The Washington Redskins enter their final week of preparations for the preseason with all but one of the starting jobs on their offensive line pretty much decided. Coach Norv Turner acknowledged today that veteran Keith Sims is close to sealing the starting left guard assignment. But the Redskins continue to have major concerns about the unit, since they still haven't solved their problem at left tackle.
Meanwhile, the Redskins are preparing to make a push over the next two weeks to try to make a major acquisition. Luring defensive end Chris Doleman out of retirement and trading for a wide receiver, probably either the Arizona Cardinals' Rob Moore or the Cincinnati Bengals' Carl Pickens, apparently are the leading possibilities. But the Redskins haven't given up on completing a deal for Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson, according to sources close to the situation.
The Redskins open the preseason Friday night at New England. One of their top priorities in training camp has been reworking the offensive line that surrendered a franchise-record 61 sacks last season, and they seem close to settling on a starting unit. Center Cory Raymer, right guard Tre Johnson and rookie right tackle Jon Jansen are set as starters. Turner said he expects Johnson, who suffered a sprained right knee during Friday's practice, to resume practicing on Monday.
Sims worked with the starting unit last week, moving ahead of Brad Badger, and Turner praised the former Pro Bowler today.
"He's done a real good job there," Turner said of Sims. "We have the luxury there that we have two guys that have started. Keith, the edge he probably has right now is that he's a little better pass protector than Brad."
Team officials began training camp expecting veteran free agent signee Andy Heck to win the starting job. But Heck, a Chicago Bears castoff, didn't play well in early practices, and Joe Patton has continued to work with the starters.
"They're competing, and no one has taken hold of it," offensive line coach Russ Grimm said.
Redskins officials would like to make some additions by midway through the four-game preseason. They're optimistic they will sign Doleman, who had 15 sacks last season for the San Francisco 49ers, and seem to be zeroing in on Moore and Pickens as trade possibilities.
Unless they get Anderson or another running back, the Redskins will enter the regular season with Skip Hicks and Stephen Davis slated to share duties at tailback. Most people in the organization seem to expect Hicks to be the starter, but Turner hasn't made anything official yet.
"We'll make a decision about who's going to start the New England game Thursday," Turner said. "Right now, I don't know if we could make a decision. We're going to use the four preseason games to help us make that decision."
Wilkinson Still Out
Turner said he doesn't expect defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, who suffered a sprained ankle last week, to practice this week or play against the Patriots. Turner indicated he's hopeful Wilkinson will resume practicing following the New England game. . . .
The Redskins worked out cornerback Wendell Davis today and may sign him in an attempt to bolster their special teams. . . . Wide receiver Nigel Williams, who is suffering from a strained groin muscle, likely will resume practicing by the middle of this week, Turner said.