- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 2, 2008

Receiver Santana Moss was the life of the locker room after Saturday’s practice. That’s a good sign for the Washington Redskins heading into Monday night’s game against Pittsburgh.

After running on the side during Saturday’s session, Moss sounded optimistic about his chances of playing against the Steelers despite an ailing hamstring, which he injured after scoring both of Washington’s touchdowns in last week’s 25-17 victory at Detroit.

“I feel better because I ran [Saturday],” said Moss, who battled hamstring pulls for most of 2007. “I felt pretty good. I … gained a lot of confidence [in my hamstring] because I didn’t know where it was at. The next step is [running some] routes [Sunday].”

Coach Jim Zorn said, despite his progress, Moss’ availability against the Steelers will be a game-time decision. Zorn said the only other player whose status is in doubt is Chris Samuels, but the Pro Bowl left tackle, whose absence against the Lions was his first in nearly five years, said he’s going to play despite his hurting right knee.

“It feels OK,” Samuels said. “I just have to play with the pain. … I’m going to play.”

The Redskins clarified that Samuels doesn’t have loose cartilage in his knee, calling the condition inflammation of the cartilage behind the kneecap.

Running back Clinton Portis (hip and ankle), cornerback Carlos Rogers (heel), safety LaRon Landry (hamstring) and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (shoulder) are slated to start against the Steelers. Defensive end Jason Taylor will miss his third game in six because of a left calf that still hasn’t fully healed from emergency surgery Sept. 22.

“It’s disappointing since I’m from Pittsburgh and it’s on Monday night,” Taylor said. “I really wanted to play this game.”

Suisham’s success

Kicker Shaun Suisham has made 16-of-21 field goal attempts this season - 15 of 18 inside 50 yards, including a miss when since-released punter Durant Brooks botched the hold.

In 29 games with Washington, Suisham is 53-of-65. His 81.5 percent accuracy is the best in team history. With two more field goals, Suisham will move into fourth on Washington’s career list, trailing only Mark Moseley (263), Chip Lohmiller (175) and Curt Knight (101).

The 26-year-old Canadian signed with Pittsburgh in 2005 as a rookie free agent out of Bowling Green. After signing with Dallas’ practice squad, Suisham joined the Redskins the following November after being cut by the Cowboys.

“I wasn’t sure if I would be in a camp,” said Suisham, who made his only field goal attempt of the 2005 preseason, a 46-yarder, but was let go in favor of incumbent Jeff Reed, still Pittsburgh’s kicker. “I just tried to learn as much as I could. It was a great experience.”

Said Redskins special teams coach Danny Smith: “Shaun’s got all the tools and he’s done a great job, but with any young player, it’s a matter of consistency, which he’s beginning to establish. He’s a good kickoff guy as well as a good field goal guy. He’s very coachable. He doesn’t worry about anything. He’s going to be a good player in this league.”

Zorn is so confident in Suisham that he doesn’t even watch every field goal try.

“He definitely has come through,” Zorn said. “I don’t even take time to watch [unless] it’s a last-second deal or a key thing. I just expect it to happen.”

Double century for Albright

Not only did last Sunday’s game continue Ethan Albright’s streak of playing in every game (123 in a row, including the playoffs) since signing with Washington in 2001, but it also was the 200th consecutive regular-season game for the 37-year-old long snapper.

Big Ben’s focus

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he’s worried about an unusual aspect of the Redskins: the cheerleaders.

“I’m not a big fan of playing [in Washington] because it’s loud, they’re really good at home and they try to make their cheerleaders stretch in our tunnel before we come out of the locker room,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s just not good.”

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