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Washington Breaks Out

Posted Sep 14, 2011

Notebook: Linebacker nursing calf strain; Holliday faces former team

Linebacker Daryl Washington comes down with one of his two interceptions Sunday, although this one was negated because of a penalty.

When the Cardinals drafted linebacker Daryl Washington a year ago, they considered taking him in the first round before settling on nose tackle Dan Williams.

They made sure to get him in the second round, however, thinking he had star potential. There were flashes of that as a rookie, but in Sunday’s season opener, it was on display constantly. Washington finished with six tackles, a sack (credited with a half-a-takedown twice), a quarterback pressure, a pass deflection and an interception. He also had a second interception negated because of a penalty.

“It’s the first game,” Washington said. “I was looking forward to having a big game. Obviously us winning, playing at home, you’ve got to be happy with that. But I wanted to make a statement.”

Unfortunately, Washington’s personal statement ended a twist. Chasing down Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith on a screen pass in the fourth quarter, Washington hurt his calf. He did not practice Wednesday, and his status for Sunday’s game in Washington is in doubt.

“I’ll be back shortly” was all Washington would say. Coach Ken Whisenhunt only said that Washington is “improving.”

Once Washington went out – and if he couldn’t go this weekend – the Cards turned to veteran Reggie Walker to play alongside veteran Paris Lenon. Walker, once undrafted, has played well enough to have the Cards turn to him over newcomer Stewart Bradley in the wake of Washington’s injury.

“Being a backup, especially here these past three years, you always have to be prepared to play,” Walker said. “Honestly, I don’t trip about it. I don’t panic, I don’t worry about anything. It’s not my first rodeo.

“I know I can play and my coaches know I can play and my teammates know too. I’m not too worried about it.”

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Walker has come a long way from when he first arrived, but if he has to play some more, more is expected.

“What you ask of a young player is when they are forced into the lineup you expect them to be successful,” Whisenhunt said. “He did that last week. The question with Reggie is can he continue with that.”

INJURY UPDATE

Other than Washington, running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hand) was also forced to sit out. Whisenhunt said Stephens-Howling’s wrist was sore after he had to put his hand down to brace a fall during the game. If Stephens-Howling couldn’t play, Alfonso Smith would likely get a chance to play again. Veteran Chester Taylor was already expected to be active against the Redskins.

Linebacker Joey Porter (knee) and tight end Jim Dray (pectoral) also sat out. Punter Dave Zastudil (calf) and wide receiver DeMarco Sampson (hamstring) were limited.

For the Redskins, the only two players who didn’t practice full were safety Laron Landry (hamstring) and linebacker Brian Orakpo (ankle), both of whom were limited.

HOLLIDAY READY FOR EX-TEAM

While running back Tim Hightower is anxious to play against his old team, the other part of that trade – current Cardinals defensive end Vonnie Holliday – is equally excited.

“When we play the Green Bay Packers (Holliday’s first team), I get equally amped to play against those guys,” Holliday said. “It means something. There is something in you as a player that gets riled up, that gets the juices flowing. I knew the second game of the season, we were going back to FedEx Field. You circle it. You can’t help it.”

Holliday said it is “personal” being traded, even though he understands the business. The Redskins needed a running back, Holliday said, and the Cardinals needed defensive line depth.

“Still, a little over a month ago, I was in there (in Washington),” Holliday said. “I was one of the guys. The talk was, ‘We’re going to do this’ and now I’m on the other side. I am looking forward of going there with my new family, my new team, and getting after those guys.”


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