- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 5, 2009

If any reserve newcomer for the Washington Redskins can sleep easy on the eve of final cuts, offensive tackle Mike Williams can.

Coach Jim Zorn repeatedly praised the reclamation project at his Friday news conference, which followed a 24-17 loss at Jacksonville on Thursday that concluded a 1-3 preseason. It doesn’t appear that Williams, who hasn’t played a regular-season down in almost four years, will have anything to worry about as the Redskins trim their roster Saturday from 75 players to 53.

“I think I’ve seen enough from Mike Williams,” Zorn said. “I really believe that Mike made it compelling for him to be a part of this football team. He played 50 plays [Thursday]. He [was] real powerful against their No. 2 defensive end.”

Zorn said he wasn’t nearly as pleased with how Williams and his fellow backups fared against the Jaguars’ starting front during the second quarter.

“We had a big challenge [Thursday] because our reserve linemen had to go against their starting defensive linemen,” Zorn said. “Those guys are very good players. You saw some problems when [fourth-string quarterback Chase Daniel] was first in there, the amount of time he had to throw. They weren’t up to snuff. But when you put one of those guys with our starters, they actually rise up. ”

Incumbent kicker Shaun Suisham may have held off challenger Dave Rayner after nailing a 48-yard field goal Thursday, but Zorn said making cuts will be more difficult than last year, when incumbent punter Derrick Frost and veteran offensive tackle Todd Wade were let go.

“Some [guys] made it very easy,” Zorn said. “Other guys I won’t mention made it a little bit harder. We may put ‘em on waivers hoping to get ‘em back on the practice squad. There are three or four scenarios where you say, ‘Here’s two guys; let’s talk about them.’ The backups take a while to really hone in on.”

Zorn said No. 3 quarterback Colt Brennan, who has been competing with Daniel, suffered only a bruised left knee and “a little tightness” in his left hamstring when trying to evade former Maryland defensive end Jeremy Navarre late in the game.

Brennan, who had a dreadful 17.6 passer rating in the first two preseason games, rallied to post a 76.4 rating in the last two and probably saved his job. Daniel, an undersized rookie free agent, played well in his two games, recording a 115.1 rating, but he is likely more of a candidate for the eight-man practice squad, which will form Sunday.

“That’s going to be another heavily discussed item on the docket,” Zorn said.

The Redskins also will have to weigh the known worth of Renaldo Wynn, 35, against the potential of Rob Jackson, 23, as a fifth defensive end; whether to keep speedy Dominique Dorsey as a return man and change-of-pace fourth running back; and whether journeyman Robert Thomas has the edge on rookies Cody Glenn, Darrel Young and Robert Henson as a sixth linebacker.

Notes - Zorn declined to name his No. 2 receiver, but Malcolm Kelly appears to have beaten out fellow second-year man Devin Thomas and incumbent Antwaan Randle El. …

Zorn said Anthony Alridge’s fumbled kickoff return that gave the Jaguars a touchdown didn’t ruin the swift running back’s hopes of winning a job. …

Tight ends Chris Cooley (thumb) and Fred Davis (hamstring) were surprise scratches Thursday, but Zorn said he expects them to be fine for the Sept. 13 opener at the New York Giants. Running back Clinton Portis (ribs), guard Randy Thomas (calf), defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (stomach), linebacker London Fletcher (foot) and cornerback Carlos Rogers (calf) are all on pace to start at the Meadowlands.

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