Injury-Weakened Line Preparing for Eagles
Thursday, November 3, 2005
Washington Redskins defensive end Renaldo Wynn had a smile on his face when he said after practice yesterday, "We need to make a sign-up sheet -- sign up here for the defensive line." But the status of that banged-up unit was no laughing matter as the Redskins began preparing to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night at FedEx Field.
Starting tackles Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave'a were not on the field for the first practice of the week and were listed as questionable for the game. Griffin has a hip injury that allowed him to participate in only two plays against the Giants last week, and Salave'a is still nursing a painful foot condition (plantar fasciitis) that has plagued him for three weeks.
"I've got a couple more days," Salave'a said before practice. "It'll be a whole lot more treatment and more rest. I'm optimistic about it and we'll see. . . . I'm not supposed to be doing what I'm doing, so it's a big challenge to deal with it. . . . I've got to get my mind right to prepare to play. We're on natural grass, so maybe that will help."
Salave'a said that taking a cortisone shot may be an option, "but it's something I'd really like to avoid. It's not getting any worse, but the pain is still there. Hopefully, I'll get more treatment and it will be better by Sunday."
The good news for the defensive unit is that backup linemen Aki Jones and Cedric Killings, both inactive last week because of injuries, are no longer on the injury report and should be available to play. Wynn also said a number of linemen are practicing both at defensive tackle and defensive end.
Defensive coordinator and line coach Greg Blache shrugged off the injuries as "part of the business. . . . Injuries this time of the year are part of the job. We'll have some guys lined up to play, hopefully not me. I coached the guys that were here today and I'll coach the guys that are here tomorrow. I expect them to fight these guys on Sunday; if they don't, they'll have to fight me."
Two other Redskins were listed as questionable on the injury report: tight end Robert Royal (calf) and safety Omar Stoutmire (hamstring).
Defensive end Phillip Daniels (ankle), left tackle Chris Samuels (knee), H-back Chris Cooley (hip) and running back Ladell Betts (shoulder) all were listed as probable.
Wide receiver Santana Moss attended morning meetings but was sent home because of illness and missed the afternoon practice. Royal, Daniels, Samuels and Stoutmire also did not practice.
The Eagles listed 13 players on their injury list, with wide receiver Terrell Owens doubtful with an ankle injury. Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said he expects Owens to play. Defensive end Jevon Kearse (shoulder), place kicker David Akers (hamstring), defensive end N.D. Kalu (shoulder) and defensive tackle Sam Rayburn (stinger) were listed as questionable. Kearse missed yesterday's practice, and middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was undergoing tests for a sore knee. . . . The Eagles placed punter Dirk Johnson on the injured reserve list and signed Reggie Hodges, a rookie punter from Ball State who was a sixth-round draft choice this year by the St. Louis Rams. . . . Akers tried field goals yesterday as he attempts to return from a hamstring injury. Even if Akers is responsible for field goals and extra points against the Redskins, the Eagles plan to retain Jose Cortez to handle kickoffs.
Kicking Decision Soon
Gibbs said he expects to make a roster decision between place kicker John Hall and rookie Nick Novak by the end of the week. Hall was activated for the Giants game after not seeing any action since the season opener, but he never attempted a kick. Novak, placed on the game-day inactive list Sunday, practiced yesterday.
"I think it will go toward the end of the week again," Gibbs said. "I don't think there's any reason to do it earlier. There's no benefit to it."
'A Real Bad Day'
Quarterback Mark Brunell, who slipped from his spot as the league's second-rated quarterback last week to No. 12 this week, insisted the 36-0 loss to the Giants "is not going to take anything away from our confidence. We're a real good team that had a real bad day," he said. "We're not going to start worrying about 'what if.' Our attitude is to stay positive and keep working. If we do that, we'll be okay."
Staff writer Mark Maske contributed to this report from Philadelphia.