Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson said Monday he intends to play on Sunday at the New England Patriots, proclaiming himself “good to go” nearly two months after straining his left hamstring in the Sept. 13 season opener.
“Everything is a green light,” Jackson said after joining his teammates for what Coach Jay Gruden called a “bonus” practice Monday at Redskins Park.
Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl honoree, is the squad’s speediest wide receiver and led the NFL last season with his 20.9 yards-per-catch average.
But while running down the second ball thrown his way this season, he pulled up abruptly in the first quarter of the eventual loss to Miami. The injury was initially projected to sideline him three to four weeks.
Jackson made a limited return to practice in mid-October but halted the workout upon feeling a twinge in the hamstring.
In Jackson’s absence, the Redskins’ passing game has grown conservative and predictable — particularly during the two games that tight end Jordan Reed also missed. And the running game has suffered as a result. With defenses not overly worried about defending deep throws, opponents are devoting more attention to stopping the run.
Ideally, Jackson’s return will complicate matters for the Patriots, who are allowing just 19 points per game.
With NFL teams not required to disclose injury information until mid-week, Coach Jay Gruden didn’t provide an update on Jackson’s status or that of the team’s other injured starters: Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver; center Kory Lichtensteiger and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.
Jackson was the only one among them who stated unequivocally that he expects to play against the 7-0 Patriots.
Kerrigan, who practiced with a hard cast on the back of his right hand that left his fingers mobile, said he wanted to play Sunday but that the decision would be based on whether could be an effective pass-rusher despite the limitation.
Hall, who suffered a partially torn toe ligament in Week 3, echoed the thought, saying that wanted to play but that it would come down to a question of effectiveness.
“It’s day by day, trying to see what I can do,” Hall said. “When you’re a defensive back, you’ve got to use those toes to push off. It’s not like I’m an O-lineman or safety, where I can get away with making some awkward-style cuts. I got to really be able to plant on a dime. That’s what has really been holding me up.”
Second-year player Bashaud Breeland, who has emerged as the defense’s chief play-maker in the absence of Culliver and Hall, remains sidelined by the hamstring injury he suffered in the 31-30 victory over Tampa Bay. Breeland worked with a trainer on the side field Monday and said he had no idea of whether he’d be able to play against the Patriots.
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