- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The reeling Washington Redskins headed into their four-day break yesterday afternoon with a second straight day of back-to-basics practice conducted in chilly, gusty conditions at Redskin Park.

It’s likely that more was accomplished in yesterday’s run-oriented practice than in Tuesday’s pass-oriented session despite the absence of a number of injured principals, including No. 1 back Clinton Portis (ankle and calf) and linebackers Lemar Marshall (ankle) and Marcus Washington (hip).

That’s because Tuesday’s workout was even more depleted by injury holdouts: Quarterback Mark Brunell (ribs), receivers Santana Moss (hamstring) and Antwaan Randle El (heel) and left tackle Chris Samuels (knee) did not participate. Those four players were sidelined again yesterday, as was wideout Brandon Lloyd (thigh). Kick returner Rock Cartwright returned yesterday after sitting out Tuesday’s session because of a bruised quadriceps.

“The last two days has been a review of the season up till now,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “We looked at every pass play, every run play, did a real evaluation, then presented it to the players and went out and practiced some things that we think that we need to improve upon and where we feel our team fits and what we do the best.”

Gibbs also said the defense spent most of the past two days on “two special coverages” and on techniques.

Moss hopeful

Moss said his strained left hamstring is not as severe as the ones he suffered early in his career with the New York Jets. However, Moss, who was injured Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, wouldn’t say that he would play in the Nov. 5 game against the archrival Dallas Cowboys.

“A strained hamstring, it’s not a good feeling,” Moss said. “But it’s a great time for the bye.”

Portis, meanwhile, left the building no longer wearing the boot that had protected his sprained ankle the previous two days.

No worries

Assistant head coach Gregg Williams bristled when he was asked whether he is worried about the reaction of his players now that the once-highly rated defense is in the bottom quarter of the league-wide rankings.

“No. No,” Williams said. “There’s too much character in the locker room. It’s almost a slap in the face for someone to ask that. It’s the same thing you [shouldn’t] ask a surgeon. ‘[Are] you going to lay down today because the surgery is difficult?’ No, they wouldn’t. We won’t either. We’ll continue to fight and get better.”

Another new blocker

Offensive line coach Joe Bugel is excited about his newest project, 26-year-old Taylor Whitley, who started 11 games for the Miami Dolphins in 2004 but has played in just two games since.

“He looks good,” Bugel said of Whitley, who replaced lineman Tyson Walter on the roster Monday. “He’s stronger and bigger [than Walter], and he’s got some nastiness. We’re starting to get some young guys in here who have a chance, not just scout-teamers.”

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Whitley, whom Bugel wants to bulk up to 315, is backing up right tackle Jon Jansen. Todd Wade, another former Dolphins player who was signed Sept. 5, is behind Samuels. Third-year reserve Jim Molinaro has moved back inside behind guards Randy Thomas and Derrick Dockery. Mike Pucillo, signed in March, is the backup to center Casey Rabach.

Whitley is the sixth player added to the roster since the end of training camp and the 10th since training camp opened.

Staff writer Ryan O’Halloran contributed to this article.


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