The Washington Redskins’ banged-up secondary was well represented when the squad launched into practice in earnest Thursday for Monday night’s game at the Philadelphia Eagles. But it’s unclear whether any will be available for the all-important rematch with their division rival.
Starting cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland suited up to join their teammates for the initial phase of practice at Redskins Park, but Norman, who fractured a rib in the Oct. 2 loss at Kansas City, didn’t do one-on-one drills. Breeland, who had to be helped off the field after injuring his left knee in Sunday’s victory over San Francisco, tried defending wide receiver Jamison Crowder on one route but eased up and jogged along behind after coaches yelled at him to stop.
Coach Jay Gruden classified both as “limited” following the two-hour practice, along with safety Deshazor Everett (hamstring).
Also making an appearance was veteran safety DeAngelo Hall, 33, who had been on the team’s physically unable to perform list to start the season after his 2016 campaign ended when he tore an ACL in the Week 3 victory at the New York Giants. Under NFL rules, Hall has 21 days to practice before the Redskins must decide whether to keep him on injured reserve or put him on the 53-man roster.
“He looked good today,” Gruden said of Hall, a former cornerback whom the coach said would remain at safety if he returns. “A little rusty, but I think he’s got a chance.”
Monday’s game has major implications in the NFC East race. The Eagles (5-1) hold a commanding lead in the standings, with the Redskins, at 3-2, in second. If they can split with the Eagles, who trounced them, 30-17, in the season opener, the Redskins would remain in contention for the division title.
“They’re 5-1, and we’re 3-2. Just do the math,” Gruden said. “If you look at 3-3 and 6-1 and we’ve lost to them twice, that’s a big difference. [If we are] 4-2 and [the Eagles are] 5-2, we’re right there in the thick of things as far as the NFC East is concerned.”
Secondary play will be critical in Monday’s game.
Led by second-year quarterback Carson Wentz, the Eagles offense ranks among the NFL’s top 10 in every major statistical category — including first in third-down percentage and time of possession; third in yards per game; and ninth in passing yards per game.
Norman said his limited return Thursday “felt fine” but gave no indication of his likeliness of playing Monday.
“In some movements, I can feel [pain]; in some movements, I didn’t,” Norman said. “It’s a pain tolerance, so obviously that has a lot to do with it and just how you turn and work your body. I know how to play, so I’m trying to be cautious in that area.”
With Norman out and Breeland sidelined in the third quarter, the Redskins got impressive play last week from backup corner Quinton Dunbar, who started alongside Breeland; third-year cornerback Kendall Fuller, who shifted from the slot to outside on some plays and nearly stepped in at safety; and rookie Fabian Moreau.
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