- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2007

There was a bounce in Santana Moss‘ step yesterday.

“I feel great,” the Washington Redskins‘ No. 1 receiver said yesterday after he missed practice again but ran routes for the first time since he strained a groin on Sept. 23 against the New York Giants. “I ran pretty good. That’s all I wanted. I did what I had to do today. I ran some routes [without coverage] That’s a different kind of route [than if] someone’s pulling on you. But the speed I ran it at and putting your foot in the ground and planting, everything was great.”

Coach Joe Gibbs was not nearly as buoyant, terming Moss doubtful and reiterating twice that he hadn’t practiced.

“It might be a situation where he warms up before the game [and plays] and it might not,” Gibbs said.

Moss, who missed much of the spring with a sports hernia-type injury and two games last year with a hamstring injury, leads the Redskins with 12 catches after ranking first with 55 last year and 84 in 2005 when he made the Pro Bowl in his Washington debut.

“I’m not pleasantly surprised,” Moss said of his improved condition. “I’m more just happy to be at this stage. I hate having something bothering me. When I’m feeling better that’s when my spirits are better. [But] I didn’t practice all week so it’s up to Coach Gibbs.”

If Moss doesn’t play, James Thrash will start opposite Antwaan Randle El. The backup situation is more in flux with yesterday’s return of Brandon Lloyd, who had been absent since leaving Wednesday’s practice early with a bruised shin.

Lloyd, who in his 2006 Redskins debut had just 23 catches, 365 yards and no touchdowns, has no catches in the first three games of 2007. Reche Caldwell, who last season caught 61 passes for New England but hasn’t been active since signing with Washington on Sept. 11, is an option. So is Keenan McCardell, the well-traveled 37-year-old who signed with the Redskins on Monday.

Fullback Mike Sellers was limited after leaving Thursday’s session early because of an ailing heel. Sellers is probable. Gibbs said Sellers was limited as a precaution. Running back Clinton Portis, who suffered a mild sprained right knee against the Giants, and safety Sean Taylor, who suffered a bruised right knee in the same game, both took full practice again and are probable.

Cornerback Fred Smoot (hamstring) and safety Vernon Fox (groin), who each missed the past two games, completed full weeks of practice and are probable.

Offensive line coach Joe Bugel did not attend practice. He was resting at home after spending Thursday night at Virginia Hospital Center following surgery to remove kidney stones. Bugel is expected to perform his usual duties against the Lions.

Looking at the long haul

Rookie safety LaRon Landry and the Redskins begin a stretch of 13 straight games. No Redskins rookie has started every game since Smoot and receiver Rod Gardner in 2001 and that year’s bye came at the season’s midpoint. Offensive tackle Chris Samuels started his first 10 NFL games before getting a break in 2000.

“During the bye week, I’m like, ‘We’ve played four preseason games and three regular season games. Football season’s just starting in college and we’ve got 13 games left,” Landry said. “That’s like a college regular season. I’m just taking it one day at time.”

Not seeking revenge

Vernon Fox, who played for the Lions in 2004 and 2005 before new coach Rod Marinelli cut him last summer, said he’s not looking at tomorrow’s game as a grudge match. He’s just eager to play again after missing the past two games with a groin injury.

“They let me go, but I’ve still got some friends on that team,” said Fox, who’s especially close to Lions quarterback Jon Kitna. “I just want to get back on the field, no matter who we’re playing.”

Think pink

The Redskins and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority will distribute 40,00 pink breast cancer awareness ribbons and education cards at tomorrow’s game. This is the ninth consecutive year in which the organizations have teamed up to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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