- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hunter Smith punted for the Indianapolis Colts for a decade and never missed a game. But Smith, who signed with the Washington Redskins in April, might miss this week’s game at Carolina with a pulled groin that sidelined him during the first quarter Sunday.

Coach Jim Zorn said Smith’s MRI was “decent.” Smith hasn’t been ruled out for the Panthers game, but the Redskins will work out punters Tuesday.

“It’s not severe, but it’s possibly going to keep him from [playing],” Zorn said.

The Redskins don’t practice on Mondays after victories, so Smith, like most players, was not made available to the media.

If the Redskins sign a punter, Zorn said he’ll use Smith this week only to hold for Shaun Suisham’s field goals and extra points. He also allowed for the possibility of having Suisham, who averaged a paltry 26.7 yards in Smith’s place on Sunday, punt again.

A league source said the Redskins were expected to work out a minimum of three punters Tuesday: Sam Paulescu, Glenn Pakulak and Waylon Prather.

Paulescu averaged 35.2 net yards last year for Dallas and Pakulak 37.8 net yards for New Orleans. Prather was most recently in Arizona’s off-season program but has no NFL experience.

If the Redskins add a punter, the likely candidate to come off the roster is Anthony Montgomery. The fourth-year defensive tackle was a healthy scratch in Week 1 and has been inactive since because of a balky left knee that could send him to injured reserve. Zorn said the team is weighing how soon Montgomery can recover.

Zorn said defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, who injured his left elbow against the Bucs, will be ready for the Panthers, as will running back Clinton Portis, who aggravated an ankle. Zorn said he expects Portis, who didn’t practice last week, to be on the field sometime this week.

Tryon supplants Smoot

Fred Smoot started at least eight games during his first eight seasons, but the 30-year-old cornerback was replaced by second-year man Justin Tryon as the nickel back against the Bucs.

While the swift but small Tryon (5-foot-9, 183 pounds) had four tackles (doubling his career total) and his first sack and hurry, Smoot didn’t make the stat sheet.

“[Justin] had a tremendous game,” Zorn said. “He played very tight coverage. It gives you confidence to be able to… track guys across the field. He was great when he came across the line of scrimmage to blitz, be a little more deceptive with our packages.

“He was very heads-up on some of the tackles. He put pressure on the quarterback. It was Justin’s opportunity, and he did well with it. Fred still has tremendous value as well.”

Neither Tryon nor Smoot was available to the media, but Reed Doughty, who just regained the strong safety job he lost to Chris Horton a year ago, said he believes Smoot will be back.

“Fred’s not done,” Doughty said. “I have no reservations that Fred will be critical for our success. We’re going to rotate people all year depending on situations, how people are playing. It kind of proves the depth that we have.”

Running back to visit

Former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Henry came to town Monday and will work out for the Redskins on Tuesday.

The Titans waived Henry on Wednesday. Redskins offensive coordinator Sherman Smith is familiar with Henry because he was Tennessee’s running backs coach when the back was a second-round pick in 2007. The 5-foot-11, 230-pound Henry ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie in relief of LenDale White and Chris Brown.

However, Chris Johnson was such a revelation as a rookie last year that Henry got into just one game and carried just once. Henry tied Adrian Peterson for the fastest 40 time (4.4) among running backs at the 2007 combine and has the weight to break tackles. However, his ability to see the proper holes was questioned in Tennessee.

The Redskins already have four running backs, so either Marcus Mason or recent signee Anthony Alridge would be jettisoned if they decide to sign Henry. If he doesn’t sign with the Redskins, Henry plans to attend a similar workout in Houston.

‘No apologies needed’

Quarterback Jason Campbell apologized to his offensive mates in the huddle before the next play after one of his career-high three interceptions.

“We said, ‘No apologies needed. Let’s go to the next play,’ ” center Casey Rabach said. “He kept battling back and threw two touchdowns. That shows the character Jason has. He keeps on playing and keeps on doing good things.”

• Staff writer Ryan O’Halloran contributed to this report.

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