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Redskins Pierre Garcon, Brandon Meriweather optimistic over returns Sunday

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Signs point to the Washington Redskins having both wide receiver Pierre Garcon and strong safety Brandon Meriweather on the field Sunday when they host the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins have officially listed both players as questionable, but Coach Mike Shanahan, Garcon and Meriweather all expressed optimism that they will play.

Garcon and Meriweather, signed as free agents in the offseason, practiced Friday.

“I feel good enough that if there’s no setback, [Meriweather] will be able to play,” Shanahan said. “That’s a positive. Same thing with Garcon. Any time you get two guys like that on your football team, obviously, it helps your football team, and helps it win.”

Garcon has missed six of the Redskins’ nine games with a torn capsule in the second toe on his right foot . Meriweather hasn’t played at all. He strained two ligaments in his left knee in the preseason; re-injured the knee two weeks later, six days before the season opener; and re-injured it again four weeks later during pregame warmups.

“This is the best I’ve felt for a while,” Meriweather said. “I’d be ecstatic [to play this week]. Guys have been working hard, trying to keep the ship together, and it’d be great just to be out there with them guys.”

Meriweather would be welcomed to a secondary that ranks 30th in the NFL against the pass. The Redskins have given up 17 pass plays of 25 yards or more, and eight pass plays of 40 yards or more.

Garcon said that although not fully healed, he notices significant improvement in his foot. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Garcon can still help the offense, even at his current state.

“He doesn’t have to be 100 percent to play,” Shanahan said. “Pierre came in and he still did some things in those games that he played in that did help, just having him out there. We definitely wanted to get him to 100 percent. Now we’ve seen that we’re not sure he’ll ever get there, and we would definitely rather have him out there than not have him at all. We think he can help regardless of what he is.”

Redskins note: Right tackle Jammal Brown missed a second consecutive day of practice Friday because of a sore left hip, making the chances of his comeback from a second hip surgery since 2009 even more bleak.

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