Thomas's Injury Adds to Receding Offensive Line

Demetric Evans, left, who made his first regular season start since November 2005, set his sights on Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb last night. (By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 17 -- Another game, another starting offensive lineman goes down with an injury.

Already playing without injured right tackle Jon Jansen, the Washington Redskins lost starting right guard Randy Thomas in the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night when he tore the triceps muscle in his left arm. Thomas is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam Tuesday.

"It's hard to describe," Thomas said of the injury that occurred while he was blocking a Philadelphia defensive lineman. "It's more frustrating to talk about it than dealing with it right now. I'm going to stay positive."

Jason Fabini replaced Thomas and had two false starts in his offensive series. Overall, however, the line played well considering it was short-handed.

Defensive Shuffle

Defensive end Phillip Daniels and cornerback Fred Smoot were inactive, prompting the Redskins to shuffle things on defense while playing without two starters from their opening-week victory.

Daniels was expected to sit out after missing three consecutive days of practice because of a foot strain. On Saturday, Daniels hinted that he would not be ready to play in the team's first game against an NFC East opponent. He said he hopes to play Sunday against the New York Giants at FedEx Field.

Smoot, however, had played down his hamstring injury, saying he was determined to contribute again this week after starting opposite cornerback Carlos Rogers in a 16-13 victory in overtime over the Miami Dolphins. But Smoot's injury kept him out, too, forcing the Redskins to adjust against the pass-first Eagles.

As expected, Demetric Evans started for Daniels. With Daniels slowed last week, Evans's role in practice steadily increased.

Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, praised Evans for his play in practice and said Evans would be a good fit at either end against the Eagles. Coach Joe Gibbs also expressed confidence in Evans, who made his first regular season start since Nov. 20, 2005.

As for the secondary, Smoot's injury opened the door for Shawn Springs, who played only a supporting role against the Dolphins. The Redskins would prefer to keep opponents guessing each week about their starting cornerback alignment, Williams said, but there were signs Springs would play with the No. 1 unit this week despite Smoot's status.

Springs is considered Washington's most accomplished cornerback, and it seemed he would be needed more this week because of Philadelphia's passing attack. Because of Smoot's injury, the Redskins activated cornerback David Macklin for the first time this season.

Receiving Corps Stands Pat

Wide receiver Reche Caldwell, signed last week, also was inactive. Caldwell has only had a few practices, so the Redskins opted to stick with the same four receivers they activated against Miami. Caldwell is expected to challenge for playing time in practice this week. . . .

The Redskins last won at Philadelphia in the final regular season game of the 2005 season, clinching a playoff berth. . . .

Safety Vernon Fox (groin), tight end Cody Boyd, wide receiver Shaun Bodiford and defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander also were inactive.

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