- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2005

It’s a good thing Jon Jansen doesn’t need an independent left thumb to do his job.

The Washington Redskins’ offensive tackle suffered a small fracture in that digit during yesterday’s practice. He expects to wear a cast for the next four weeks.

“It’s a bummer, but it’s not that big a deal,” Jansen said. “I’ve played with broken fingers before.”

Newcomers not nervous

When linebacker Zak Keasey’s cell phone rang Saturday at 5p.m., the undrafted rookie from Princeton anticipated the worst.

“I thought I was about to get sent home, but it was actually some of the guys here calling to congratulate me,” Keasey said. “I was short of words. I couldn’t believe it. I had to sit down.”

It took three NFL training camps — and Tom Tupa’s bad back that pushed the incumbent onto injured reserve — for Andy Groom, an All-American at Ohio State in 2002, to make his dream a reality.

“I’ve always believed that I could punt in the NFL. You just have to get a coaching staff to believe it, too,” said Groom, who credited Tupa, a fellow Buckeyes alumnus, with helping him improve his hang time and directional punting.

The Redskins brought in Chris Mohr last week after Tupa was lost for the year and gave the 14-year veteran the first six punts in the preseason finale at Baltimore, but Groom responded by averaging 46 yards (38.7 net) on his three punts to clinch the job.

Jacobs practices

Receiver Taylor Jacobs practiced yesterday for the first time since spraining his left big toe in the Aug.6 scrimmage at Baltimore.

After missing the entire preseason with his third injury in three summers, Jacobs admitted he wasn’t sure he would keep his job.

“[Getting cut] was in the back of my mind, but I know I have the talent, and I know I can play,” said Jacobs, who had just 19 catches during his first two seasons. “Whenever I get the chance and I can stay healthy, it’s a matter of time.”

Jacobs had a “a so-so” first day back and said his toe is about 80 percent healed. Coach Joe Gibbs thought the second-rounder from 2003 “looked pretty good,” although he wanted to see how the toe responded to the work before deciding whether Jacobs could play Sunday.

While Jacobs finally was back, safety Ryan Clark, who had returned in the preseason finale against the Ravens after missing the previous two games with a sprained knee, was sidelined.

Gibbs said he’s hoping Clark “can go some on Wednesday.” Clark said he was re-injured when a lineman fell on it in Baltimore. But Clark, who had never missed a game during his high school, college or pro career until last month, said he won’t miss the opener.

“I’m good,” Clark said. “They just wanted to make sure I was healed up all the way so I’ll be ready to go full speed on Wednesday.”

While Clark watched, fellow safety Matt Bowen returned from the bruised chest that hospitalized him Aug.26 and 27. It’s unclear whether either of them or Pierson Prioleau will start Sunday.

Linebacker Chris Clemons didn’t practice after straining a hamstring on the opening kickoff against the Ravens. Clemons said it’s getting better each day, but the big test will be whether he’s able to get on the field tomorrow.

Patterson signed

The Redskins completed their eight-man practice squad with the addition of defensive back Dimitri Patterson from Tuskegee. Patterson had attended Washington’s rookie camp in April but wasn’t signed and wasn’t invited to any team’s training camp.

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