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Overstaffed Under Center, Cut Looms

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, August 3, 2007

The NFL does not require teams to trim their rosters until late August, but the Redskins may end up shedding a quarterback well before then. Washington has five passers in training camp and there simply is not enough work to go around.

The Redskins scrimmage at Baltimore tomorrow and begin their preseason schedule a week after that. Coaches say they want starter Jason Campbell to get as much practice with the first unit as possible. Backup Mark Brunell is coming off shoulder surgery, and the Redskins want him to get plenty of work to make sure he has recovered.

That does not leave too many throws for the three men with hopes of earning the No. 3 spot -- Todd Collins, Casey Bramlet and Jordan Palmer.

"Everybody there we have interest in, and we've got some tough decisions to make obviously at quarterback in the backup roles," Coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday. "But I think we're going to come to a point where . . . even if we hold a guy out he doesn't get to do anything but individual stuff. So we're going to have to adjust it, and starting the scrimmage this week there will be limited work."

Collins is by far the most experienced of the potential third quarterbacks and, assuming Brunell continues to recover, there is little expectation that anyone would beat him out for that job. Gibbs prizes experience, and Collins is an expert in assistant head coach Al Saunders's offense from their time together in Kansas City. However, Collins and Brunell are both nearing the end of their careers and Washington would like to begin grooming a younger backup with a smaller salary.

Bramlet had a strong season in NFL Europe, but many scouts discount that. Bramlet was at training camp last season as well and has worked in a Redskins-style offense before in Cincinnati. Rookie Jordan Palmer, a sixth-round pick, has struggled, and could end up on the practice squad; it is difficult to see him beating out Collins and Bramlet for the No. 3 spot.

Gibbs hinted that the team could be down to four quarterbacks before the first preseason game on Aug. 11 at Tennessee.

Why the Long Faces?

It looks increasingly clear that tailback Clinton Portis will be out until at least next week recovering from another bout of tendinitis in his knee. Portis has suffered repeated injuries since partially separating his shoulder a year ago.

Portis said he is disappointed about missing practice.

"Honestly, I am," he said. "I'm tired of the sad, long faces and all of that every time I'm not suited up. But I think my teammates understand and know I'm trying to be there for our first game and make it through the season."

No Comment

Safety Sean Taylor, who rarely speaks to reporters, was tentatively scheduled to speak publicly each of the past two days, but has declined to do so. . . . NFL referees apprised reporters of rule changes for the 2007 season, including one that directly applies to Washington's wide receivers. A new rule calls for a five-yard delay of game penalty for spiking or throwing the ball on the field after a completed pass. The penalty won't cost the offending team a down and won't apply to touchdown celebrations or spinning the ball on the ground, but is intended to keep officials from chasing after footballs. Should a player spike the ball into the feet of an opponent, it will still be a 15-yard taunting penalty. . . .

The Redskins signed defensive tackle Vaka Manupuna, who was with the team as an undrafted free agent and spent time on the practice squad last season. Defensive lineman Jared Clauss was released.

Staff writer Katie Carrera contributed to this report.

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