Dahl's Return Puts Badger on Bench
Elfin, David, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Brad Badger played as well as the Washington Redskins could have hoped in his NFL debut at Carolina last Sunday, but the rookie from Stanford won't get a second consecutive start at right guard this week at Pittsburgh because Bob Dahl is ready to go.
But unlike the switch at halfback, where Stephen Davis is expected to make his first start in place of injured Pro Bowl veteran Terry Allen, this change adds experience. Dahl, a six-year veteran who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in January and July, has more NFL starts (71) than Badger has snaps (68).
"Brad played awfully well, but Bob's more physical," Redskins coach Norv Turner said.
The Steelers were pounded 37-7 by Dallas last Sunday, but not because of
their run defense, which limited Emmitt Smith and Co. to 85 yards on 34 carries.
"Pittsburgh is a very good run defense," said Turner, whose power running game churned out 198 yards against Carolina. "We're going to have to gear it up to run."
Which is a big reason why Dahl, who at 6-foot-5 and 319 pounds is an inch taller and 21 pounds heavier than Badger, is starting again.
"It's been a while and I'm looking forward to it," said Dahl, whose five snaps in goal-line situations against the Panthers represented his first full-contact work since last Dec. 15 at Arizona. "I conditioned hard last week. I'll practice hard this week, and I'll be ready to go. It was good to get back in there the other night, but I don't think it would have made that much difference if I hadn't gotten into the game. I'm not lacking confidence in my knee."
Dahl also got in a little extra conditioning Sunday, thanks to his nerves.
"I probably put in a couple of miles [pacing] on the sideline," he said.
Dahl's return to the lineup will be the only change up front for Washington. Usual left tackle Joe Patton will remain at left guard until Tre Johnson returns from shoulder surgery, probably for the Sept. 28 game with Jacksonville, and Shar Pourdanesh will continue to fill Patton's spot. That means Badger will head to the bench. Turner said he wants to keep Badger over on the right side, even as a backup, until Dahl has made it through an entire game.
"There's a little bit of a letdown, but I think that's natural," Badger said. …