Defensive tackle Brandon Noble suffered a cartilage injury in his left knee during Thursday's practice and is listed as questionable for the Washington Redskins' season opener against Chicago tomorrow at FedEx Field.

Safety Ryan Clark (knee) and linebacker Chris Clemons (hamstring) missed practice again yesterday and will not play tomorrow, Director of Sports Medicine Bubba Tyer said. Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs (toe) practiced all week but is listed as questionable and Tyer said it will be a "coaches' decision" as to whether the long-injured player will be activated for tomorrow's game.

Noble missed all of the 2003 season due to reconstructive surgery on his left knee, but this injury is not related to that one, Tyer said. An MRI exam revealed a cartilage concern, but Tyer listed Noble as day-to-day. "We'll just watch it and see how he does," Tyer said. Noble missed much of the offseason and training camp with a staph infection in his knee but had recovered from that.

Clark and Clemons are expected to return to practice next week, Tyer said. Jacobs had been out of drills for a month before putting the pads on this week but progressed well in each session and is feeling good.

"I'm not perfect," Jacobs said, "but I'm close."

Jacobs entered camp as the third receiver, but that role now belongs to veteran James Thrash. Even if Jacobs is activated for the Bears game, he is unlikely to receive significant playing time because he missed all four preseason games.

Brunell's Supporting Role

Backup quarterback Mark Brunell was one of the team's stars in the preseason but says he firmly supports starter Patrick Ramsey.

"Patrick is a great guy and a very good player," Brunell said. "He's a good friend, and I think he's going to have a great year. The backup's role is to always be ready. That's the purpose of preseason, to get ready for the regular season, so I feel good about the games I had and the time I was in there." . . .

Offensive lineman Randy Thomas, who is known for his eating prowess, earned rave reviews for his grill work during a team barbeque at center Cory Raymer's house last weekend. "I don't talk about myself," Thomas said, "but you could say I've just been raised around good people and good cooks. I just like the environment of guys having fun and just eating and getting full and happy, because when you're full, there's a lot of love going on." . . .

Bears rookie quarterback Kyle Orton will be making his first NFL start tomorrow, but Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington remembers facing an unknown sixth-round pick when he was with Indianapolis, and cautioned against taking the youngster too lightly.

"We went to play the Patriots," Washington said, "and Drew Bledsoe just got hurt and some guy named Tom Brady comes in, and nobody knows who he is. Now the whole world knows who he is."