Redskins Still Waiting for Rookie Wide Receivers to Break Out

Devin Thomas followed Jason Campbell to the end zone for his first touchdown last week, but the rookie wideout has only 11 receptions.
Devin Thomas followed Jason Campbell to the end zone for his first touchdown last week, but the rookie wideout has only 11 receptions. (By Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)
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By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, December 8, 2008

BALTIMORE, Dec. 7 -- With three games remaining in the regular season, the Washington Redskins still are waiting for rookie wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly to become consistent playmakers.

"Malcolm and Devin, we brought 'em here for a reason," offensive coordinator Sherman Smith said. "We need them to get it done. You see some signs here and there, you see some things you feel good about, but it all comes down to making plays in the games. That's what it's all about."

Through Washington's first 12 games, Thomas had 11 receptions for 77 yards and no touchdowns (he scored on a 29-yard reverse in a Week 13 loss to the Giants). Kelly, who has missed eight games because of knee problems, had three catches for 18 yards and no touchdowns.

Thomas had three receptions for 26 yards in Sunday night's 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Kelly was held without a catch.

Thomas has continued to make mistakes in route running that have frustrated coaches. Against the Giants, Kelly dropped a pass that could have resulted in a big play. Head coach and play-caller Jim Zorn has continued to include packages of plays for Kelly and Thomas in game plans each week, but "Coach has to be able to trust players," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "You've got to be able to know that people are going to line up in the right spots and do the right routes and do everything because that's based on some of your play-calling. And if the ball comes your way, you've got to take advantage of your opportunities."

Kelly said he has not experienced knee pain recently and is "getting more and more comfortable every day with everything. When you're not out there, you can get all the mental reps, but it's not the same thing. You need to be in the game."

Springs Sits Again

Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs missed his seventh game this season because of injury, sitting out Sunday night's game in Baltimore because of a recurring calf injury. Springs had just come back from the injury to play in the past two games, but the calf tightened up on him last Sunday and he missed practice this past week.

With Springs gone, Carlos Rogers moved back into the position of playing inside in nickel situations. The Redskins parted with Spring's primary backup, Leigh Torrence, when they signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Rogers has limited experience in that role -- which becomes heightened on third downs -- but performed well when thrust into it against Dallas last month.

The Redskins were also without injury-prone linebacker Marcus Washington for the third straight game, and fifth time this season. Washington is suffering from a high-ankle sprain and has not practiced in three weeks.

Starting defensive tackle Kedric Golston missed his second straight game with bone spurs in his ankle. . . .

The healthy group of inactive players was largely the same as it has been much of this season. Offensive linemen Jason Fabini and Chad Rinehart, a third-round pick, were scratched, as was defensive end Erasmus James and rookie tight end Fred Davis, a second-round pick. . . .

Olympic star Michael Phelps was part of the record crowd of 71,438. . . . Clinton Portis moved into second place on the Redskins career rushing list with 5,876 yards. . . . Terrell Suggs got a sack to move into second place on the Ravens' career list. He has 56 1/2 , trailing only Peter Boulware (70).

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