Mitchell's good break followed by a bad one


TEMPE, Ariz. -- Running back Brian Mitchell got a second chance yesterday, but it lasted only two plays.

Benched after the third game of the season because of Reggie Brooks' 154-yard game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Mitchell was moved into the starting lineup by the Washington Redskins yesterday because Brooks had been ineffective the past two games.

Mitchell gained 1 yard and 8 yards the first two plays against the Phoenix Cardinals and then was knocked out of the 36-6 loss with a separated shoulder.

Although Ricky Ervins gained 98 yards in his place and Brooks came in to add 33, Mitchell felt he could have helped the Redskins on the special teams.

"I felt real good today, and then something like that had to happen on the second play. I thought we could have a good day against them. I felt kind of sorry because a lot of things on special teams we have that I was a part of we couldn't run because I wasn't in there. That could have made a difference," he said.

Mitchell thinks the team can rebound.

"Right now, I'm probably as low as I've been, probably as low as I've ever been to tell you the truth. It's a sobering experience for all of us. I've never been 1-5 in my life. But you can't start doubting yourself. You've just got to keep working," he said.

Although coach Richie Petitbon didn't announce last week that he was benching Brooks for Mitchell, he played down the significance of the move.

"Who starts is not that important. It's what plays you want to go with. We have a little different packages for different guys," he said.

Hurting Redskins hurting more

The Redskins' injury list got longer yesterday.

In addition to Mitchell's injury, offensive tackle Moe Elewonibi sprained a shoulder, but Elewonibi finished the game because they were so short-handed on the line.

Two defensive linemen, Shane Collins (foot) and Eric Williams (hip), aggravated old injuries; cornerback A.J. Johnson sprained a wrist; tight end Terry Orr sprained his right knee; and Alvoid Mays suffered a hand injury.

Three defensive lineman, Charles Mann, Jason Buck and Tim Johnson, didn't dress.

When Collins and Williams went out in the final quarter, they played a 3-4 alignment as the Cardinals turned it into a rout. They even had a linebacker, Rick Graf, at an end spot.

"We ran out of linemen and had to go to the 3-4," Petitbon said. "That's definitely not our strong suit."

GM tried for Bears' Dent

With the trading deadline set tomorrow, general manager Charley Casserly said he doesn't expect to make any moves, but he'll be on the phone to see if anybody is available.

Last week, Casserly asked the Chicago Bears about defensive lineman Richard Dent, but was told the Bears aren't interested in trading him.

A splashy ride for Bugel

Joe Bugel, a former Redskins assistant who appeared to be on the verge of losing his job after the Cardinals lost to the New England Patriots last week, got a victory shower on the field from the players and was then carried off.

"I am pleased the way the team reacted to the pressure. It's been a tough week. A lot of things were said about us. People have the right to say anything they want to. I'm just coaching the team. I don't have a magic wand. The team rose to the occasion," he said.

Rookie Carter a target

Rookie cornerback Tom Carter intercepted a pass in the end zone, but was victimized by the Cardinals.

"It's a tough situation for a young kid to be put in," Petitbon said. "It's not good for him and, really, right now, it's not good for us."

Carter said, "I think I'm learning each week and getting more comfortable."

'We've got to be strong'

How will the Redskins handle this situation?

Cornerback Johnson said, "Just like Coach said earlier, we've got to deal with this just like we dealt with the Super Bowl year (1991) when winning was so easy. We've got to deal with this and be strong."

The Redskins were 17-2 in 1991 and are 10-12 since then.

After the 1987 Super Bowl, they were 7-9 in 1988 and started off 5-6 in 1989 (12-15) before winning their last five.

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