Guard Keith Sims, who has missed the last two games with a sprained right knee, participated in the Washington Redskins' two-hour practice yesterday and appears ready to rejoin the lineup for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field.
Coach Norv Turner said that while Brad Badger has done fine during Sims's absence, it will be good to get Sims back for continuity's sake.
The Redskins' offensive line has been a strength of the team, providing sound protection for quarterback Brad Johnson and stout blocking for Stephen Davis, who rushed for 183 yards Sunday against the New York Giants to become the NFC's first running back with more than 1,000 yards (1,034) this season.
A change in the official statistics for Sunday's Redskins-Giants game credited New York linebacker Corey Widmer with a sack on Washington's final drive. With that, the offensive line has surrendered just 15 sacks on the season.
Johnson had one scary moment in the game, however. Pressured by defensive end Michael Strahan, he released the ball just as he was hit hard on his left knee, hurling a pass that was intercepted by safety Percy Ellsworth. Johnson said he thought for a moment that he had blown out his knee, which later swelled but has since returned to normal.
"I feel pretty good," Johnson said. "I take a lot of hits and bruises. There's a compound effect as the season goes on. Hopefully I can stay healthy."
While Turner said he was delighted with the line's performance, he said Johnson has helped keep the sack totals down.
"The sack thing is so deceiving," Turner said. "There were about four times Brad got rid of the ball--including the last throw to James Jenkins--where they should have been sacks. I like the numbers; I like no sacks. There were some plays I wish we would have handled better. But as well as we've blocked the run . . . we got 40 rushes, and that's what you look for."
Cook Remains a Starter
Defensive end Anthony Cook lined up with the starters in practice yesterday, despite a slight lower back strain, and will keep that role for Sunday's game against Philadelphia, Turner said. . . .
Tight end Stephen Alexander, who has been slowed by a hip flexor, did not practice yesterday and is expected to do little in today's abbreviated workout. As long as he can practice Friday, Turner said he expected to count on Alexander for Sunday. . . . Wide receiver Michael Westbrook's cast was downsized yet again in hopes of helping him catch and hang onto the ball despite the broken bone at the base of his right thumb. . . . Linebacker Shawn Barber (shoulder) had a limited practice but is expected to play Sunday.