At the start of yesterday's practice, Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell jogged from sideline to sideline while throwing passes to Tim Hasselbeck about 10 yards away. The drill, during which the quarterbacks run while whipping passes back and forth, indicated that Brunell has progressed since straining his left hamstring against the New York Giants on Sunday.
Brunell took roughly a third of the snaps, Coach Joe Gibbs said, making yesterday the quarterback's most active practice this week.
Brunell appears intent to play Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field, yet still feels soreness and tightness. And since Patrick Ramsey has taken most of the snaps this week, the question remains whether Brunell will be ready enough to start.
"I took a few reps, so it's an improvement from yesterday, which is good," said Brunell, who watched most of practice Thursday. "Ultimately, that's a coach's decision. We're taking this one day at a time. So we'll wait and see."
Brunell has grown weary of the media scrutiny of his progress. Early in the day, he half-jokingly pulled his baseball cap over his eyes when reporters approached.
Gibbs said, "We'll just continue to look at it and make a decision based off what we think." Gibbs added that he is uncertain if he will name a starter today. He said he doesn't intend to play Brunell if the 11-year veteran is still hobbling over the next 48 hours. "It's not a game that you play unless you're healthy," Gibbs said.
Linebacker Mike Barrow has the best chance of making his Redskins debut since suffering knee tendinitis in the first week of training camp, said one club source. And Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, said, "Hopefully, he gets a chance to play some snaps this game. That's what we're hoping."
That would be good news for the Redskins, who lost linebacker LaVar Arrington for two to four weeks because of arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Thursday. However, Barrow has looked ready for action in the past two weeks before regressing.
The Redskins signed linebackers Michael Brown and Steve Josue on Monday to provide depth at the position. Linebacker Courtland Bullard and tailback Brock Forsey visited Redskins Park this week but did not sign.
The Redskins aren't expected to make any major moves at linebacker or defensive end, where Ron Warner is projected to start Monday for the injured Phillip Daniels.
The NFL fined Arrington $5,000 for a tackle last week against Giants running back Tiki Barber. Arrington has 10 days to appeal. If he decides to do so, Arrington will be notified via a letter of the outcome. On the tackle, Arrington yanked Barber's face mask, but didn't draw a penalty, apparently because officials didn't notice. But the NFL fined Arrington after a routine film review of the game showed the infraction. . . .
Kenyatta Jones and Ray Brown have been splitting snaps at right tackle. Brown was a surprising starter over Jones last Sunday, but assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel hasn't made a decision on Monday's starter . . .
The Redskins made available a news release on a study by the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey saying that most American Indians don't find "Redskins" offensive. According to the study, 90 percent said the name does not bother them; nine percent were offended and one percent had no answer. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, 768 people, who said they were Native Americans, were polled from Oct. 7, 2003, to Sept. 20.