Samuels Plans To Be Back for Season Opener

By Mark Maske and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Injured left tackle Chris Samuels said yesterday he hopes to return to the Washington Redskins' lineup for the final preseason game, but the status of injured left guard Todd Wade (shoulder) is less clear.

Yesterday, Samuels was at practice as an on-field spectator for the first time since spraining his right medial collateral ligament in practice on July 30. He said that his rehabilitation is going well and that he feels certain he'll be able to play in the regular season opener against the Miami Dolphins at FedEx Field on Sept. 9.

He also would like to get one tuneup for the season by participating in the Aug. 30 exhibition finale at Jacksonville if the coaches and trainers permit it, he said.

"Everything is going well," Samuels said. "I was thinking I'd like to get back for the last preseason game. We talked about it. They just said, 'Don't push it, make sure you don't set it back.' I'll definitely be back for the first regular season game."

Wade's shoulder kept him out of contact drills yesterday -- although he pushed for more reps -- and Coach Joe Gibbs said he is unsure if Wade will be able to play Saturday against Pittsburgh. Mike Pucillo again took Wade's spot in practice. Stephon Heyer (hamstring), who has been replacing Samuels, also returned to practice.

Alexander Goes All Out

The coaches knew that youngster Lorenzo Alexander was a quality individual when he took on scout team duties on offense and defense last season while on the practice squad. After diving to make a tackle Saturday without his helmet on -- and suffering a wound on his face after an accidental hit by teammate Reed Doughty -- the reserve defensive lineman's stock has never been higher.

"You can't help but love that passion," said Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense. "He has been playing very well. That's another example of a kid that has taken an opportunity and run with it."

Alexander knew he had lost his helmet but was fearless in his attack. He needed six stitches after the game ("a badge of honor," Williams said). Alexander, who has spent time on Carolina's practice squad as well, now has been dubbed "Scarface." He has no regrets -- "I was just reacting to the play in the heat of the moment," he said -- although he did get some concerned postgame phone calls.

"My mom's just happy I have all my teeth," he said.

Odds and Ends

Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (shin splints) missed most of the past two weeks but practiced yesterday. Lloyd said he intends to play against the Steelers and would have played in Tennessee last Saturday, but "it was decided by the training staff and coaching staff to sit me out."

Lloyd said the time away from the offense is no cause for alarm. "I don't see it as being a setback," he said. "Our rhythm is definitely established."

Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (quad) missed practice again but intends to play against Pittsburgh, his former team. Wide receiver Corey Bradford (hamstring) also missed practice.

Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin rested Saturday but will play against Pittsburgh, Williams said. Defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery (knee) is pushing for a return but is iffy for Saturday.

Cornerback Jerametrius Butler is back at practice after missing much of camp with a hamstring injury, but he faces a crowded group in the defensive backfield. "I really need and want to see him get some time," Williams said.

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