- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mark Brunell was walking better and feeling better yesterday, but he wouldn’t go as far as promising that he would be Washington’s starting quarterback when the Redskins attempt to clinch their first playoff spot since the 1999 season Sunday in Philadelphia.

“It’s feeling a little better today than it did yesterday,” Brunell said of the sprained right knee that sidelined him in the third quarter of the 35-20 victory over the New York Giants on Saturday. “Each day it’s progressing, feeling better. The more time I can get rehabbing this thing, the better off I’ll be. We’ll see, but I’m pleased with where I’m at right now.”

Brunell, whose work yesterday was limited to throwing a few passes on the side, replied “absolutely” when asked if the magnitude of the game will hasten his return to the lineup. If the Redskins (9-6) lose to the Eagles (6-9), they’ll need the reeling St. Louis Rams (5-10) to upset the Cowboys (9-6) in Dallas to make the playoffs.

“In talking to Mark, he gives me the impression that he thinks he can go and we’ll work towards that,” coach Joe Gibbs said.

If Brunell’s knee doesn’t recover in time, he is confident that backup Patrick Ramsey, who played well in relief against the Giants, would respond in a positive fashion.

“Patrick would do fine,” Brunell said. “For a guy to come off the bench, not having any reps all week, and lead the team and score [14] points, is pretty impressive. [Backup quarterback] is probably the toughest position on the team because you don’t get to practice and yet you’re called upon to play … many times when the game’s on the line like it was against the Giants.”

Good-soldier Ramsey, benched for Brunell during the season opener against Chicago, is rooting to return to his backup role.

“Mark has gotten us to this point and you hope for him that he’s able to play,” Ramsey said. “I hope we win and go to the playoffs. If I do go in to play, I hope I play well and we win. It’s that simple, really.”

Eagles coach Andy Reid apparently doesn’t see his team standing in the Redskins’ way, saying, “You guys are going to be in the playoffs, fired up and ready to go. You won’t have to worry about me.”

Rogers still sidelined

Cornerback Carlos Rogers, who has missed the last two games with a torn muscle in his left biceps, didn’t practice and is questionable for Sunday.

“Carlos is better,” Gibbs said. “His range of motion improved. He pushed it hard yesterday, but we’ll just have to see.”

Safety Matt Bowen, who has missed the last two games with a badly bruised knee and thigh, practiced and said he expects to play.

Cornerback Shawn Springs, offensive tackles Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels and defensive end Renaldo Wynn all rested sore body parts yesterday but are expected to start in Philadelphia.

Morton promoted

Cornerback Christian Morton was promoted from the practice squad to fill the vacancy opened when linebacker Chris Clemons was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday with a partially torn knee ligament.

Morton got into two games as a rookie with Atlanta in 2004. Washington replaced Morton on the practice squad with defensive back Dwight Ellick, a rookie from Notre Dame.



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