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News & Notes: Passing the Test

One day after Sunday's 20-17 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks, head coach Joe Gibbs cast a critical eye toward his team--but there was no denying that he was proud of the Redskins' performance in the first three games.

Coming off the bye week, Gibbs admitted he was concerned that players might be lax with their assignments.

That wasn't the case. His players passed the test.

The Redskins committed just two penalties for 10 yards and turned the ball over once on a pass tipped by Clinton Portis. That showed marked improvement from the Week 2 game against Dallas, in which the Redskins had 12 penalties and two turnovers.

"The normal tendency when you have a week off like we did is to be very sloppy, so we put a real emphasis on it last week," Gibbs said. "Our players really responded. They have a great attitude and they know what smart football is."

Still, Gibbs pointed out that the team lost the turnover battle for the third game in a row. The Redskins' defense was not able to force a turnover in the game.

"I don't know how many teams have ever won three games and been on the minus side of the turnover ratio," Gibbs said. "It really concerns us and is something we have to address. We are not getting turnovers and we are turning the ball over. That's a double-edged sword that will back to get you."

The Redskins rushed for 141 yards, but Gibbs was not satisfied with the 3.6 yards-per-carry average. That forced the Redskins into several 3rd-and-long situations against the Seahawks.

The Redskins were a remarkable 13-of-18 on 3rd-down conversions, a 72 percent clip.

"I didn't realize we were doing well [in that statistic] until someone told me the stats on the sidelines," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "We got off to a shaky start. They were giving us some different looks. They got some pressure on us and we had to switch some game-plan [strategy]."

In overtime, the offense was presented with three 3rd-and-long situations. Each time, they converted.

On 3rd-and-10 at the Redskins' 23-yard line, Brunell found Moss for a 13-yard pickup. On 3rd-and-9 at the 37, Brunell scrambled up the middle for 18 yards. On 3rd-and-10 at Seattle's 45, Brunell connected with Moss for a 30-yard pickup, putting the offense in position for the game-winning field goal.

"You are certainly cognizant of the situation at 3rd-and-long," Brunell said. "The odds of converting those are often slim. You want to stay out of the situation as much as you can. Most of the time, you are going to get stopped, so we were fortunate that a bunch of guys stepped up and made big plays in critical situations."

The Redskins emerged from Sunday's win without any serious injuries. Sean Taylor sat out parts of the second half with a sore shoulder. Meantime, the focus this week will be on getting other injured players back: cornerback Walt Harris (calf injury), safety Pierson Prioleau (hamstring) and kicker John Hall (quad) all were deactivated for the Seahawks game.

-- MORE ON 3-0

The Redskins have started at least 3-0 eight times in franchise history. Seven of those eight times, the Redskins have made the postseason.

The last time, of course, was 1991. That season, the Redskins started 11-0 on their way to the Super Bowl XXVI championship.

The Redskins also won their first three games in 1986, 1982, 1978, 1976, 1971, 1943 and 1940. The only time the Redskins didn't make the postseason after a 3-0 start was in 1978, when the Jack Pardee-led team posted a 6-0 start before finishing 8-8.

-- GIBBS ON ARRINGTON

Gibbs addressed questions from the media about LaVar Arrington's playing time. The Pro Bowl linebacker saw limited action in Sunday's game against the Seahawks.

"LaVar went through an injury last year and now it's a matter of getting back," Gibbs said.

Added Gibbs: "I have mentioned the packages. He is not a starter. He hasn't started, so you revise the packages around him. We pit a lot of defensive backs in there from time to time. It kind of revolved around how much those packages are called. Sometimes it changes during the game.

"I know he is disappointed not making more of an impact and not playing more. "I think it's something we have to work our way through."

-- ROSTER MOVE

The Redskins re-signed linebacker Zak Keasey back to the roster, two days after releasing him to make room for practice squad defensive back Dimitri Patterson.

Patterson, who was active for the game against Seattle but did not play, was released. It is expected that he'll be back on the practice squad later this week.

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