Redskins Notebook

Team Adjusts to Stormy Weather With an Early Practice

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 16, 2005

Inclement weather forced some alterations to the Washington Redskins' practice yesterday, but the players welcomed snow with their warm-weather rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, coming to FedEx Field on Sunday in the biggest game of the season. Coach Joe Gibbs is a firm believer in working in the elements, never entertaining the notion of getting a practice bubble.

The Redskins had scheduled an afternoon walk-through and a late-afternoon practice but practiced at 11:30 a.m. instead of 2 p.m., then headed indoors for meetings the rest of the day.

They had been using a grass field for practice this week -- the only field of the three that was plowed at the time -- and with the snow falling heavily yesterday, plows were working on the artificial turf field so that practice could be quickly switched there.

It was not easy to keep warm between drills, and the rearranged schedule prevented running back Clinton Portis from having enough time to don a costume as he does during his news conference most Thursdays.

"I hope the weather stays the same since we're practicing in it," Portis said.

Portis said he had gone to extra preparation for his costume, given the importance of Dallas week. "It was probably the best one of all time," he said. "I had a great idea."

The players are eager to play a meaningful late-season game -- Portis said he has seen tickets going for $1,300 on eBay -- and want as much of a home-field advantage as possible.

"Hopefully, the weather will cooperate," said Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense.

Temperatures Sunday were forecast in the low 40s.

Back to Work

The Redskins' injured offensive players all returned to practice yesterday. Offensive linemen Chris Samuels (ankle) and Jon Jansen (thumb) were back in drills -- although Samuels still seemed a bit hobbled -- as was wide receiver Santana Moss (hamstring). Wide receiver James Thrash (hamstring) practiced for the second straight day. Those players remained listed as probable on the injury report. . . .

This is the first of three straight games against the NFC East; Washington (7-6) has not won three straight against divisional opponents since 1999, the last time the club made the playoffs, when it beat New York, Arizona (now in the NFC West) and Philadelphia. That was also the last time the Redskins had a winning record within their division (5-3), which is generally necessary to reach the postseason.

Washington is 2-1 against the NFC East, winning at Dallas, beating Philadelphia at home and losing at New York. A win Sunday still might not put the Redskins into one of the two wild-card spots in this conference, but it would give them a tiebreaker over Dallas (8-5) and keep them within at least one game of a playoff position.

"I think this is going to go to the last week now for pretty much everybody," Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells said during a conference call. "I don't think it's going to get smoothed out or be clear right away here."

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