Brunell Is Set to Start for Redskins

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By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 31, 2005

Quarterback Mark Brunell was able to complete another practice yesterday and will start tomorrow in Philadelphia as the Washington Redskins seek their fifth straight win to clinch their first playoff appearance since 1999.

Brunell said he was able to engage in more drills than he had previously and will not be limited by his sprained right knee. He was knocked out of last Saturday's 35-20 win over New York early in the second half and was off the practice field until Thursday.

Brunell credited the team's athletic trainers for helping him recover so quickly, and said he is eager to finish the regular season with a victory. The Redskins still could get in the postseason with a loss, provided Dallas loses to struggling St. Louis on Sunday night, but they are approaching the Eagles game as a must-win.

Coach Joe Gibbs said he is pleased to have Brunell back. "He took more and more work and [yesterday] took most of the script," Gibbs said. "So I feel real good about it, and I think he looked good. He's ready to go, and we'll throw everything we've got at it, because this is super important for us."

Brunell, who has a career-high 22 touchdown passes and a 22 to 9 touchdown-to-interception ratio, said he could not imagine how disappointed he would be having to watch the Philadelphia game from the sideline.

"That would have been tough," Brunell said. "It's tough for anybody on the sidelines in games like this, but that would have been a rough one having all us work so hard to get where we're at in a position where we can get to the postseason, you want to be a part of that."

Patrick Ramsey, who played well in relief of Brunell last week, will again be the backup, with his confidence boosted by Saturday's performance. Rookie Jason Campbell remains the third quarterback.

The Redskins have no other injury concerns on offense; linemen Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels returned to practice midweek. Several injured defensive players returned for yesterday's training session as well.

Cornerback Shawn Springs (groin) practiced for the first time this week, and rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers (biceps) practiced for the first time in about three weeks. Rogers, however, remains the only player on the team listed as questionable, and many around the team do not expect him to dress for this game.

Starting defensive end Renaldo Wynn, who wore a protective boot on his right foot much of the week, rested again yesterday as a precaution rather than participate in a full practice, but said there is no chance he will not be in the lineup tomorrow.

"Oh yeah, I'm ready to go," Wynn said. "I'm ready to roll. You know me, I'll be out there.

Reserve safety Matt Bowen (knee) also returned to practice this week and he, too, is expected to play.


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