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Plackemeier Steps In On Special Teams

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ryan Plackemeier participated in his first practice yesterday as the new punter for the Washington Redskins. He also worked with place kicker Shaun Suisham, as Plackemeier will be holding for field goals and point-after kicks.

Suisham doesn't kick much on Wednesdays -- Thursday is more of his kicking day -- but he and Plackemeier worked for a while on simulating kicks and establishing timing.

"He's a good punter, and he's been in the league for three years," Suisham said of Plackemeier. "I don't anticipate any issues whatsoever."

Plackemeier said he is comfortable holding -- there were a few issues in this regard with former punter Durant Brooks, a rookie -- and Suisham said he expects them to build a chemistry in short order.

"We just started to familiarize ourselves with each other, just getting used to working together," he said.

Plackemeier lost out in recent punting competitions in Minnesota and Green Bay. He battled injury in the preseason and was cut by Seattle after Week 1, but said he quickly began to look forward and had one of his best workouts Tuesday at Redskins Park.

Brooks was replaced after six games, during which he ranked last in the NFL in average yards per punt and net average.

"They thought they needed to make a change, and it's a business," Plackemeier said. "No hard feelings."

Green Expects to Play

With the Redskins short on safeties, newly added Mike Green said he expects to be active, at least on special teams, Sunday against Cleveland at FedEx Field.

The veteran safety agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum salary. He played six seasons with Chicago, including four when Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache held the same position with the Bears. Green said his knowledge of Blache's defense will work in his favor and help his transition.

Green also learned he isn't the only Mike Green playing professional sports in Washington -- there's also the star defenseman for the Capitals.

"Somebody Googled me once and said, 'Hey, do you play hockey?' " said the Redskins' Green.

Zorn Says Samuels Will Start

Redskins Coach Jim Zorn said Chris Samuels will start at left tackle Sunday, although he rested his sore knee at practice yesterday. Tackle Stephon Heyer (shoulder) took Samuels's reps at left tackle, his first full practice in quite some time, but Zorn is still unsure whether he will be able to start Sunday.

Running back Clinton Portis has a hip-flexor injury, and he sat out practice, but there is "no doubt" he will play Sunday as well.

Safety Chris Horton's status is uncertain for now because of a sprained ankle. Guard Pete Kendall was again given a day of rest, but will play Sunday.

The Redskins are also working rookie wide receiver Malcolm Kelly hard, trying to see how his sore knee will respond and if they will need to put him on injured reserve in the near future.

"I'm pushing Malcolm Kelly now," Zorn said. "We're going to find out [if he can overcome the injury]. We just have to." . . .

Sunday's game against the Browns will be a special one for a few Redskins. London Fletcher and defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery are Cleveland natives, and linebacker Khary Campbell is from Toledo. All have many Browns fans among their friends and family.

"My whole family roots for the Browns," Fletcher said. "Everybody."

Not this week, though, right?

"They're all pulling for us this weekend," Fletcher said.

Fletcher said he will have more family and friends attending the game at FedEx Field than usual this weekend, given the significance of the opponent.

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