Injured Offensive Line Gets Drastic Makeover

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 18, 2007

As the Washington Redskins returned to practice yesterday, their reconfigured offensive line underwent another makeover in preparation for Sunday's game against Arizona at FedEx Field.

Center Casey Rabach and right tackle Todd Wade sat out to rest their groin injuries, as expected, and both reaffirmed they plan to play Sunday. But left guard Pete Kendall also did not participate in drills in order to rest his knees and hamstrings, said Joe Bugel, assistant head coach-offense, and backup tackle Stephon Heyer watched practice while recovering from a hamstring injury.

At one point in practice, Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels was the only lineman on the field from the first unit that was projected at the beginning of the season. Jason Fabini, who has started the last thee games at right guard, started in place of Wade at right tackle.

Calvin Armstrong, signed to the practice squad Tuesday, was at right guard, backup center Mike Pucillo filled in for Rabach and defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander was at left guard. The Redskins have assigned Alexander to standby duty on offense, meaning he essentially will serve as an emergency offensive lineman against Arizona.

Kevin Sampson, another practice-squad lineman signed Tuesday, also was involved as the offensive and defensive lines squared off early in practice.

Wade plans to practice tomorrow. If he is unable to play Sunday, Fabini may start at tackle and Rick DeMulling, signed Sept. 20, could move into the first unit at left guard.

Coach Joe Gibbs would prefer to have Wade and Rabach participate in some drills this week before playing Sunday, but he'll take what he can get under the circumstances.

"I think we've got some guys that are certainly smart enough to play [without practicing], and they basically do know what's going on," Gibbs said. "You always hate missing work, but I've never ceased to be amazed by what can happen.

"I've never been in this situation before; it's something you've got to handle. You've got to do the best you can with it and make good decisions, and that's what we try to do."

Building Blocks

With Wade and Rabach sidelined most of the second half Sunday, the Redskins used tight end Chris Cooley and fullback Mike Sellers more in pass protection.

Cooley and Sellers often helped Heyer, who struggled in relief of Wade and left the game on the Redskins' final possession after being injured. Even if Wade and Rabach are available Sunday, Cooley may be needed often in protection, reducing his opportunities in the passing game.

"I can just hope that I can do whatever I can to make plays," Cooley said. "Hopefully, we'll find ways to get the ball to everybody. We'll see what happens with the injuries. We might have to be a little more creative, but I'll do my best to make the plays I get a chance for."

Springs With Ailing Father

It is unclear whether starting cornerback Shawn Springs, granted permission to be with ailing father, Ron, in Dallas this week, will play Sunday.

Ron, a former Dallas Cowboys running back, reportedly was in a coma at a Dallas hospital after complications from surgery to remove an elbow cyst Saturday.

"It's strictly up to him," Gibbs said of whether Springs plays Sunday. "It's so personal, it's such a bad deal that they're going through right now, so we'll have to wait and see how the week goes. We feel for him. I was going to leave a voice mail for him last night, but his voice mail is full. We're all praying for him." . . .

Strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington (hamstring) participated in limited drills.

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