Jon Jansen's agony is a major pain for Redskins' offensive line Print
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Monday, 10 September 2007 13:11
NFL Headline News

 ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -A roomful of reporters groaned Monday afternoon when Jon Jansen gave a description of his gruesome ankle injury. Even as the veteran right tackle dealt with his physical pain, his Washington Redskins teammates were faced with different kind of discomfort: How are they going to deal with the loss of their longest-serving player?
Jansen's fibula was broken and his ankle dislocated when his right foot was squished by Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas early in the second quarter of Washington's 16-13 overtime victory Sunday. Speaking by phone from his home, Jansen had the calm of a tough, hardened football player - albeit one on painkillers - as he spoke about an injury that will require surgery this week and three to four months of rehabilitation.
``When I got rolled up on, I could feel things pop. I could feel things break,'' Jansen said. ``My foot was pointing the wrong way. ... It was quite painful. It was a little less painful after they reset it on the field there.''
So this is another ruined season for Jansen, the second in four years. He ruptured his left Achilles' tendon in the preseason opener in 2004, the first sour note in a 6-10 Redskins season. The once-durable player has since dealt with two broken thumbs and a torn calf muscle, although the 31-year-old right tackle said this year he was in his best shape since college.
``I'm hoping that I've run out of whatever could happen next,'' Jansen said. ``And that what's going to happen next is I'm going to have a healthy year and put about four or five more healthy years together and really have some great seasons left.''
Jansen has never been to a Pro Bowl and he's had good games and bad in his nine seasons, but he's a solid leader who knows his craft and will be hard to replace. To fill the void, the Redskins will turn to either a rookie who wasn't drafted or a veteran dealing with a shoulder injury.
``It's certainly a big loss for us,'' coach Joe Gibbs said. ``We're going to be talking over what's the best thing to do there.''
The rookie is Stephon Heyer, whose initial goal coming out of Maryland was to make an NFL practice squad. He filled in at left tackle during the preseason after Chris Samuels sprained a knee, but he had never taken a snap at right tackle in a game at any level until he stepped onto the field to relieve Jansen on Sunday.
Heyer, easy to spot with his distinctive dreadlocks, called the game ``a weird dream'' and said he was ``just out there in a daze.'' But, in the second half, the Redskins didn't allow a sack and produced 150 yards rushing with a line that included Heyer, recent signing Pete Kendall and a not-quite-in-football-shape Samuels.
``To be able to go out there and play a position I haven't had much time in is pretty impressive for myself,'' Heyer said. ``I had no idea what I was getting into as far as playing right tackle. It was a little different. I just played and kind of winged it a little bit.''
The more experienced candidate is Todd Wade, who wasn't on the active list Sunday. Wade subbed for Jansen one game last season, a victory over New Orleans, and said he expects to start Monday night's game at Philadelphia.
``Maybe I shouldn't assume,'' Wade said. ``But I'm pretty sure.''
Wade moved his finger from side-to-side when asked to describe his year: The Redskins re-signed him and asked him to move to guard, then moved him back to tackle after he tore the labrum in his shoulder in the first preseason game.
``I'm stuck with it the rest of the year,'' Wade said. ``But it's something that's manageable.''
Gibbs and his staff have two days to declare their intentions. Because their next game is Monday, the Redskins get an extra day off this week and won't practice again until Thursday. There will also be an extra roster spot available if, as expected, Jansen is placed on injured reserve.
Jansen's injury took some of the shine off of an important but unimpressive season-opening victory. Gibbs knows the same type of effort probably won't do against the Eagles.
``We need to step up and play better, obviously, if we're going to be the kind of team we want to be,'' Gibbs said. ``You're very conscious of who you're playing next week, and what kind of effort it's going to take.''
Notes: DE Phillip Daniels sprained his foot in the game and was wearing a walking boot Monday. RB Clinton Portis bruised his ribs in the first quarter; X-rays were negative. S Pierson Prioleau (hamstring) and S Vernon Fox (groin) were also injured.
 

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