By Les Carpenter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 26, 2007
After hobbling through the past few weeks, the Washington Redskins seem to be healing. Yesterday, the handful of players in the defensive backfield who have been fighting injuries practiced again, which gives them hope of having a healthy secondary to face a New England team that leads the NFL with 299.4 passing yards a game.
Cornerback Fred Smoot, who is nursing a hamstring injury, and cornerback Carlos Rogers, who has been bothered with a knee problem, took part in limited drills just as they did on Wednesday, but both insist they will be fine for Sunday. Safety Pierson Prioleau, who was held out of Wednesday's practice to recover from soreness, practiced yesterday.
"The guys are limited but they are coming along," said Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense. "They took a big stride today. They practiced very well today."
Tackle Stephon Heyer returned to full practice after missing several days and a game with a pulled hamstring. Running back Rock Cartwright missed practice for a second straight day with a quadriceps injury.Washington Will Play
Also seemingly certain to return is linebacker Marcus Washington, who missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury. He survived two full practices this week in the rain and appears healthy enough to play.
While the Redskins are happy to have him back, the coaches also are happy that they were able to replace him with Randall Godfrey, an 11-year veteran who was signed in late August. Godfrey was a player they didn't have last year -- a player who had been a starter for many seasons and can come in for a few games. Godfrey has seven solo tackles filling in for Washington.
Godfrey was a starter in Dallas, Tennessee, Seattle and San Diego. Known for his ability to stop the run, he has been his team's top tackler in several of those seasons. Williams raved about Godfrey's ability to come in after Washington went down.
"It's nice to say 1 is down but 1A is in," he said. "To have 1A come in and knock someone down is great."A Scare Before Halloween
Williams said he had nothing to do with the Redskins' defensive players offering only the blandest of cliches in an effort to not discuss the Patriots.
"They're scared," he said of his defensive players, then laughed. "They have been very focused all week. The Patriots have our attention."
Much like his players, Williams was somewhat reserved in his awe of New England's offense. "The execution level has been outstanding," Williams said. "They're doing a great job as a team -- they're in sync."
The Patriots weren't saying a lot about the Redskins, either. Other than a perfunctory compliment to the Washington secondary from both Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, much wasn't said either on Belichick's conference call with the Washington media nor his weekly news conference in Foxborough, Mass.
Belichick did say of Joe Gibbs: "To be compared or even mentioned in the same sentence with him is a huge compliment."