By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, September 1, 2008
Despite having a broken bone in his left hand, wide receiver Antwaan Randle El expects to start Thursday when the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants in the NFL season opener at Giants Stadium.
"It's doing good," said Randle El, who plans to wear a protective brace in the game. "We're going to protect it as much as we can in practice, but it's nothing that's going to hold me out."
The Redskins only have five wide receivers on the 53-man roster: Randle El, top wideout Santana Moss, No. 3 wide receiver James Thrash and rookie backups Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. Thomas -- the Redskins' top draft pick -- struggled throughout the preseason and Kelly, still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, sat out the preseason. Coach Jim Zorn has said he does not expect Thomas or Kelly to contribute early in the season and that Kelly's knee problems are such a concern that the team has considered putting him on injured reserve, which would end his season. Zorn figures Kelly will be out two more weeks.
Washington cut wide receiver Billy McMullen, who led the team in receiving in the preseason and was among the players coaches praised often. "We were kind of like, 'Well, are we going to keep one of the other guys?' But we're only keeping five," Randle El said. "Let's roll, Big Three."Mason Gets a Job
His former Redskins teammates were pleased to learn that running back Marcus Mason, a former standout at Georgetown Prep, had been signed to the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad, according to Mason's agent. Mason, who led the Redskins in rushing in the preseason, was cut Saturday as the Redskins trimmed the roster to the 53-man limit.
"He's got enough talent to play in the NFL," top running back Clinton Portis said. "You feel bad about it [Mason being cut] because [you're] going to miss him as a teammate. I think he was a great guy to have as a teammate. He was a funny guy. He kept our position room laughing.
"You get him on a roster, with enough time to learn a system to where he gets the ball in his hands in the game, all of a sudden he [is] going to make plays and making plays [is] going to make him money. I think this is really going to work out well for him."
Said quarterback Jason Campbell: "He's a talented guy. You know somebody like that won't be out there long."M. Washington Is Healthy
Linebacker Marcus Washington was jumping around the locker room like his old self, shouting and singing yesterday. It was clear that he was not too worried about the hip problem that led to him sitting out a few games, but this was final confirmation.
Washington said he is ready to go full blast in practice and Thursday. "It was just a precaution," Washington said of his time off. "I feel great. I'm ready to go." . . .
Rookie punter Durant Brooks said he had some jitters as he waited to see if he would make the final roster, and was obviously pleased by the outcome. Brooks beat out incumbent Derrick Frost for the job. "I was a little nervous, but I try to think of it as I've done everything I possibly could," Brooks said. "It was up to the coaches and the front office to make their decision. I tried to relax during my time off [this weekend], and it was up to them."
Frost, who criticized the organization after being cut Saturday, sent an e-mail yesterday, saying in part: "I very much appreciate the opportunity to put in greater perspective my comments in response to being released by the Redskins yesterday. As much as I regret them, the quotes don't reflect my appreciation for this area, my teammates, the world-class Redskins fans, or the unique tradition the Redskins have built in this region over several generations. It is an honor to have played for this organization and before these great fans for over three years, and I can only hope for a similar experience with my next team." . . .
Jason Taylor, who is out with a sprained knee/bone bruise, worked before practice with trainers but did nothing on the practice field. He seems unlikely to play, but Zorn said the team will evaluate him right up through Thursday's warmups before making a final call.. . .
Rookie safety Kareem Moore missed practice with a hamstring injury, and is day-to-day, while LaRon Landry did extra work and stretching after missing all of camp with a hamstring problem. "He showed me he's either ready, or near 100 percent," Zorn said. . . .
The players elected offensive, defensive and special teams captains today: Campbell and Chris Samuels (offense), London Fletcher and Cornelius Griffin (defense) and Rock Cartwright and Khary Campbell (special teams). . . . Players named to the practice squad yesterday were: Byron Westbrook, Horace Gant, Andrew Crummey, Matterral Richardson, Tyler Ecker, Curtis Gatewood, Devin Clark and Nehemiah Broughton.