Traded by Washington to Carolina days before training camp
opened, Gardner opened his tenure with the Panthers with a 21-yard
touchdown catch that helped them to a 28-10 preseason victory over
the Redskins on Saturday night.
He then declined to gloat, even when told Davis -- another former
Redskins player -- took delight in sticking it to Washington the
first time he faced his former team.
"He did, too!" Davis interrupted. "Don't lie! Tell the
Gardner still wouldn't bite.
"It was good. It was a good feeling," he said. "It was good
to make a play against my old team and let them see what they
Unhappy with his role in Washington's offense, Gardner asked the
Redskins to trade him in January. They completed a deal with
Carolina late last month, getting a sixth-round draft pick in
exchange for a four-year starter.
But Gardner has his work cut out for him in Carolina. Steve
Smith, who missed 15 games last season with a broken leg, has a
hold on one starting spot and second-year player Keary Colbert is
slotted in the other. But with Colbert in street clothes nursing a
hamstring injury, Gardner got the start against the Redskins.
Gardner opened the game with a 10-yard catch to start Carolina's
drive, then Smith added two catches for 18 yards. Gardner put the
Panthers on the board on their ninth play when he raced into the
end zone as Jake Delhomme was under pressure.
Gardner squared up against former teammate Ade Jimoh, fighting
for the same piece of field. Gardner won, pulling down the
touchdown catch, as Jimoh was flagged for pass interference.
Gardner, who played just the first quarter, caught both balls
thrown to him and finished with 31 yards receiving.
"I know I've got the potential to go out and make plays here,"
he said with a wide smile.
The win was Carolina's 10th consecutive preseason victory dating
The game marked the first time in almost a year that the
Panthers were near full strength. They were decimated by injuries
last season -- at one point they were down to their sixth-string
running back -- and it led to a 1-7 start.
Everyone but Davis is healthy, and it showed with a solid first
quarter from the starters.
"We're just knocking the rust off," said defensive end Mike
Washington, which is still trying to find a potent offensive
scheme under coach Joe Gibbs, was able to move the ball a little
against Carolina's first team right before the first quarter ended.
But the Redskins struggled on their first two drives. Patrick
Ramsey ended their first possession when he underthrew Santana Moss
and was intercepted by Chris Gamble, and they couldn't move the
ball at all on their second attempt.
"I'd so for us, obviously we have a long way to go," Gibbs
said. "We're going to have to go home. We've got a lot of work to
Ramsey was decent his third time out, completing three straight
passes -- two to Ladell Betts and a 16-yarder to Chris Cooley --
before the drive stalled. Ramsey finished 8-of-12 for 77 yards but
failed to lead the Redskins to any points.
"I think you lose, you're disappointed. You don't score, you're
disappointed," Ramsey said. "We moved the ball. Obviously we've
got to stick it in the end zone."
Both teams' backup quarterbacks led scoring drives.
Carolina's Chris Weinke threw a 1-yard TD pass to Michael Gaines
and finished 6-for-9 for 79 yards. Stefan LeFors, Carolina's
fourth-round draft pick, added a 1-yard TD pass to Drew Carter in
the fourth quarter and a 24-yarder to Aaron Boone.
Mark Brunell set up John Hall's 43-yard field goal before
halftime that cut Carolina's lead to 14-3. The quarterback marched
the Redskins down the field again early in the third quarter, but
Jeff Chandler missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.
Brunell also led Washington's only touchdown drive, a 14-play
march capped by Nehemiah Broughton's 1-yard TD plunge that cut the
score to 14-10. Brunell finished 11-of-19 for 121 yards.
Jason Campbell, the Redskins' first-round draft choice, played
the fourth quarter and went 10-of-18 for 132 yards.
"I like what we've got at quarterback," Gibbs said. "I like
our depth there. You know, we'll see."