It came as no surprise yesterday that the Washington Redskins said they will start quarterback Jay Schroeder, whose sprained right shoulder now is healthy, this Sunday against the New York Jets. Nor was it surprising that most of the other injured veterans returning to practice at Redskin Park after four weeks on strike looked healthy, too.

But when two highly regarded replacement players -- tight end Joe Caravello and H-back Craig McEwen -- were listed with the second string ahead of some veterans and were in a position to be activated to the 45-man roster Sunday, some of the veterans were surprised and others sounded angry.

"I'm being replaced," said Glenn Dennison, who started at H-back the first two games in place of the injured Clint Didier. "As long as the roster stays up, I'll be here. It's just a week-by-week thing. I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine. It's the business I'm in, I guess."

Backup tight end Cliff Benson (also previously on the second team), injured H-back Terry Orr and Didier declined comment as they walked off the practice field. Throughout the strike, many veterans said they did not want to play with replacement players on their team.

Caravello, who is 6 feet 3 and 270 pounds, signed with the replacement team as a defensive tackle but tried tight end the second day of practice. He impressed the Redskins coaches with his blocking so much that he has become Don Warren's backup at the blocking tight end spot, Coach Joe Gibbs said. The position has been a concern to the Redskins since Anthony Jones injured his knee late last season. Caravello almost certainly will be on the 45-man roster Sunday.

McEwen, who caught seven passes for 108 yards in Washington's 13-7 win over Dallas Monday night, practiced with the second team behind Didier yesterday. However, McEwen has been bothered by sore hamstrings, the coaches said, so the team also is considering activating Orr, depending on how he looks in practice today and Friday after suffering a deep shoulder bruise this summer. Orr also is a good special teams player.

The situation at Redskin Park yesterday was edgy. During the strike, several veterans said they didn't think any of the new players were good enough to make the roster. Yesterday they found out at least one, and perhaps two, will do just that.

"I know the veterans have said the last couple weeks {the replacement players} haven't been going against high-caliber people," said tight ends coach Rennie Simmons. "But we've seen enough of {Caravello} against enough of the veterans who have played in those games that we think he can do the job. We're confident of him so we're going to plug him into our plans.

"It's been explained to {the other players}. The one thing they've got to keep in mind is they're not only competing against the people we have on this team but against the 27 other NFL teams. We're going to take the best person that's available at each position. If somebody's out there who's available, we're not going to hesitate to bring him in and play him."

Warren and Didier, whose hamstring pull appears to have healed, are the starters. Benson and Dennison were late arrivals during training camp and their status was not as secure as some other players.

Caravello and McEwen both have played more games (3 to 2) as Redskins than Benson and Dennison. But Benson and Dennison joined players' workouts during the strike and were active in union activities.

There were no serious problems between the new and returning players in public. One player said meetings were much quieter.

"I'm sure there's been resentment because some of them had a job and now they don't," McEwen said of Benson and Dennison, adding that Dennison congratulated him on the Dallas game.

"Clint or Donnie haven't said anything to me yet. I can't blame them. I'm not going to hold it against them. Whether they hold it against me, that's up to them. I can't please everybody, but I'm going to do what I think is best for me. And I've got myself a job and I'm going to do my best to keep it."

Gibbs said Caravello and McEwen are likely to be the only members of the 3-0 replacement team to have a shot at playing with the regulars (4-1) against the Jets (3-2) Sunday at RFK Stadium.

"We've gone from being really hurt at tight end and H-back to being healthy there," Gibbs said. "We've been looking for a bigger kind of guy at tight end. Joe's a real good prospect. If we decide not to bring {Orr and Didier} back off injured reserve, {McEwen} would be the guy."

The Redskins have until 4 p.m. Saturday to make any free moves off injured reserve. If the strike helped the team heal and jump into the NFC East lead, it also gave the Redskins an unexpected reprieve on the injury list.

A team is allowed eight free moves from injured reserve during the regular season, and the Redskins, who lost five starters to injuries, appeared to need many of them even before the season started. Now, due to the strike, teams are allowed to make an unlimited number of free moves that don't count against their eight.

Players most affected by this are running back George Rogers (shoulder and toe), middle linebacker Neal Olkewicz (knee), offensive tackle Mark May (knee), quarterback Mark Rypien (back), wide receiver Clarence Verdin (hamstring), Didier and Orr. All the starters -- Rogers, Olkewicz, May, Didier and Schroeder -- were listed as probable (75 percent chance of playing) for this game.

Rogers practiced yesterday and said he wants to play Sunday, but unless there is no doubt his sprained left big toe is completely healed, Gibbs said he won't activate Rogers. "I'm kind of worried about his toe," Gibbs said. If Rogers can't start, Gibbs said he will open with Kelvin Bryant, who has not started a game as a Redskin.

Schroeder said his shoulder was 100 percent healed and that he could have played about two weeks ago. "Hopefully nobody will hit me where I got hit before," said Schroeder, who was injured on a hit early in the first game of the season.

Doug Williams replaced Schroeder and completed 35 of 57 passes for 470 yards and five touchdowns. He was the starting quarterback when the strike began, but he knew he wouldn't keep the job when Schroeder got well.

Gibbs called Williams at home Tuesday night to tell him Schroeder was going to start, Williams said. "There was no doubt in my mind he would be healthy now," Williams said.

Asked if he was hurt even more than other players by the strike, Williams said, "In the strike, we gave up money and playing time. It just so happens I gave up a lot of both."