Jansen set to start in place of Heyer

Right tackle Jon Jansen likely will be in the starting lineup for the first time since the 2007 regular-season opener when the Washington Redskins visit the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Stephon Heyer returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday’s session, but the left shoulder he sprained in the Week 3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals wasn’t 100 percent.

“I think Jon will probably start,” offensive line coach Joe Bugel said. “Stephon didn’t look real good in practice because his shoulder was bothering him. I have tremendous trust in Jon. He’s played against Dallas so many times.”

Coach Jim Zorn said Heyer is questionable for the game, but his status could be decided as soon as Friday.

“He’s got his range of motion back, but [his shoulder] is very sore,” Zorn said.

Jansen, Washington’s starter the previous nine seasons, broke his right leg and dislocated his right ankle in the 2007 regular-season opener against the Miami Dolphins and missed the rest of the season. Heyer, a rookie free agent, started six games in his place. Veteran Todd Wade started the other 10 games but was one of the final cuts this summer. Zorn surprised Jansen by benching him for Heyer before the team’s Week 1 game at the New York Giants.

Fullback Mike Sellers (thigh) returned to practice Thursday and should play in Dallas, as will cornerback Fred Smoot, whose hip is still bothering him. However, rookie receiver Malcolm Kelly, who missed the entire preseason and the regular-season opener with hamstring and knee injuries, is slowly recovering from the sprained ankle he suffered against New Orleans in Week 2 and won’t play against the Cowboys.

Up in the air at safety

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache wouldn’t say whether third-year man Reed Doughty or rookie Chris Horton, the NFC defensive player of the week in Week 2, will start at strong safety. Blache benched Doughty for Horton last week after Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald beat him for a 62-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.

At first, Zorn said the starter for the Dallas game wouldn’t be announced until game time, but later in his media session he referred to Doughty as the starter. Doughty and Horton both said they didn’t know who would start.

“Both guys are going to be in there [a lot],” Zorn said.

Back to double duty

Last season, reserve defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander also played as an extra offensive lineman in goal-line and short-yardage situations.

Alexander had focused solely on defense this year until Sunday, when he joined the jumbo package on Jason Campbell’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Todd Yoder in the third quarter.

“I’m just helping where I can,” Alexander said.

Williams won’t play

Pro Bowl safety Roy Williams won’t play against the Redskins because of a fractured right forearm he suffered in the third quarter against Philadelphia in Week 2. Neither will guard Kyle Kosier, who reinjured his right foot in Sunday’s victory at Green Bay. And fullback Deon Anderson will be sidelined with a knee injury. Patrick Watkins, Cory Procter and Tony Curtis, will start in their respective places.

About the Author
David Elfin

David Elfin

David Elfin has been following Washington-area sports teams since the late 1960s. David began his journalism career at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., history) and Syracuse University (M.S., telecommunications). He wrote for the Bulletin (Philadelphia), the Post-Standard (Syracuse) and The Washington Post before coming to The Washington Times in 1986. He has covered colleges, the Orioles ...

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