Sure it was a badly underthrown pass to the left sideline, but it was the sight of No. 30 in red leaping into a crowd to grab the ball that was really important.
Washington Redskinssafety LaRon Landry practiced with his teammates Monday, his first work in team drills since injuring his left hamstring July 24. Landry, the team's first-round pick in 2007 and expected starter at free safety, ruled himself out of Washington's final preseason game Thursday against Jacksonville but remains optimistic about suiting up for the season opener Sept. 4 in New York.
"I don't really call that my first real practice," Landry said. "I was really just out here trying to get a feel for everything, so next week when I do really come out here and am full go, I'll already have the footing or whatever to see how it really felt."
Landry was not expected to miss an extended period of time when the injury first occurred, but he was unable to practice for a month and will miss at least the five preseason games. After being the No. 6 pick in the draft, Landry started every game as a rookie but moved from strong to free safety for the final seven games of the regular season and the playoff loss to Seattle.
Cornerback Shawn Springs has spent some time at the position in Landry's absence, and sixth-round pick Kareem Moore has started the past two exhibition games.
"He looked pretty good when I saw him," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. "It was good to see him running around a little bit. I don't know how much, how soon, but it was good to see him back running around a bit."
Coach Jim Zorn has said he hopes to have Landry at full speed by the end of this week. Landry said ready or not, he's going to try when the team starts to prepare for the Giants on Sunday.
"It felt real good [Monday]," Landry said. "I didn't really open it up. The things I did in my normal style of play, it felt real good. I didn't really push it to that level and see if I can sustain it. I was probably out there at about 93 percent."
Offense will play
Zorn said his first-team offense will be on the field for at least one series against the Jaguars on Thursday night.
On Sunday, the first-year coach mentioned it as a possibility and after further deliberation decided the group needed the work.
The Redskins' first-team offense played the entire first half against Carolina and produced only 49 yards and no points. Washington had more sacks allowed (four) than first downs (three) in the 30 minutes.
"I'm going to play that group in the first series and see how it goes but not much more than that," Zorn said. "Had they gone out there [against Carolina] and played with any kind of consistency, I probably wouldn't bring them back. They want to get back out there as well. They just want to anchor a little bit and not so much rip everyone a new one but work together cohesively as a group."
While the positive is the players can help forget about Saturday's debacle with a solid performance, the risk is exposing them to full contact seven days before the team opens the regular season.
It will be important for the group to play well but especially so for an offensive line that was badly beaten by Carolina's defensive front. And left guard Pete Kendall did not disagree with Zorn's comments about the line's pass protection being "soft."
"Even if I disagreed with him, I wouldn't do so publicly, but this isn't one of those times where I am biting my tongue," Kendall said. "There was obviously a lot that went wrong. The first place you have to start as a player is correcting the mistakes that we made as an individual and then everything else can take care of itself."
Blache said that some of the defensive starters will play against the Jaguars.
Two players released
The Redskins released linebacker Matt Sinclair and wide receiver Burl Toler, which puts them at the first roster limit of 75. They will have to release 22 more players by Saturday.
Sinclair has missed nearly two weeks with a back injury, and he was released with an injury settlement. He played in four regular-season games last year after beginning the season on the practice squad. Toler was with the team last preseason and was added to the practice squad on three different occasions.