Taylor Practices, Is Hoping to Play

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 10, 2008

Washington Redskins defensive end Jason Taylor practiced for the first time since undergoing surgery on his left calf, and said he hopes to get some snaps Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. Taylor still has stitches in his calf from the emergency procedure, done Sept. 22 to relieve compartment syndrome, and has some concern about re-opening that cut, but took a limited role in practice.

Taylor said he "did a little bit of everything" during practice, working on running and passing plays, and he was enthused to be practicing with his teammates. Now, he must see how the injury responds, but believes he can play.

"I think it is [realistic] for me right now," Taylor said after practice. "But we've got to wait to see what happens in the next 24 hours."

Taylor said the decision whether to play will not be his alone, with coaches and doctors also involved. Coach Jim Zorn has said that if Taylor can practice today without a setback, then he would dress against the Rams. Taylor, 34, said he has felt a little bit like "an outsider" in recent weeks, unable to participate in drills, and is eager to help the team win and build on his sack totals.

Zorn said the team could "wait until the last minute" Sunday to make decisions on several injured players.

Cornerback Shawn Springs (calf) showed quickness in practice, Zorn said, and Springs said he will play Sunday. Right tackle Stephon Heyer (shoulder) also took a limited role in practice, but Zorn is unsure of his playing status as of now.

Safety Reed Doughty (back) sat out all of practice again and is very doubtful to play, Zorn said. Linebacker Marcus Washington (hamstring) missed practice again and would have to show well in practice today to be able to play. Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (shoulder) was also out again, and he may not be able to play Sunday as well.

With Doughty likely out, Zorn said Springs could play safety in certain packages Sunday, especially in the three-safety set ("Cobra") alongside starters Chris Horton and LaRon Landry.

Campbell Really Holding On

Quarterback Jason Campbell, the player who handles the ball the most, is at the heart of the Redskins' dramatic turnaround. By any standard, his play has been stellar -- he is the only starting quarterback in the league without an interception -- and compared with a year ago his performance has been downright stunning.

Campbell was jokingly asked Wednesday if it is conceivable that he might never turn the ball over again. He chuckled and, although he is someone who says he is not superstitious, admitted to not wanting to think too much about the streak.

"I try not to focus on it," Campbell said. "I try to just go out and play and enjoy the game and just try to put my team in good situations. It's not just me, but the guys around me do a good job of protecting the football each week. You have to be conscious of it, but at the same time, we're just playing the game to win."

Campbell still says some of Zorn's quirky drills helped get the fumble-itis out of his system. He certainly seems to be sensing the pressure better, knowing when to get rid of the ball and when to hold onto it with both hands and take a sack.

Last season, which for Campbell ended when he suffered a knee injury Dec. 6, Campbell fumbled in five straight games, and lost a fumble in four of those games. He lost seven fumbles in his last seven games of 2007. He also threw six interceptions in that span.

That's 13 turnovers in his final seven starts, and eight turnovers in his final five starts of 2007. . . .

The Redskins waived (pending an injury settlement) linebacker Johnny Baldwin, who was on the practice squad and hurt his knee in practice Wednesday, and re-signed LB Curtis Gatewood to the practice squad. Gatewood was with the team in training camp.

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