Carlos Rogers proved Friday night that he can be a quick study. But he also proved that he has a lot to learn.
An injury to cornerback Walt Harris forced Rogers into the starting lineup on Friday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was Rogers' first NFL preseason action.
Due to an ankle injury, the Redskins' top draft pick had watched from the sidelines most of training camp, until Aug. 15 when he returned to practice for the first time since mid-June.
Midway through the first quarter, Rogers floated back in a zone and stepped in front of a Carson Palmer pass for his first NFL interception. Rogers returned the interception 25 yards to put the Redskins' offense in excellent field position.
"We were in a Cover 2 zone," Rogers said at halftime. "I saw the receiver coming from the other side. I recognized the play from practice. The quarterback didn't see me and I picked it."
On the next play, Patrick Ramsey and the Redskins' offense capitalized, as Ramsey connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver James Thrash.
Said defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin: "It was a big momentum switch. What more could you ask for?"
Later in the first half, Rogers was beaten on deep passes on consecutive plays.
First, Bengals' wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh got a step on Rogers and nearly caught a 45-yard touchdown pass. But the ball slipped out of his hand for an incompletion.
The reprieve was short-lived. On the next play, Bengals' Kelley Washington pulled ahead of Rogers on the left sideline and caught a pass on his fingertips from quarterback Carson Palmer. Washington raced into the end zone for the touchdown. The score tied the game at 7-7.
Rogers played the entire first half, but gave way to cornerbacks Rufus Brown and Ade Jimoh in the second half. The Bengals won the game 24-17.