Sporting a newly added cast on his broken left hand, Washington Redskins center Casey Rabach returned to practice yesterday and said he’s ready to play tomorrow in New Orleans. However, right tackle Jon Jansen most likely will not play after missing a third straight practice because of the declining state of the calf muscle he tore six weeks ago.
Coach Joe Gibbs isn’t sure that Jansen, who has played every game during his eight seasons in Washington except for in 2004 when he missed the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon, will even make the trip, let alone play.
“It’s just a matter if I can push off and be effective,” Jansen said. “Every week it gets a little more sore, a little harder to walk on and play on. I’ve been able to get ready every Sunday and hopefully I will this week.”
The hope is that another week of rest will enable Jansen to play in the final two games, Dec. 24 at St. Louis and Dec. 30 against the New York Giants.
With Jansen all but out, Todd Wade, who started 85 of 86 games for Miami and Houston from 2000 until he hurt his left knee nine games into last season, will make his Redskins debut. Wade hasn’t played since he was hurt.
“Since I got here, I haven’t had to ice my knee,” said the 6-foot-8, 317-pound Wade, who wears a brace on the knee. “I’ve got this opportunity. I expect to play well. I want to let the Redskins know and everyone else know I’m healthy.”
As for Rabach, he said, “Snapping’s not an issue. It’s more the blocking. We’re out of it playoff-wise, but I don’t want to let the guys down.”
Receiver Santana Moss returned after missing Thursday’s practice with a flu-like illness.
Watching and waiting
David Patten won three Super Bowl rings in New England. Mike Rumph won a national championship at Miami. Both have started playoff games in the NFL. But as the Redskins suffer through a very disappointing season, Patten and Rumph have been even more frustrated than the starters because they haven’t had much of a chance to make a difference.
Patten caught just 22 passes with a career-worst 9.9-yard average in nine games last season — his first with the Redskins. He spent the last seven games on the injured reserve with a knee injury.
This year has been even worse. Hospitalized for four days during training camp with viral meningitis, Patten was hampered for weeks by thigh and hamstring pulls. Patten returned to full practice last week but hasn’t played since Week 4, a week after making his only catch of the season.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Patten, who just completed his first healthy week of practice in almost three months. “It seems like I’ve been having setback after setback since I was sick. If the team’s winning and you’re hurt, you can kind of accept it a little bit better. But everything gets magnified when you’re losing.”
Patten isn’t worried about being tagged as old and injury-prone at 32.
“I’m sure a lot of people are going to cast that judgment, but I still have talent,” said Patten, who has three years and $2.286 million of signing bonus pro-ration left on his contract. “I’ve been proving myself my whole career. If I’m not a part of this team’s plans in the future, there are 31 other teams out there. I feel like there will be another opportunity for me to prove myself.”
Rumph, acquired in August from San Francisco for disappointing receiver Taylor Jacobs, didn’t fare well as the nickel corner when Shawn Springs was sidelined and inactive in six of the past eight games.
“It’s tough not playing when you’re healthy,” said Rumph, who missed all but five games in 2004 and 2005 with injuries. “I thought I did pretty well when I was in there and I still believe I can help this team. I’m doing the best I can on scout team to get our offense ready every week.”
Saints defensive backs coach Tom Hayes held the same job with the Redskins from 1995 to 2000. Saints receiver Jamal Jones, who caught his first NFL touchdown pass last week, is a DeMatha High School graduate.