By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
There are strong indications that guard Randy Thomas could return from a lengthy absence to face Chicago tomorrow, and Coach Joe Gibbs is optimistic that others will be back from injuries, as well. Thomas is a dominant pulling guard and a linchpin in the running game, and his return could boost a struggling offensive line.
Thomas, who tore his triceps against Philadelphia on Sept. 17, stopped short of saying he definitely will play. "Mentally, I'm there," he said. "Physically, I'm there. And we've got to win this game. I can't wait."
Gibbs said of Thomas: "We had a good talk this morning and he kind of told me he feels good about it. We kind of let him come back at his own pace and everything and I think he's getting much closer to wanting to go."
Starting cornerback Shawn Springs, who injured his back in Sunday's loss to Buffalo, did not practice and will be reevaluated, Gibbs said, but the injury is not believed to be severe. "We think it's just a sore back and I think he's making preparations like he's going to go."
Fullback Mike Sellers (back) also returned to practice, as did wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (hamstring), but wide receiver James Thrash (high-ankle sprain) did not and could miss his fourth straight game.No Pushing Back the Game
Gibbs said he never gave strong consideration to asking the league to postpone tomorrow's game after the death of safety Sean Taylor. "I don't think it was an option," Gibbs said, believing the NFL would not comply in the absence of a precedent.
Bears Coach Lovie Smith, speaking on a conference call, said his organization was willing to go along if the game had been pushed back to the weekend. "Of course, we would have been open to anything that would have made the situation better," Smith said.Team Opens Locker Room
The Redskins opened their locker room at Redskins Park to reporters yesterday for the first time since Taylor's death. His locker is covered by plexiglass, left largely as it would be before practice. A framed photo of Taylor and his baby daughter, Jackie, is on one shelf, along with his equipment; his stool was placed inside the locker as well. A laminated item from Muscle & Fitness magazine, in which Taylor was cited as the NFL's strongest player at his position, was on a top shelf, as well. . . .
Gibbs said the organization was touched by the three-hour ceremonies at Taylor's funeral in Miami on Monday, which included a standing ovation directed at the Redskins at one point. "I don't think it could have gone any better," Gibbs said. . . .
With a short workweek, Gibbs said he and the coaches spent two days working around the clock to devise a game plan for the Bears. . . .
Former Redskin Adam Archuleta, who was benched much of last season after signing the biggest free agent contract ever for a safety, has lost his spot in Chicago's defense. The Bears acquired Archuleta for a sixth-round pick in the offseason, but now he is playing solely on special teams. "It's all based on production, and we go each week with who gives us the best chance to win," Smith said. . . .
The Redskins likely will avoid Chicago kick returner Devin Hester at all costs tomorrow. Hester is an explosive threat who single-handedly outperforms Chicago's offense some weeks. "I respect him tremendously," said Rock Cartwright, having a superior season himself. "He's probably the greatest kick returner I've seen in a long time."