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The day after: Zorn “encouraged”

Coach Jim Zorn’s day-after media session wrapped up a little bit ago. Some highlights:

Zorn said he was "encouraged" by the team’s performance in the last significant playing time the starting offense and defense will get ahead of the Sept. 13 opener. "We still have work to do," Zorn said. "We’re a work in progress."

Zorn’s biggest gripe last night: The Redskins’ 15 penalties in their 27-24 loss to New England. QB Jason Campbell also missed a deep pass to open wideout Santana Moss, and New England all-world QB Tom Brady moved the ball with ease at times.

Zorn said he saw what he needed to see from Campbell: "I saw him being real sharp on a lot of the things that he did. We needed to see him hit that deep post to Santana. … He got stuck on a receiver or two that he needed to move on from, but I thought he was very aggressive and moved our offense very well."

Receivers Malcolm Kelly, Devin Thomas and Antwaan Randle El rotated frequently during the first half last night. "We still have some improvement. But they played aggressively and separated from some man coverage things that I was impressed with."

Zorn praised Marko Mitchell but stopped short of saying he has separated himself in the competition for the fifth wide receiver spot. Zorn noted Mitchell’s assisted tackle on special teams.

Zorn is "very undecided" on the placekicker competition between incumbent Shaun Suisham and challenger Dave Rayner. "I’m waiting for the last possible minute" to decide. The Redskins have had to create some competitive kicking situations in practice because there have only been three FG opportunities in the games.

The starting offensive line is "really coming along," Zorn said. Campbell hasn’t been sacked in 35 pass attempts this preseason. 

Zorn hasn’t decided how much the starters will play against Jacksonville, but it won’t be very much. The staff still needs to make some evaluations at the bottom end of the roster.

Injury updates:

RBs Clinton Portis and Marcus Mason both have bruised ribs. Zorn said Portis’s injury isn’t serious. He wasn’t sure whether Mason will miss time, but when I spoke to Mason last night, he was in a lot of pain.

WR Antwaan Randle El sprained his ankle and Campbell hurt his left shoulder/chest area after a hit. Both of those guys shouldn’t miss any time.

The hamstring injury S Kareem Moore suffered will keep him out of Thursday’s preseason finale at Jacksonville, Zorn said.

T Mike Williams (sprained left ankle), CB Carlos Rogers (left calf) and RB Rock Cartwright (groin) are expected to return to practice this week. Williams will play much of Thursday’s game, Zorn said. Rogers is still dealing with a small pocket of blood in his calf, Zorn said.

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