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 (Thu, 9/23)
Rookie LT Trent Williams will attempt to practice Friday after sitting out the last two days with a bruised knee and sprained toe he suffered against Houston last Sunday.
Williams was able to jog Thursday, and he ran on the treadmill for “a while,” coach Mike Shanahan said.
“The knee, I think, is a little bit sore, but it’s more the toe than the knee.” Shanahan said. “That’s a good sign.”
Williams limped off the practice field Thursday, but it was not as severe as it was Wednesday.
It’s very tough for a lineman to anchor with foot pain, so it might be best to sit Williams this week and get fully healthy for next week’s matchup against Philadelphia’s Trent Cole. St. Louis doesn’t have an elite pass rusher such as DeMarcus Ware or Mario Williams, so perhaps the Redskins could get by with Stephon Heyer on the left. But Williams is so valuable that, obviously, he will play if he’s able.
Speaking of Heyer, Shanahan—as usual—is keeping the public guessing about the identity of Williams’ possible replacement. Plugging Heyer in on the left side would require the least amount of shuffling. However, the Redskins currently have a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle in the form of right tackle Jammal Brown.
Brown, who the Redskins moved to the right side after acquiring him in June, practiced some at left tackle yesterday, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan confirmed.
“He looked good,” Kyle said. “He’s getting better each day, getting more comfortable with what we do.”
DL Albert Haynesworth fully participated in practice Thursday for the first time since spraining his ankle in practice last Wednesday.
“I think he’s fine,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “He had a good practice today, didn’t look like there were any setbacks.”
The Redskins could really use Haynesworth’s pass-rushing skills after their coverages were exploited last week by Houston’s Matt Schaub. Washington’s defense, which is ranked last in the NFL, consistently generated pressure when rushing more than four players. However, there was a dropoff when they did not blitz. Even if Haynesworth still is a liability as a run defender, he probably could help on passing downs.
FS Kareem Moore (knee) also fully participated in practice. He had not practiced to that extent since having arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 23.
Moore was a first-stringer before he got hurt, and he expects to play on Sunday against St. Louis. Neither Moore nor or coach Mike Shanahan would say whether Moore would start Sunday, but I’ll let you connect the dots.
“I think I’ll be a little rusty, but, hey, I’ve got to get in there to clean it off,” Moore said.
I’m quite eager to see if Moore is going to be an impact player at free safety or just another guy. He started well in training camp with several interceptions in team drills, but that was practice. His body of work in games is not impressive so far—he proved last year to be susceptible to double moves. It’s time to measure his progress.
While Haynesworth and Moore are getting healthy, here’s the list of guys that did not practice: WR Anthony Armstrong (groin), S Chris Horton (ankle) and NT Anthony Bryant (head).
If the Redskins have to deactivate Armstrong, Devin Thomas would be positioned for his first action on offense this season.
“As a young man, it’s hard to be patient,” Thomas said. “You always want things to happen right now. You learn that through life, that patience is a virtue.”
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan offered the final word on RB Larry Johnson’s short tenure with the club, and he indicated that the decision was not made solely to accommodate a special teams need.
“I really, really like Larry and think he can play,” Shanahan said. “I just think it was a bad situation for him. I think Larry is a guy that need a little more carries to get going. Just in his role with our team, I think that was difficult for him to get.”
Johnson was cut on Tuesday after amassing two yards on five carries through two games.
With Johnson gone, undrafted rookie Keiland Williams ascended to second on the depth chart.
Williams played in a zone running scheme during his first two seasons at LSU, and he’s relying on that experience as his prospects for playing time improve.
“I think vision is the most important thing,” Williams said. “It’s not about speed, it’s about power. It’s about actually seeing the hole and hitting it as fast as you can.”
He said that he got a few more reps in practice on Wednesday, which you would expect after his promotion.
DE Adam Carriker had one of the quotes of the year so far when asked if he has something to prove Sunday against St. Louis, the team that drafted him.
“A little bit,” he said. “They traded me for a donut and a cup of coffee.”
In a Redskins’ locker room that’s rapidly drying up under Mike Shanahan, that’s gold.
I have a full-length feature on Carriker in Friday’s paper. Check it out for more depth on why he didn’t pan out in St. Louis and why he appears to be a steal through two games.
ILB London Fletcher acknowledged the obvious on Thursday: He is contending with offensive linemen more frequently in the new defense than he did in the past.
The 3-4 front is designed so that the three linemen move laterally off the snap and occupy blockers, freeing the linemen to make tackles. However, breakdowns up front have exposed Fletcher to linemen more than he’s used to.
Fletcher has been credited with 18 tackles, so he’s on pace for 144—a typical season for him. Keep in mind, though, that the Redskins’ defense has played 152 plays from scrimmage—second most in the league. Last year Fletcher averaged a tackle every 7.04 plays from scrimmage. This year, it’s one per 8.4 plays.
SS LaRon Landry is picking up the tackling slack for now, but it’s something to keep an eye on.