- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Washington Redskins have a clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver, Santana Moss, and a top-flight tight end, Chris Cooley.

Nothing dispelled that in the first half of Friday’s preseason game against New England at FedEx Field. Facing the Patriots’ regulars, Moss had five catches for 56 yards and Cooley had two receptions for 87 yards, including a 73-yard play.

The question is who will emerge as the No. 2 wideout. Moss is small, and the Redskins want more size at the position. They would love to see Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas, second-round draft picks in 2008 who struggled last season, step up and displace the experienced but undersized (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) Antwaan Randle El.

It’s still up for grabs.

The 6-4, 227-pound Kelly had the upper hand on the Redskins’ first possession with a 12-yard catch that included a nifty move on cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (who later picked off a Colt Brennan pass and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown). Then Kelly drew a 23-yard pass-interference penalty in the end zone that set up Marcus Mason’s 1-yard touchdown run.

But Kelly ended the half with just the one catch. The 6-2, 215-pound Thomas, meanwhile, had receptions of 11 and 9 yards on the Redskins’ touchdown drive at the end of the first half, and a 16-yard catch early in the second half with the Patriots’ starters still in the game.

Thomas also subbed for the injured Rock Cartwright and returned kickoffs for the first time, averaging 26 yards on three returns.

Randle El, meanwhile, had one catch for 7 yards. Probably the most impressive catch by a wideout was Marko Mitchell’s 33-yard touchdown reception from Brennan in the third quarter. Mitchell could make the team as the fifth receiver.

Kicking battle

As for the kickers, incumbent Shaun Suisham failed to put any distance between himself and newcomer Dave Rayner.

Rayner, who signed as a free agent in February and hasn’t had a starting job in two years, booted the opening kickoff to the goal line. A penalty wiped out the play and sent Rayner 5 yards back, but he kicked the do-over to the 3-yard line. His next two kicks went to the 2 and the 8. He also booted a 25-yard field goal and two extra points.

Suisham, 26-for-36 in field goal attempts last year, missed a 52-yard try that would have broken a 24-24 tie. His one kickoff went to the New England 4.

Springs a no-show

Former Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs was looking forward to meeting with some old friends and teammates, but the Patriots cornerback did not make the trip.

As per team policy, the Patriots did not reveal the nature of Springs’ injury, who missed practices Wednesday and Thursday.

Springs, 34, started for the Redskins the past five years but was cut for financial reasons and to give the younger DeAngelo Hall more playing time. He signed with the Patriots in February.

Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache, who called Springs “one of my all-time favorite people,” said he was “very proud to have been associated with him.” He said he was planning to give him a “big hug.”

Springs, who starred at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring before going on to Ohio State, missed 14 games the past three years. He prepped his teammates this week on the Redskins’ tendencies.

“He’s given guys pointers and things like that from what he saw over in Washington,” cornerback Leigh Bodden said. “He’s trying to help the guys any way he can to let us play well against them.”

Injury report

Backup safety Kareem Moore (hamstring) and reserve running back Marcus Mason (bruised ribs) were the only reported injuries.

Repercussion push-ups

The Redskins’ cornerbacks are enforcing new discipline for dropped interceptions during practice. Anyone who fails to catch a ball has to drop and do 10 push-ups.

“Hopefully that translates to the games and we get some more turnovers,” said Hall, who has the best hands of the group.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide