Washington Doubtful, Randle El Hopeful

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Washington Redskins listed starting linebacker Marcus Washington as doubtful for tomorrow's game in Green Bay, while wide receiver Antwaan Randle El missed practice again with a hamstring strain yesterday and his status was also up in the air.

The Redskins, who are attempting to win consecutive road games for the first time since 2005, listed starting left end Phillip Daniels as probable after a surprisingly speedy recovery from a separated right shoulder. Daniels said he was cautiously optimistic he can play. Wide receiver Santana Moss (groin), fullback Mike Sellers (heel) and cornerback Fred Smoot (stomach flu) all practiced and were also listed as probable.

Washington, who made the Pro Bowl in 2004, is the biggest concern. His hamstring injury is more severe than Randle El's. Veteran Randall Godfrey, who was prized as a top reserve free agent and signed to a $1.3 million contract late in training camp, would start in Washington's place, while rookie end Chris Wilson would figure more prominently in pass-rushing situations with Washington out, coaches said.

Randle El was adamant that he will be able to play; Coach Joe Gibbs said a final decision will be made tomorrow morning after the wide receiver warms up with his teammates.

"I think [Randle El] is a great competitor and the closer it gets to game time he's wanting to go," Gibbs said. "He'll probably be one we'll warm up on Sunday and see how it goes."

Randle El has shined as a starter this season, averaging 18.8 yards per catch, and had seven receptions for 100 yards before halftime against the Detroit Lions on Sunday before the hamstring injury forced him out of the game. If he is able to play in Green Bay, Randle El said he'd like to return punts as normal in addition to running routes. Gibbs agreed that if Randle El is active he would fill all roles as usual; if Randle El does not play, veterans James Thrash and Keenan McCardell are in line to get his snaps at wide receiver, while Thrash is the backup punt returner.

Randle El, 28, said he felt good after doing more cutting and misdirection work yesterday. Normally, players who miss practice all week are unable to play, but Randle El and the coaching staff believe that might not be true in his case.

"It's up to me of course, and if I've got any pain then I'm not going to push it," Randle El said. "But I don't expect to have any. I'll come out and test it Sunday morning and I expect to be ready to go."

Washington, 29, did not sound as optimistic about his playing status. "I'm just going to wait until tomorrow, wait until Sunday, and hopefully it'll be a little better," he said. "If I felt the way I feel right now, I probably wouldn't [play]."

Godfrey, who had to work back into football shape after nearly retiring this summer, received heavy work in practice and also shined filling in for Washington on the strong side against the Lions. On passing downs Wilson, 25, who has an explosive first step, is in line to play off the left edge, where Washington plays in the five-defensive back package.

"The reason why we brought Randall Godfrey in here was to play, and last week he attacked the run game outstanding," said Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense. "And Chris Wilson's been doing very well . . . and is in a position now where he's earned those snaps to play more this week if Marcus can't go."

Godfrey, 34, said he is not yet in maximum condition, "But I'm close."

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