- The Washington Times - Friday, November 21, 2003

Quarterback Patrick Ramsey wasn’t the only Washington Redskin doing less than the team hoped in yesterday’s practice. Another abbreviated effort left the Washington wondering whether it would be without its most effective rusher and backfield pass protector.

Running back Rock Cartwright was “looking more and more doubtful” for tomorrow’s game against the Miami Dolphins, coach Steve Spurrier said. Cartwright hoped to practice a decent amount yesterday on his sprained ankle, but he cut short his activity when pain accompanied the few instances he tried to cut.

“It’s not where I thought it was going to be,” Cartwright said. “It’s still a little bit sore. We’ve still got 48 hours to treat it, see where we can go with it. But right now I’m still questionable.”

Cartwright will be missed if he can’t play.

Starting tailback Trung Canidate has averaged 2.1 yards a carry the past two games, and Cartwright has emerged as Washington’s most effective rusher at a 5.2-yard clip. Also, Cartwright is far more proficient at picking up blitzers.

That said, Canidate still got the start last week when both were healthy, and he now believes he is “feeling better” from the high ankle sprain that caused him to miss two games.

Spurrier is preparing running back John Simon for extra duty behind Canidate. Meanwhile, Bryan Johnson, Washington’s only fullback beside Cartwright and the co-leader in special teams tackles (14), didn’t believe he would need to curtail his special teams role for added backfield work.

“Ideally, I don’t want to do that,” Johnson said. “There might be a situation if we have a long drive and then kickoff, I might sit out on that.”

Morton possible

More likely to play but by no means a lock is return man Chad Morton, who participated in parts of practice for the first time this week.

“I don’t know,” Morton said of his odds. “It’s a good thing we don’t play until nighttime. I’m just going to continue to rest it. I don’t want it to be like last week where I worked out too much during the week. All I need is rest right now.”

Morton was able to play in last weekend’s loss at Carolina, but he said his ankle hurt badly toward the end. If he can’t go tomorrow, wide receiver Patrick Johnson would take over on both kickoffs and punts as he did Nov. 9 against Seattle. Johnson is reliable in both roles but has yet to break a big return this season.

“He’s a north-south runner,” special teams coach Mike Stock said. “He’s not going to fool around with the ball. What you see is what you get. He’s a hard-nosed runner. He’s like Chad, a good second-effort guy.”

The Dolphins are the NFL’s best kickoff coverage team in terms of average starting position (24.3 yards from the goal line), and a big reason is kicker Olindo Mare, who has a league-high 14 touchbacks and, according to Stock, an impressive hang time of more than four seconds.

Stock said the NFL average is “about 3.8 seconds,” adding of Mare’s boots, “It gives them a chance to run down deeper, farther and faster, to get under the ball before you can start your blocks.”

Extra points

No. 3 cornerback Rashad Bauman got considerable work during practice this week, but his status remains a game time decision for team trainers. If it’s up to Bauman, who has sat out three straight games, he’ll go.

“I’m so tired of sitting on the sideline,” he said. “I’ll go out there half-dead if they let me.” …

Defensive tackle Brandon Noble is walking around fairly normally after giving up his crutches and cast in recent weeks. He said he expects to be jogging in another six-to-eight weeks and that he could do a few football-related drills in the early May minicamp. Dr. Glenn Perry, of Charlotte, N.C., performed surgery Oct. 3 to repair Noble’s left knee, which had the ACL and MCL torn and the kneecap dislocated in an Aug. 16 preseason loss to New England.

“It’s coming great,” Noble said. “It’s coming along maybe not as fast as I would like but honestly faster than I expected. The turnaround from not being able to walk to walking normally happened quickly.” …

A week after left tackle Chris Samuels went up against NFL sack leader Mike Rucker, who has 11 takedowns for Carolina, right tackle Jon Jansen gets Miami’s speedy left defensive end, Adewale Ogunleye, who has 10 sacks. Jansen even knew how to pronounce Ogunleye’s name (ad-WAL-ee o-GUN-lee-ay), remembering him from college when the current Dolphin was at Indiana.

“He reminds me a lot of [former Redskin and current Eagle] Ndukwe Kalu,” Jansen said. “He does have some strength … but he relies on his moves and his athletic ability to make plays.”

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