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News & Notes: Singular Focus For Redskins

When last the Redskins and Eagles played, it was Ryan Clark who cemented a 17-10 win with an interception of quarterback Donovan McNabb in the game's final minute at FedExField.

Now, Washington needs another win against the Eagles on Sunday to secure a playoff berth. It would be the Redskins' first season sweep of the Eagles since 1988.

Ever since Week 13, when the Redskins were 5-6 and seemingly falling from the playoff race, players have focused on one game at a time. This Sunday is no different. But the team's goal--"Five In a Row, Or We Don't Go"--is at hand with one more win.

"We just want to accomplish something," Clark said. "Right now, we have an opportunity to do something great and set a standard around here for winning.

"But we haven't done anything until we've made it to the playoffs. We've worked hard around here all offseason and all season long, so it would be a blessing to get the opportunity to play."

Shortly after the Redskins defeated the New York Giants 35-20 last Saturday, head coach Joe Gibbs began to emphasize the importance of this weekend's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

It has been Gibbs's focus all week. He has emphasized that NFC East games are always hard-hitting affairs and that the Redskins cannot take the struggling Eagles lightly, especially at Lincoln Financial Field. Washington has not won in Philadelphia since 2001.

Said Marcus Washington: "It's been very important for Coach Gibbs to re-emphasize this game. The Eagles have lost a lot of their starters, but the guys they have in there are fighters. They aren't going to lay down for us. They're going to be ready and we'll have to be ready.

Redskins coaches and players like the feeling of controlling their own destiny. With a win on Sunday, the Redskins won't have to rely on any other team losing on Sunday to make the playoffs. They only have to rely on themselves.

"We finally get an opportunity where it's in our hands," guard Ray Brown said. "We don't have to count on anyone else."

Added Washington: "We're getting in extra film study. We're making sure we don't leave anything for granted. This kind of opportunity doesn't come around often. We have a chance to be special, all of us together."


Quarterback Mark Brunell practiced again on Friday, taking most of the work. He is listed as probable for the Eagles game and is expected to play.

Brunell has worked through a knee injury this week. He suffered the injury in last Saturday's win over the New York Giants.

"Mark took most of the script and looked good," Joe Gibbs said. "I'm sure that's the way we'll start."

Added Gibbs: "We were concerned about Mark after the [Giants] game. He's gotten treatment on his knee and taken more and more work. He took a little bit yesterday and took more of the script today. I feel good about it and I think he looks good."

Brunell said on Friday that it would be tough to be deactivated for Sunday's regular season finale.

Brunell's comeback this year from a difficult 2004 season was one of the NFL's top storylines. He completed 243-of-429 passes for 2,909 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His QB rating is 87.8, 10th-best in the NFL and third-best in the NFC.

"It's tough for anyone to be on the sidelines, but it would be especially tough now," he said. "We have all have worked so hard this year to get where we're at and to get into position for the postseason. I want to be a part of that."


Cornerback Carlos Rogers remains listed as questionable for the Eagles game. He did not practice on Friday.

Said Joe Gibbs of Rogers: "He's taking more work. That one is still up in the air, I think."

If Rogers is unable to play, Walt Harris and Shawn Springs would likely start at cornerback, with Ade Jimoh serving in nickel packages. Second-year player Christian Morton and rookie Dimitri Patterson are also cornerbacks who could see action on Sunday.

Meantime, defensive end Renaldo Wynn sat out practice on Friday as he continues to recover from a foot injury. He is listed as probable for Sunday


For three consecutive weeks, the Redskins won an NFC Player of the Week award. Three weeks ago, Antonio Brown won on special teams. Two weeks ago, it was Phillip Daniels who was recognized for his four-sack performance against Dallas. Last week, Santana Moss won for his three touchdowns versus the Giants.

Winning the awards in all three facets of the game is reflective of a team coming together.

"It's all about character, hard work and staying persistent," defensive tackle Joe Salave'a said. "Sometimes, things aren't going to fall your way. But so long as a team comes together, plays together and plays hard for each other, we know we'll get our chance."

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