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News & Notes: Novak Ready In a Pinch

It's increasingly likely that the Redskins may have to rely on rookie kicker Nick Novak in Monday night's NFC East battle against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium.

John Hall has not been able to practice this week due to a quad injury. On Friday, head coach Joe Gibbs was skeptical that Hall would be able to play against the Cowboys.

Hall was downgraded to doubtful on the team's injury report.

"John hasn't done anything yet this week," Gibbs said. "I just can't see [him playing]. I wouldn't totally rule it out, but he hasn't kicked yet for us this week."

During preseason stints with the Chicago Bears and Cowboys earlier in the summer, Novak showed that he could be a reliable kicker, Gibbs said.

Novak connected on 3-of-3 field goals for the Bears but was beaten out by veteran kicker Doug Brien. He then signed with the Cowboys for the preseason finale and was 1-of-2 on field goals, including a 49-yarder. Veteran kicker Jose Cortez, a former Redskin, won the job and Novak was released.

A week later, Novak, who played college ball at Maryland, signed with the Redskins when Hall was injured.

Novak, who was unemployed a week ago, said he was feeling more comfortable as the week progressed.

"It's good to get out and practice with the snapper and holder and get comfortable with everything," said the ACC's career scoring leader. "I've been in a lot of big games in college and I've risen to the occasion, so I don't think I'll be nervous. I want to capitalize on this opportunity."

Said Gibbs: "We don't really see him as a rookie because he has been in two other camps. He has been through a lot of ups and downs, which sometimes isn't bad. He is kind of relaxed, from what I see. I was pleased today. He kicked quite a bit today and I was very pleased."

The Redskins' special teams units have undergone a dramatic makeover in a matter of weeks. First-year punter Andy Groom has replaced veteran Tom Tupa, who is on injured reserve. Kick return specialist Antonio Brown was released. And now Novak is set for his NFL debut.

"It just goes to show you in the NFL, you never know," Gibbs said. "It was just some unfortunate things there."

Groom Not Satisfied

Playing in his first NFL regular-season game, Groom logged a 37.7-yard average, with a long of 39. It was not the type of performance he was hoping for in his NFL debut.

"I didn't hit the ball like I wanted to," Groom said. "I didn't hit it like I did in practice and the preseason."

First-game jitters? Possibly.

"I got the first game out of the way and this week is going to be a lot better," he said.

Record to Fall?

A NFL record held jointly by two Redskins is in danger this Sunday.

With a rushing touchdown this Sunday against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field, San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson would have a rushing touchdown in 14 consecutive games.

That would surpass Hall of Famer John Riggins and George Rogers, both of whom have 13, for the longest such streak in NFL history. Riggins had his streak from 1982-83 and Rogers had his streak from 1985-86.

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