Some notes, quotes and observations from Wednesday at Redskins Park:
SS LaRon Landry (hamstring) was limited in practice. He said afterwards that practice went “great,” but we don’t know what exactly he did.
Landry hasn’t tested his hamstring at full speed since Labor Day weekend, and he won’t test it again until Friday or Saturday. Until then, all the talk about his participation in Monday night’s game is just speculation.
OLB Brian Orakpo so eloquently stated what getting Landry back would mean to the Redskins’ defense.
“It’s like ketchup on a burger,” he said.
CB Josh Wilson (head/neck/back) was limited in practice. “I’m feeling better,” he said before practice. “Definitely a little sore. I’ll do everything I can.”
S DeJon Gomes (hamstring) did not practice. The Redskins don’t have to release an official injury report until Thursday.
CB DeAngelo Hall is aware of the Cowboys’ extensive injuries entering Monday night’s game, and he plans to add to their pain. QB Tony Romo’s fractured rib and punctured lung are the top of his list.
“I want to get a chance to put my helmet on whatever is hurting, Romo’s ribs,” Hall said. “I’m gonna be asking for some corner blitzes. If I know [running back] Felix Jones’ shoulder is hurt, I’m not gonna cut him. I’m going to definitely try to hit him up high.
Hall might meet some significant resistance going after Romo. ESPN is reporting that the Cowboys have fitted him for a protective vest that contains Kevlar, the substance used to make bulletproof vests.
The Cowboys are expected to be without WR Miles Austin (hamstring). WR Dez Bryant (quad) missed last week’s game and might play.
“That’s just part of it,” Hall said. “If you know something is wrong with an opponent, you’re gonna try to target in on that. We’re going to try to definitely get as many hats on all those guys as possible.”
DE Stephen Bowen got some good news Wednesday as he prepares to play his former team. His prematurely-born son, Stephen III, now weighs six pounds, five ounces. If all goes as planned, he’ll leave a northern Virginia hospital on Friday.
“To see him fighting,” Bowen said, “it was a long road.”
When Bowen left his old home in Dallas for training camp with the Redskins, Stephen III weighed around two pounds. The change has been dramatic.
“There’s nothing like seeing him in person,” Bowen said. “It’s a totally different thing.”
Coach Mike Shanahan appreciates Bowen’s focus during such a tumultuous time in his personal life.
“You’re talking about somebody who is mentally tough,” Shanahan said. “He’s so tight with his family and cares so much about his family. For him to be able to do what he’s doing about it is just amazing in itself. I take my hat off to him and it sounds like the baby is doing well and should be back maybe Friday. I know that means a lot to him like it does the rest of the team.”
Bowen provided his scouting report on his friend and former teammate OLB DeMarcus Ware.
“He studies a lot of film,” Bowen said. “He tries to find out the weaknesses of the person he’s going against. He’s naturally fast and strong. When I was there, he was pound-for-pound the strongest person on the team. You never know what you’re going to get, if he’s going to beat you around the corner or he’s going to try to power through.”
LT Trent Williams sometimes has difficulty matching up when a rusher changes his approach. He’ll have to always be ready for the bull rush and the speed rush against the NFL’s current sack leader. That means maintaining a sound base so he can adjust and recover, abilities of his that usually stand out on the practice field but don’t always in the game.
Faking injuries is a hot topic in the NFL this week after the St. Louis Rams accused the New York Giants of doing it during Monday night’s game. Mike Shanahan’s take on the subject was interesting.
“It happens,” he said. “It really is hard to police… I can’t say I have [instructed a defense to fake an injury] and I can’t say I haven’t either.” He smiled mischievously, and he and the assembled media laughed.
“The thing that’s interesting, and you’ll see it through the years, is that not only that teams will be behind by seven, eight or nine points and five minutes left and guys will start going down then. People will forget the 40-second clock or the 25-second clock. Through the years, you’ve seen it all, but the competition committee will look at it and things should be adjusted very quickly.”
Players faced countless questions on Wednesday about the rivalry with the Cowboys. And considering the Redskins are 2-0 and the game is on Monday Night Football, the hype is bordering on overkill, especially for this early in the season.
I loved how rookie RB Roy Helu, a California native with no ties to the rivalrly, answered a television reporter’s long question about his awareness of the rivalry with the Cowboys, the tradition encompassed in the game and if teammates were educating him about it.
“No,” he deadpanned.
Ha! Helu is a quiet, down-to-earth guy. He isn’t one for hype.
For the players, I get the sense Monday is important because it’s a division opponent and on national TV. Redskins-Cowboys means more to the fans than those playing the game. Still, the atmosphere should be electric.
“There’s going to be a lot of fights after the whistle,” CB DeAngelo Hall said. “It’s going to be a lot of taunting going on. That’s what you get when the Cowboys and the Redskins play.”
QB Rex Grossman isn’t sweating the six passes that Arizona batted down last Sunday.
“They did a hell of a job doing that, not rushing and having 6-foot-8 guys just waiting to jump,” he said. “Nothing I can do about that. It’s not been an issue in my career. Some teams are just better than others at that.
Grossman doesn’t believe his height (he’s listed at 6-1) is a factor.
“It’s almost like they were dropping eight into coverage at times when they would try to rush and they wouldn’t instantly win and they’d back up and try to time it up. Six-foot-8 D-tackles with long arms right in front of the checkdown, what are you going to do? In my opinion, you’d have to be 7-foot to throw over that.”
I highly recommend listening to the Spanish radio broadcast of Larry Fitzgerald’s 73-yard touchdown against the Redskins on Sunday.
(Staff writer Nathan Fenno contributed to this report.)