- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2003

Washington Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey returned to full practice yesterday and was upbeat about how much his sprained shoulder has healed.

There no longer seems to be any doubt Ramsey will play in Sunday’s game against the New York Giants at FedEx Field.

“I actually felt good,” Ramsey, who doesn’t speak to the media on Thursdays, said through a team spokesman. “I was able to participate fully. I was even able to hand off with my left hand, which I didn’t expect to be able to do. It feels fine. It really does.”

The injury to Ramsey’s left (non-throwing) shoulder occurred at the end of the first half in Sunday’s victory at Atlanta. There was some initial concern about it, but he returned for a strong second half and has improved each day this week.

After throwing a few balls Wednesday but not practicing, Ramsey felt like the injury “certainly didn’t limit” him yesterday.

“I ran every rep with the offense,” he said. “It felt great. … I threw the ball better than I expected. I threw the ball as well as I did against Atlanta. That’s what we’re all looking for on Sunday.”

Haley on fence

Nose tackle Jermaine Haley continues to get plenty of work in practice, and coaches sound increasingly hopeful he will play Sunday despite a fractured thumb.

“We hope so,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “We think he will. We’ll have to see how it goes the next couple of days.”

Haley was a surprise inactive at Atlanta when coaches decided at the last minute they could rest him. Martin Chase started in his spot, and Chase said yesterday he continues to rotate in with the first-string defense during practice.

A solid performance by Chase last weekend, when Washington’s defense limited the Falcons to 7 second-half rushing yards, could have him pushing for more time even when Haley heals. For now, it appears a toss-up who will start against the Giants.

“I’m going in and out,” Chase said. “And he’s been getting a lot of reps, seeing how his thumb’s going to work out. We’ll see how it plays out this week.”

Chase added he is done adjusting after being traded late in training camp from New Orleans.

“I’m comfortable now,” Chase said. “I know what they expect out of me, and I know what I expect out of myself.”

Fiore rests

Left guard Dave Fiore sat out practice to rest one of his surgically repaired knees but didn’t expect to have any problems playing Sunday.

“If it’s bothering me tomorrow I might [sit] a little, but it should be fine for this weekend,” Fiore said. “They just wanted to get me some rest because my knee was sore, and they didn’t want to press the issue on a Thursday.”

Fiore has undergone multiple knee surgeries, and his current soreness is on the knee he injured last year.

“It just gets a little aggravated sometimes,” Fiore said.

Rookie Derrick Dockery worked in Fiore’s place and said he has made significant progress in recent weeks. Dockery was selected in the third round, and Washington is counting on him to be the first lineman if a guard or tackle is injured.

“I got quite a few reps during the preseason,” Dockery said. “There’s no doubt that helped me a lot. I know now that it’s the regular season, and guys are going to come a lot harder. But the coaches have done a good job working with me. I’m prepared. If I have to go in at whatever position, I’ll be ready.”

Jansen vs. Strahan

One of Sunday’s premier matchups will be Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen against Giants left defensive end Michael Strahan. The two have traded victories in their high-profile battle in recent years. But Strahan was emphatic this week that he doesn’t treat this or any other individual matchup with added significance.

“I look forward to every one of them,” Strahan said in a conference call with Washington reporters. “People always say, ‘How did you match up with this guy or this guy?’ For me, it’s every week. I always seem to get some guy who wants to beat me down. For me, it’s fun because I’ve played against [Jansen] quite a bit, and it’s a division game. But at the same time, I don’t get caught up in the whole matchup thing.”

For Jansen, there is an unspoken significance to facing Strahan. After four years without going to the Pro Bowl, he is starting to get more national attention after signing a six-year, $25 million extension last winter. However, he wouldn’t say he is gearing up particularly for Strahan.

“Not really,” Jansen said. “I go out to do the best I can anytime I step on the field. I want to be successful whether we’re playing the Jacksonville Jaguars or the New York Giants. It doesn’t matter. I want to be successful and win the game.”

Extra points

The Redskins held off on signing rookie tight end Kevin Ware from the practice squad. But the move should happen today with Zeron Flemister (Achilles’) skipping yesterday’s practice and seeming all but certain to miss the Giants game. …

Hurricane Isabel could force a change to today’s practice schedule and push the Redskins onto their turf field. The team was taking a wait-and-see approach yesterday.

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