Healthy Outlook for the Opener

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By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Washington Redskins plan on having a full complement of players for tomorrow's season opener against Miami at FedEx Field, with only reserve tight end Cody Boyd (neck/shoulder) ruled out. Five players are listed as probable, including starters Marcus Washington, Clinton Portis and Chris Samuels, but all are expected to play.

Washington, a former Pro Bowl linebacker, is recovering from a dislocated right elbow suffered a few weeks ago, but he was able to practice this week.

"He's as tough anybody I've ever been around," Coach Joe Gibbs said.

Washington was expected to play left end in the nickel defense, but he may not be used as much in that role. He'll wear a brace tomorrow and is unsure exactly how the elbow will respond to his first hard tackle.

Under the NFL's new injury policy, teams are not required to label a player's status -- probable, questionable, doubtful or out -- until the Friday before a Sunday game; the old deadline was Wednesday. Yesterday the Redskins listed tailback Portis (knee), Pro Bowl tackle Samuels (knee), reserve tackle Todd Wade (shoulder) and reserve linebacker Khary Campbell (hamstring) as probable. All practiced this week, although Campbell was limited in his work early on as a precaution.

Boyd's injury leaves the Redskins with just two tight ends -- starter Chris Cooley and reserve Todd Yoder -- and one fullback -- stalwart Mike Sellers -- on the active roster, but the tight ends and fullbacks are somewhat interchangeable, giving the coaches some flexibility. The team might also opt to dress just four wide receivers -- fifth receiver Shaun Bodiford was claimed off waivers this week.

Cornerback Andrew Goodman was the only Dolphin limited in practice this week, although aging linebacker Joey Porter (knee) and tackle Keith Traylor (ankle) were closely watched.

Fletcher Is Familiar

Middle linebacker London Fletcher, the Redskins' primary free agent acquisition, will make his debut tomorrow against a familiar foe. Fletcher spent the past five seasons in Buffalo, playing Miami twice a season in the AFC East.

He also spent time with Dolphins quarterback Trent Green when both players were in St. Louis, so he has ample history to call upon as he prepares for the Week 1 opponent.

"Once the running back gets the ball, he's still the same runner," Fletcher said. "And their offensive linemen -- they've got a couple of new guys at certain positions -- but I've played against Trent Green, I know Trent Green. They still have [Chris] Chambers as a receiving threat. I know some of those guys, and it does help me probably more than some of the guys who haven't played the Dolphins as much."

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