Notes, quotes & observations: Buchanon; Hightower; bye week; etc.

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A few notes, quotes and observations on bye-week get-away day at Redskins Park:

CB Phillip Buchanon practiced with the team for the first time since the regular season began. His four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs has expired.

“It was an honest mistake,” he said. “Things happen. …I don’t want to talk about it.”

The Redskins have until Oct. 10 to make a corresponding move if they wish to reinstate Buchanon to their active 53-man roster. His status might be affected by the shoulder injury he suffered during the preseason finale. The time away helped him heal, though. He said he’ll spend the bye week in Ashburn receiving treatment at team headquarters.

“That looked pretty good today,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “He’s going to help us right away, and he can help our football team. I’ve got to check out here in the next couple of weeks what type of football shape he’s in and hopefully he can help us out against Philadelphia.”    

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CB Kevin Barnes played the slot in Buchanon’s absence. Recall that last season Carlos Rogers went inside to the slot against formations of three or more receivers and Buchanon played outside. The Redskins could slide CBJosh Wilson into the slot in three-receiver sets, put Buchanon on the outside and just make Barnes their fourth cornerback.

“He made a lot of plays for us last year, and he’s a guy that knows what’s going on,” CB DeAngelo Hall said. “To get him back is going to definitely add depth. He’s going to have KB and a lot of other guys scrambling to keep their positions, but we look forward to it.”

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RB Tim Hightower wanted to keep quiet the left shoulder injury he suffered in practice last week. Apparently he aggravated it early in Sunday’s game against St. Louis, and it affected his performance.

“I wasn’t 100 percent, and as much as I didn’t want to say that,” Hightower said. “I want to win and I don’t want to hurt my team.

“I’m not a very vocal guy when it comes to injuries because I tend to internalize things. I try to deal with it on my own first. I want to play football and I don’t want to be hurt. Players have to find that fine line between being honest with your coach and letting him know what’s going on because at a certain point you can’t be hurting your team.”

It’s easy to see why Hightower would want to play through his injury. When other players make the most of an opportunity—in this case RB Ryan Torain—future playing time is divided accordingly.

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The Redskins practiced Tuesday morning before embarking on their bye week plans. Shanahan gave them five days off. They’ll return to practice on Monday.

 “I’ve asked them to get at least a couple of days of running in and told them, ‘God is watching.’ We’ll have to go with the honor system,” Shanahan said. “We have guys that understand – we’re four games into the season and we have a lot to get done. I want their bodies to rest and mentally get away from football a little bit even though some may watch on the weekend. But when they come back Monday, they’ll be ready to go against Philadelphia.”

Shanahan noted on Monday that the bye week comes 72 days since training camp opened, and the team will resume practice with 84 days remaining in the regular season. That’s pretty close to the halfway point, even though we’re only through one quarter of the game schedule. That suits him fine. Because the lockout forced coaches to condense the process of installing the schemes, now is a good time to reset.

Shanahan also appreciates this week’s opportunity for players to refresh themselves mentally and be with their families.

“I think there is time for everything,” he said. “You have to make time, especially when you have kids and family. You better make time. Those are an important part of your life. I think as you get a little bit older, like I am now, and the kids are grown, it’s not as important, but now there are grandkids. It’s budgeting time and making sure you get a little bit of time for everything and have some priorities – you better make that a priority.”

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If you want to hear TE Chris Cooley talk about Dallas Cowboy QB Tony Romo’s “choke” against Detroit, go here.

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