- The Washington Times - Friday, October 25, 2002

The Washington Redskins are growing increasingly pessimistic that left tackle Chris Samuels and right guard Brenden Stai will be able to play Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts.

Young Alex Sulfsted could make his first NFL start in place of Samuels, who is nursing a sprained ankle and a shoulder stinger. And for a second week in a row, Wilbert Brown could fill in for Stai, who has knee tendinitis.

Newly signed Tre Johnson appears likely to see time at right guard, too. The key issue with Johnson who ultimately could supplant Stai, pushing him to left guard is conditioning. Johnson simply isn't in shape to play a whole game.

Coach Steve Spurrier said Johnson will be active Sunday and "may play quite a bit." Line coach Kim Helton is hoping that Stai will be able to play but otherwise plans on starting Brown and not making a decision about Johnson.

"If Tre plays, it will be in a support role," Helton said. "He has a good want-to. He wants to play. He's heavy, has some thud. He seems to have some pass-[protection] skills. And like any of us that hasn't done anything for two months, he's out of shape."

Samuels' health hasn't improved much, but Helton is holding out hope for the Pro Bowl tackle, too. Samuels began the week thinking that he might miss practice but certainly would play against the Colts. Yesterday, after missing a second straight day of workouts, he said, "I don't know what will happen right now. I'm about the same."

Sulfsted filled in capably last weekend at Green Bay in his first real NFL playing time, coaches said. The 2001 sixth-round draft choice by Kansas City Washington claimed him off Cincinnati's practice squad a year ago tomorrow would have a stiff challenge Sunday against talented Colts defensive ends Chad Bathe and Dwight Freeney, who have three sacks apiece.

"I feel confident that I'll be able to get the job done," said Sulfsted, who stayed after practice for individual work with coaches. "They are really good pass-rushers, but I've been preparing all week. I'm not going out there scared. I'm going out there with the intention of doing my job and doing it well."

Stai rested yesterday after running on the side during Wednesday's workout and later feeling some soreness. He said he would test his knee again today, but he had no idea about Sunday.

"I don't know," Stai said. "We'll see. It's hard to say. But it's feeling a lot better. That counts."

Johnson split first-string snaps with Brown as coaches tried to gauge the newcomer's talent and preparedness. Johnson, who has a master's degree from Temple, believes he is learning the offense quickly enough and that he'll be ready to play if needed.

"I don't think nothing's too quick," Johnson said. "Whatever time you get there is the right time. I don't know what their plans are, but whatever they've got me doing, that's what I'm going to do."

Sides far apart

Offensive tackle Jon Jansen appears unlikely to sign a contract extension anytime soon. Although there seemed to be a good chance that he would accept the club's proposal Tuesday, his camp isn't necessarily optimistic that another offer will come or that it will address his concerns, sources close to the talks said.

Also, Jansen is taking a step back from negotiations personally, sources said. Jansen met twice individually with Redskins director of football operations Joe Mendes but now will be focusing on football, leaving the bulk of deliberations to agent Rick Smith.

Jansen's camp considered a key problem to be that Tuesday's proposal would have paid just $1million up front. If Jansen had signed it, he could have been injured this season and cut without receiving the rest of the $5.5million bonus. However, his camp ultimately considered the offer inadequate on several fronts.

Extra points

Safety Ifeanyi Ohalete hasn't earned the official starting job over veteran Sam Shade yet, those close to the situation said. Coaches continue to work Ohalete more frequently in pass-oriented situations, and Shade seemingly has sat more frequently the past two games. For now, who starts remains a function of what defensive set Washington opens with.

Security personnel remained around practice even though two suspects were arrested in the sniper case. Several players said they are backing off plans to move their families out of town, including quarterback Shane Matthews. Said Matthews: "I'm relieved that everybody can go about their normal life now."

Free agent defensive end Keith McKenzie, recently released by Chicago, worked out at Redskin Park for research purposes. McKenzie collected 24 sacks from 1998 to 2000 for Green Bay and Cleveland but broke his ankle last year and didn't perform well in three starts for the Bears this season.


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