The Washington Redskins may have to go against what Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, described yesterday as "the best offensive football team we've played to date" without starting left cornerback Walt Harris, who missed another full day of practice for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks with a sore left calf.
Carlos Rogers, the team's first-round draft choice, likely will start in Harris's place unless Harris shows marked improvement before the 1 p.m. kickoff at FedEx Field. Williams said the team was taking the "conservative approach" on Harris's injury and reiterated that it's difficult to use players in games who are unable to practice during the week.
Harris, still listed on the injury report as questionable, said his calf was "not progressing as fast as I'd like, but I'm trying to stay optimistic about it."
Williams declined to say that Rogers will start, saying "we've got 25 starters" but that the rookie likely will be used in more defensive packages. "He'll be ready to roll," Williams said. "Carlos has done very well in training camp, in packages and roles we've asked him to play. He's as fast [a learner] as anyone I've ever coached."
Backup safety Pierson Prioleau (hamstring) also missed another day of practice yesterday and remained questionable for Sunday.
No More Free Pass
Running back Clinton Portis would like to think that the Redskins' two big-play passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter of the comeback victory over Dallas may force teams to pay more attention to Washington's passing attack and perhaps put fewer men at the line of scrimmage to stop the run.
"Now you know that you can't stick everyone in the box," Portis said yesterday. "Now we have that. Last year we didn't have it all year long. People know what we're capable of doing. If you don't [pay attention to the deep ball], it's only a matter of time before Santana [Moss] and David [Patten] get behind the corner."
Novak Likely to Get Kicks
Kicker Nick Novak, the rookie from Maryland, said he had not officially been told that he'll handle the placement chores Sunday, but Coach Joe Gibbs said after practice he does not think John Hall will be ready to play because of a sore quadriceps that sidelined him Sept. 19 in Dallas.
"I'm pretty certain I'll be kicking," Novak said on a day when Hall kicked 18 balls in a morning session and still reported soreness in his leg.
Novak has been with three teams this season, starting out with the Chicago Bears in training camp before being cut in favor of veteran Doug Brien. He spent a few days in the Cowboys' camp as well before being cut there and was working out at his home in West Lafayette, Ind., when the Redskins called.
Noble Contemplates Future
Veteran defensive tackle Brandon Noble, who was placed on injured reserve last week with knee cartilage damage and a bone bruise, said he'll make a decision on whether to retire early next summer. He'll spend the rest of the season helping coach the defensive line.
Being put on injured reserve after arthroscopic surgery on an injury that might have taken four to six weeks to heal was "a bummer," he said, "but it was the right thing to do for me and for the team. I'll make a decision over the summer. My wife and I have a couple of months to think about it, so we'll see."
Noble missed the entire 2003 season after a preseason injury that required total knee reconstruction but played well last season, appearing in all 16 games and making seven starts.