By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
After missing his first game in two-plus seasons with the Washington Redskins, center Casey Rabach said he's eager to play this week against the New England Patriots. But his groin injury has not healed completely, and Rabach is not sure if he will participate in drills when the team resumes practice tomorrow.
The Redskins' struggling offense needs help, players said, and Rabach could provide an assist, even if he is at less than full strength.
"The guys we have as backups know what they have to do, but it makes a difference having guys in there who you've worked with and been together with awhile," Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels said. "Casey definitely is a big part of what we do, so you'd like to have him back out there."
Injured in an Oct. 14 loss at Green Bay, Rabach sat out Sunday's 21-19 victory over Arizona. Rabach, who started every game in his first two seasons with Washington, also had hoped to play against the Cardinals despite missing all week of practice, but he didn't fare well in a workout the day before the game.
"I really was confident throughout the week, but this is my first time I've ever had a soft-tissue injury like this," Rabach said. "It's real hard for me to gauge, especially early in the week, where I'd be on Sunday."
As for the upcoming game, Rabach "would be surprised if I'm not out there," he said. With backup center Mike Pucillo filling in for Rabach against the Cardinals, the Redskins had only 160 yards.
Rabach counseled Pucillo during the game, reviewing photos of the Cardinals' defensive formations and offering tips. Pucillo wasn't the problem, Rabach said.
"For the most part," he said, "Mike was right on."
Regardless of whether Rabach plays against the Patriots, the offense must improve for the team to succeed this season, he said.
"Anytime you only have 160 total yards of offense, there's a lot of room for improvement," Rabach said. "We have to get back to running the ball, controlling the game and keeping our defense off the field. Everybody has got to play a little bit better."Washington Still Ailing
Strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington, who has missed the last two games because of a hamstring injury, said he isn't sure about his status for this week.
"I really don't know anything yet," Washington said. "I'm going to run a little bit [today], do as much as I can do. "What I was able to do last week, I did pretty good in practice. Still, opening it up, I haven't really had to do that yet."
The Patriots (7-0) are first in the league in offense, and Randy Moss, acquired from Oakland in an offseason trade, has reemerged as the game's top big-play receiver.
"It's going to be a tough one," Washington said. "They're all tough, but the Patriots have been having their way with people all year. We've got our work cut out for us."Rogers, Smoot Look to Play
Cornerbacks Carlos Rogers (knee sprain) and Fred Smoot (hamstring), who continued to play after suffering injuries against the Cardinals, said they expect to play against the Patriots. . . . Return specialist Rock Cartwright (quadriceps) was "a lot better" yesterday, said John Burrell, head athletic trainer. Cartwright had an 80-yard kickoff return on the opening play of the third quarter. . . . Backup tackle Stephon Heyer (hamstring) is "making good progress," Burrell said.