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News & Notes: Brunell In 'Good Shape'

Quarterback Mark Brunell emerged from Sunday's 31-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles without re-aggravating his knee ligament injury, head coach Joe Gibbs said on Monday.

The 13-year veteran signal-caller is expected to start next Sunday in the Redskins' Wild Card playoff game against Tampa Bay.

"Our quarterback came out of Sunday's game amazingly well," Gibbs said on Monday. "We gave him the award for being the tough guy--certainly he was. He had to scramble and make a big play in there [late in the fourth quarter]. I think he came out of the game in good shape."

Brunell was 9-of-25 for 141 yards with one touchdown and one interception, sub-par numbers by his standards this season. Gibbs said that the Eagles' defensive coordinator Jim Johnson crossed him up with new defensive alignments early in the game and that Brunell did not have a lot of open receivers.

However, Brunell showed that the knee injury was not hindering him when he connected with Santana Moss on a 54-yard bomb early in the third quarter.

After Sunday's game, Brunell drew praise from his teammates for playing through the injury.

"He is a warrior," Moss said. "I watched him all those years when I was young and he was playing for Jacksonville. He makes plays with his legs and his arm. He is one of those guys that when there is nothing there, you see him either running or throwing.

"When he is out there and he is not 100 percent [healthy], I know he is going to give it his all. I am glad to have a guy like that."

Gibbs said he hoped that Brunell would be able to take a full workload in practice this week. Last week, Brunell sat out Wednesday's practice and was somewhat limited on Thursday and Friday, according to Gibbs.

"I thought Mark looked real good on Friday," Gibbs said. "But hopefully he'll be able to take more work this week. We'll need to start this game off absolutely sharp, playing against Tampa. They have one of the best defenses in the league."

Added Brunell, discussing the Bucs: "We're facing a very good football team, playing their best football right now as well."

-- SHORT WEEK AHEAD

The Redskins will have a six-day work week as they prepare for their Wild Card matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The good news? The Bucs are on a short work week, too.

Washington defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 31-20 to secure a playoff bid, Tampa Bay defeated the New Orleans Saints 27-13 to wrap up the NFC South title.

Players have off on Tuesday, as is customary after a win. The team will hold full-scale practices on Wednesday and Thursday, then fly to Tampa on Friday afternoon.

Since his return to coaching in 2004, head coach Joe Gibbs has a record of 2-1 in short weeks.

After a Week 3, Monday Night loss to Dallas in September 2004, the Redskins lost the following Sunday to the Cleveland Browns. Later in the season, the Redskins followed up a hard-hitting Sunday evening game against Philadelphia with a 26-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers in a Saturday contest.

On Dec. 24, the Redskins defeated the New York Giants 35-20 at FedExField despite just six days of preparation. The Giants, meantime, had a full week of preparation.

"I don't particularly like the short work week, but at least the Bucs will have a short work week, too," Gibbs said. "That wasn't the case when we played the Giants."

-- 2006 SCHEDULE

In case you're wondering, the Redskins' 2006 opponents is now set. The full schedule will be released by the NFL in mid-April.

Washington will play home games against the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

The Redskins will travel to play games against the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

Four of the teams--the Rams, Saints, Texans and Vikings--will have new head coaches next season.

-- SPEAKING OF HEAD COACHES...

It's expected that several NFL teams with head coaching vacancies will contact the Redskins about interviewing some of their assistant coaches.

Asked about the possibility of losing some members of his coaching staff when the offseason arrives, Gibbs replied: "We'll deal with that when it happens. I have a good understanding with all of our coaches. If somebody is looking for a head coach, we have some good candidates. We don't want them to leave.

"We hope they'll stay here and continue to work with us. We also understand that sometimes things come up like that and they want to consider them. We'll just work through it as we go and see what happens. We're going to try to keep everything intact, I know that."

Last week, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams dismissed reports that NFL teams were interested in interviewing him.

"There's really nothing to that," he told reporters last Thursday at Redskins Park. "To my knowledge, I have to work my tail off to keep the job I've got."

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