Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Redskins notes, quotes and observations (Fri, 9/24)
Rookie LT Trent Williams (knee/toe) practiced today, albeit in a limited capacity. Coach Mike Shanahan hinted that Williams could play in a reduced role against St. Louis on Sunday. I wrote this yesterday, but I’m wondering if it would be best to just sit Williams and let him get back to 100 percent health with such pass rushers as Trent Cole (Philly) and Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis) on the upcoming schedule.
Williams, of course, wants to play. “I feel like I can be effective,” he said. Shanahan will keep the public guessing until inactives are publicized at about 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The Redskins have waived WR Brandon Banks in order to promote RB Ryan Torain from the practice squad, according to a source familiar with the situation. The team would not confirm the move, but it is expected to be announced on Saturday.
Torain will provide running back depth behind Clinton Portis and rookie Keiland Williams. Torain also can play on the kickoff coverage unit. His 94 rushing yards in preseason led the team, and he was elusive at times. He’s not a particularly good pass blocker, but he’s got a good feel for the offense if called upon.
Banks, meanwhile, must clear waivers for the Redskins to sign him to their practice squad. You can’t teach speed, and that asset could be enough for a team to add him to its active roster. Even if Banks wanted to stay with the Redskins on their practice squad, it’s my understanding that he’d have no choice if a team claimed him.
Let’s review the other injuries. WR Anthony Armstrong (groin) was limited in practice today. “You don’t want to do anything prematurely, but, hey, I feel good,” he said. “I feel like it’s been handled properly. Everything is gonna be OK.”
He added: “If y’all wanna race, I’ll race you.” OK, but only if I get a 25-yard head start in the 40-yard dash.
NT Anthony Bryant (concussion) did not practice. Shanahan’s (and most coaches, for that matter) general rule is that players who don’t practice on Friday don’t play on Sunday. With that in mind, and considering that DL Albert Haynesworth (ankle) fully participated in practice Friday, it seems logical that Haynesworth would be active against St. Louis. Shanahan wouldn’t confirm that, of course, but think about it. Could the Redskins really expect to stop RB Steven Jackson with neither Haynesworth nor Bryant in the middle? No chance.
S Chris Horton (ankle) was the only other player limited in practice. RB Clinton Portis (wrist), S LaRon Landry (wrist) and S Kareem Moore (knee) are listed on the injury report as questionable, but they fully participated in practice. Shanahan loves his mind games.
The Redskins will get a first-hand look on Sunday at Rams QB Sam Bradford, a player they strongly considered drafting back in April. If Bradford had fallen to the Redskins at No. 4, I’m convinced they would have drafted him regardless of who else was still available. The Redskins liked his mechanics and his intangibles, and they remain convinced that he will be a quality player.
Washington, you’ll recall, pursued Bradford even after acquiring QB Donovan McNabb earlier in April. Bradford, in a teleconference this week, said he visited only two teams during the pre-draft process—the Rams and the Redskins.
When in town, Bradford dined with Redskins brass, including owner Daniel Snyder. “I remember at first I was a little bit nervous when I found out that he was gonna be there, knowing that he was the owner,” Bradford said. “That was my first visit, and I really wasn’t sure what to expect.”
“I thought he might come in and just grill me about football and about everything,” Bradford continued. “But I actually remember that dinner being a lot of fun, just sitting there and getting to listen to him and Coach Shanahan talk just about different things and talk about stories. I definitely had a lot more fun at that dinner than I originally anticipated.”
The Redskins know they are fortunate to catch Bradford three games into his rookie year and not later in the season. They know they can successfully disguise coverages against him and take advantage of his tendency not to get through all of his progressions. Washington’s defense will focus primarily on stopping RB Steven Jackson and force Bradford to win the game with his arm.