By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The Redskins yesterday listed center Casey Rabach and right tackle Todd Wade, both suffering from groin strains, as probable for tomorrow's game against the Arizona Cardinals, though Coach Joe Gibbs said it would be a "game-time decision" as to whether Rabach will be able to play.
"We're going to reevaluate [today] and go from there," said Rabach, a stalwart on the offensive line who was unable to practice all week. "Things feel better and better each day, so we'll see."
There is no practice at Redskins Park today, just meetings and walk-throughs, but Rabach said he will "try to get after it" during individual drills with athletic trainers, working hard on footwork and lateral movement.
"I'll try to do what I have to do in the game environment as much as I can and if it feels good, take the walk-through, go to the hotel and get some more treatment and wake up [tomorrow] and play," he said.
Gibbs said the team does not expect to make a final determination on Rabach until tomorrow morning. "Probably with Casey what we'll do is warm him up on game day and see how he feels," Gibbs said. "I know he felt a lot better today."
If Rabach cannot play, veteran Mike Pucillo would replace him. Pucillo, who can play center and guard, was acquired in 2006 and re-signed in the offseason to add depth to the line. Pucillo took snaps with quarterback Jason Campbell all week, getting reconnected with his former teammate at Auburn.
"Mike was my second center in Auburn, so I'm used to him and that's a positive," Campbell said. "Hopefully, Casey can go, but if he can't we've got confidence in Mike. The bottom line is we have to protect the football this week and focus on what we're doing. We can be a dynamic offense, and we're so close, but it's the little things we're not doing and we've got to focus on protecting the football."
Pucillo said: "We're all professionals and in training camp we had a lot of switching around and stuff like that, so it's not like we haven't been through different people moving in and out, and I think we're all used to it. So we just go out there and get our technique down and work together. That's what we get paid for."
As for other injured Redskins, reserve tackle Stephon Heyer, who pulled his hamstring, was listed as questionable for tomorrow's game after not practicing all week. Starting linebacker Marcus Washington also is questionable.
Left guard Pete Kendall, who sat out of practice Wednesday with knee and hamstring soreness, was listed as probable.
The Redskins, who lost starting lineman Randy Thomas and Jon Jansen in the first two weeks of the season, have faced injury problems on the offensive line all season and have repeatedly been forced to reshuffle the unit.
Wade was upbeat after practicing this week and, even though he sat out some plays that required more movement as a precaution against further aggravating his groin injury, said he was confident he will play against the Cardinals.
"I got a lot done, without bothering it," Wade said. Veteran Jason Fabini practiced some at tackle this week -- he played tackle in nine previous seasons but is playing guard now -- and could step in for Wade if need be.
Gibbs said that Heyer, a rookie free agent, could dress for tomorrow's game despite his injury and lack of practice time. It could be risky to have two tackles on the active roster who are battling injuries, however, and Gibbs said the team may activate a tackle from the practice squad. "We'll make a decision by [this] afternoon," Gibbs said of the prospect of signing a lineman to the active roster. "We've got one more day."
Defensively, Washington, a former Pro Bowler, is the only injury concern. He missed the loss in Green Bay last Sunday, and practiced in only a limited capacity this week. Randall Godfrey has filled in well for Washington.
Cornerback Shawn Springs missed practice all week to be with his family in Dallas, as his father, Ron, remained in a coma.
Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, said that if Springs wants to "honor his father" and play tomorrow, he will grant his wish even though he has not practiced. Gibbs said he has had no recent communication with Springs.
"He's going through such a tough thing there, and I just left a message that we're praying for him," Gibbs said. "His voice mail was full, and I know he's going through a lot right now."