Redskins' Receivers Are in a Sore Spot

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wide receivers Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El missed practice again yesterday, leaving their status in doubt as the Washington Redskins completed preparations to face the Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow at FedEx Field.

Moss, who is listed as questionable, did not practice this week after suffering a heel injury in Sunday's 23-20 overtime victory over the New York Jets. Randle El aggravated a hamstring injury and missed the last two days of practice but is listed as probable.

After facing two AFC opponents in the New England Patriots and the Jets, the Redskins (5-3) had hoped to be at close to full strength for their game against the division rival Eagles (3-5). Washington is attempting to sweep Philadelphia in the season series for the second time in three seasons and win six of its first nine games for the first time since the 2000 season, so there's a lot at stake, Coach Joe Gibbs said.

"This is hugely important for us," Gibbs said after practice at Redskins Park. "I know how Philly is going to play; we talked about that. They beat us here last year and they beat us twice last year. We know what's at stake."

Washington is the league's only team whose wide receivers are without a touchdown reception this season. If Moss and Randle El miss the game or have reduced roles, the Redskins may look to Brandon Lloyd and James Thrash to do more.

Lloyd was prohibited from accompanying Washington to Giants Stadium to face the Jets because he missed a team meeting. Lloyd still is in the Redskins' plans, Gibbs said. Keenan McCardell and the little-used Reche Caldwell also may get more opportunities.

Even if Moss and Randle El are able to play, the timing of the passing game could be off because they haven't worked much recently with quarterback Jason Campbell and the first-unit offense.

"It does affect you," Gibbs said. "We made a decision a couple of weeks ago that if a guy can't go, we didn't want him out there trying to do it at half-speed because it does affect the timing. Jason has got to get sharp on stuff and guys running routes have to be full-go."

Campbell would rather have Moss and Randle El in the lineup, but the Redskins have enough depth at wide receiver to succeed without them, he said.

"We just have to go out with the guys we have," Campbell said. "And if they can't go, then they'll just be better for the next game."

Because of a groin injury, Moss sat out a 34-3 victory over the Detroit Lions on Oct. 7. He said he plans to test his heel in pregame warmups before deciding whether to play.

"It's a freaky thing," Moss said. "I've been bouncing back and getting my legs feeling fresh, and then I had a bum-heel incident. What could I do about it? That just lets you know it's life. You're going to deal with things and it's how you just deal with them."

Although pleased with the Redskins' success to this point, Moss has been frustrated by his performance. He rarely has been at full strength because of the injuries, and only has 24 receptions for 297 yards (a 12.4-yard average).

"I can beat myself up about it or just move on," said Moss, who set a franchise record with 1,483 receiving yards in 2005. "I've been learning how to do that pretty good this year, moving on, stop letting stuff bother me.

"But it's going to bother me because you want to be out there. . . . You depend on yourself in certain things. You have teammates that depend on you and you have a coaching staff that has given you what you have and they depend on you. It's frustrating. The only way you can get through it is to look for the brighter day."

Injury Report

Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, who was on the field for only two plays against the Jets because of back problems, practiced again yesterday and is listed as probable, but "it's still probably a game-time decision," he said. . . . Linebacker Marcus Washington, who missed three of the last four games because of a hamstring injury, increased his workload in practice for the third consecutive day and is listed as probable. . . . Cornerback Fred Smoot (hamstring) will be in the lineup against Philadelphia, he said. . . . Cornerback Carlos Rogers underwent successful knee surgery, a team spokesman said.

Staff writer Paul Tenorio contributed to this report.

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