The Washington Times - August 17, 2011, 08:34PM

Notes, quotes and observations from Wednesday at Redskins Park:

PR/KR Brandon Banks visited Dr. James Andrews to have his ailing left knee evaluated.


We should wait until hearing the prognosis before making any conclusions, but let’s consider the case of TE Chris Cooley, whose plight is similar to Banks’. Cooley recently visited Dr. Andrews, according to a source, because his knee continued to flare up after practicing. It wasn’t getting better, so now Cooley is rehabilitating and absent from practice entirely.

Now, a hypothetical: Let’s say Banks has to sit out like Cooley does. The question becomes how long of a hiatus is too long to save Banks a spot on the 53-man roster. It makes the receivers competition more interesting, no? You can bet a lot of receivers at the bottom end of the depth chart are eager to hear the timetable on Banks’ return.


The handful of Redskins who played their college ball for the University of Miami weren’t interested in talking about the mega-detailed Yahoo! Sports report about an improper benefits scandal. No surprise there.

If you haven’t read the report, it’s at least interesting for how thorough and complete the reporting is. From a journalist’s perspective, the scope of the report is beyond impressive.


The Redskins signed K Clint Stitser, a source confirmed. Stitser is expected to fill in against Indianapolis for K Graham Gano, who left practice early because his wife, Brittany, went into labor.

Coach Mike Shanahan recently said there were no kickers on the market good enough to compete with Gano, so Stitser might be around for only one game. However, the Redskins have the roster space available to keep him around longer, so we’ll have to see how that plays out.


Expect QB John Beck to play the whole first half against Indianapolis on Friday. Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said coaches want to ensure fairness in the competition between Beck and Rex Grossman. It’s Beck’s turn to play a half with the first string after Grossman did that against Pittsburgh.


The following players were either ruled out or are extremely doubtful for Friday: ILB London Fletcher (groin/hamstring), CB Josh Wilson (groin/hamstring), WR Malcolm Kelly (right foot), PR/KR Brandon Banks (left knee), RB Ryan Torain (left hand), TE Chris Cooley (left knee) and FS Oshiomogho Atogwe (hamstring).


Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will be without three of the four members of his starting secondary, but that’s OK by him.

“It’s a good chance to give us a good look at all those other guys,” he said. “I’ll give you, for instance, [rookie] S DeJon Gomes. You watch him in practice, here’s a guy that’s really kinda hesitant in practice his first week, when he wasn’t really sure, kinda learning a new spot.

“We kinda overloaded him playing dime, nickel; he’s doing a lot of different things, kinda scaled back and let him play safety. He goes out [against the Steelers] and has a sack, three tackles for losses, he does a great job. That’s what you get. It’s a good evaluation.”

Colts QB Peyton Manning (neck) won’t be in uniform to really test the youngsters in the secondary, but they’ll probably have their hands full anyway.


The Redskins spent today’s practice game-planning for Indianapolis against the scout team offense and defense, so there isn’t much action worth analyzing. However, the Redskins did pump crowd noise through speakers to get acclimated to what conditions could be like at Lucas Oil Stadium.


RB Ryan Torain (broken left hand) at least wore a helmet to practice and handled the ball a bit. He was back with the kickoff return group and catching passes on the side. It was the first time he has participated in practice since Aug. 3

“We’ll have to work him back into football shape, and hopefully for the last preseason game he should be ready to go,” Mike Shanahan said.


The Redskins’ first-string offensive line made quite the first impression on RB Tim Hightower in Friday’s game against Pittsburgh.

“They did a heck of a job,” he said. “I have no complaints. I didn’t know those guys could move like that. They take off running and they looked like they were on a mission. As a running back, it’s good for me to see them firing off the ball and excited.

“A lot of times as a running back, you really don’t know how your line is going to move and you have to wait. It allows me to hit the line full speed. I almost felt like I had to speed up on some of them. The center and guards got out there so much, they got the linebackers running. There were seams and lanes everywhere. When I see my linemen running and I know I got to catch up to them, I know we’re in business.”

I have a story on the line’s play in Thursday’s paper, and you can read it here.


Columnist Dan Daly wrote a cool piece about Australian P Sav Rocca. Check that out here.


The Redskins on Wednesday claimed OLB Thaddeus Gibson off waivers, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed. Pittsburgh and Chicago also put in claims for Gibson, according to The Times also reported that the Redskins cut college free agent linebacker Obi Ezeh.

Gibson was a respected pass rusher coming out of Ohio State in 2010, and Pittsburgh drafted him in the fourth round. The Steelers waived him in a numbers crunch, and he landed in San Francisco. The 49ers have since retooled their 3-4 defense a bit under new coach Jim Harbaugh.

Gibson seems like a practice squad candidate at this point, but if the Steelers or Bears really wanted him for their 53-man roster, that wouldn’t be an option for Washington.