey is a player who also brings familiarity with assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams. Godfrey played for Williams with Tennessee in 2000.

"I just have a deep inner smile that the reason that Randall is here is to be able for us to withstand a loss of a Marcus Washington," Williams said.

"Maybe we haven't been that deep before or have that kind of depth before, but it sure is pretty nice on my part to be able to say, 'Okay, one is down, and 1-A goes in.'

"When 1-A can go in and knock your head back and play as strong as he does in the run game, it has been pretty good for us to do that.

"We're better with depth when you play somebody with as much energy and the intangibles that Marcus can bring to the team on game day."

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