Injuries Put Pressure on Receiving Corps

By Jason La Canfora and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Washington Redskins are in a bind at wide receiver, with James Thrash and Malcolm Kelly missing practice yesterday with ankle injuries. Thrash was not on the field at all, and Kelly tried to practice, Coach Jim Zorn said, but was unable to do so.

If they are unable to practice today, the Redskins strongly will consider activating one of their practice squad wide receivers, Devin Aromashodu or Horace Gant. The Redskins did not work out any free agent wide receivers this week.

Zorn said he does not know the severity of Thrash's high-ankle sprain, though he believes Kelly is making progress. That leaves rookie Devin Thomas, who has lagged in learning this offense, as the potential No. 3 wideout Sunday.

Zorn has said Thomas is fully comfortable running only deep routes at this point, but as the No. 3 wide receiver he would be on the field a lot. Zorn is hoping he is a quick study this week.

"The more reps he gets out here, the better he's learning," Zorn said.

The lack of depth at wide receiver also is affecting the return game. With Thrash hurting, special teams coach Danny Smith said Thomas, among others, could also have an increased role as a kickoff returner on Sunday against Arizona.

Starting wide receiver Antwaan Randle El is struggling as a punt returner, and Zorn said No. 1 wide receiver Santana Moss also probably will field some punts against Arizona. But those two are on the field a great deal in the base offense, and with few capable reserves behind them as Thomas and Kelly try to get up to speed.

"Every team has it's unique problem situations," Zorn said, "and this is one we are having to deal with."

Cooley's Mea Culpa

Washington tight end Chris Cooley apologized to his teammates yesterday for posting a revealing photo of himself with the Redskins' playbook Sunday on his blog.

Coach Jim Zorn posted the censored image in a meeting that kicks off preparations for the Arizona game and, as teammates laughed, Cooley said he was sorry and would never do anything similar again.

"It's just a matter of addressing the team, and now he has to move on from there," Zorn said. "There are some adult issues he has to live up to."

Cooley said Zorn was more concerned with his actions as a whole and not with the fact he displayed a page of the playbook, which is sacrosanct in NFL circles. There was no significant information on the page Cooley photographed.

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