- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Washington Redskins expect to have a few more key players back on the field when they face the winless St. Louis Rams on Sunday at FedEx Field.

Cornerback Shawn Springs, defensive end Jason Taylor and linebacker Marcus Washington might return from injuries, but the Redskins may be without defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin.

Taylor, sidelined for two games after emergency calf surgery Sept. 22, and Washington, who missed Weeks 2 and 4 with a tender hamstring, both looked good enough during their limited reps in Friday’s practice to make coach Jim Zorn believe they will play.

“Jason looks like he’s up to speed,” said Zorn, adding that Taylor might not start.

Taylor, who on Thursday returned to the field for the first time in 18 days, said he was sore when he woke up Friday morning but felt pretty good later.

“It felt decent yesterday,” the 34-year-old Taylor said. “It felt a little better today. I’m trusting it a little bit more. I don’t have [my burst] yet, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to show it a whole lot since I got here because I had the [sprained] knee in the preseason and … this. Hopefully, one day soon I’ll be able to show people that I’m not that old and I’ve still got it.”

If Taylor, the active leader with 118 sacks, plays as a situational pass rusher, Demetric Evans would start. Washington will be a game-time decision for the second straight week.

“Coach told me it’s still up to me how I feel,” said Washington, a last-minute scratch against the Eagles in Week 5. “I don’t want to set it back, but I’m pretty excited.”

Griffin, a left tackle who sprained his right shoulder against the Eagles, returned to the field on Friday but was not sure he’ll be ready for the Rams.

“We just got to wait one more day and see where the pain level is,” Zorn said.

Springs, who missed last Sunday’s game with a strained calf, practiced a second straight day and will play. Reed Doughty, who started at strong safety until he was supplanted by rookie Chris Horton two weeks ago in Dallas, missed practice for a third straight day with an inflamed nerve in his back and won’t play.

On offense, Jon Jansen will start a third straight game at right tackle because Stephon Heyer still is hampered by the left shoulder he sprained in Week 3 against Arizona.

Heyer said he feels good enough to play, but Zorn disagreed.

“Stephon’s probably the furthest [starter] away,” Zorn said. “He just doesn’t have enough strength in that shoulder yet to really explode.”

Officials were wrong

A Redskins source said the NFL admitted that officials erred in picking up a penalty flag that would’ve negated a first-quarter punt return for a touchdown by the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson.

The officials apparently were confused over which No. 50, Washington’s Khary Campbell or Philadelphia‘s Tank Daniels, committed an illegal block in the back. It was Daniels.

Fourth-quarter prowess

The Redskins have outscored opponents 34-10 in the fourth quarter. The 24-point advantage ranks as a tie for third in the NFL behind Buffalo (45-20) and Tennessee (38-10).

“Necessity,” Zorn said. “We’ve had to make sure we move the ball in the fourth quarter, we’ve had to score in the fourth quarter and we’ve had to maintain ball control in the fourth quarter.”

In contrast, the lowly Rams have been battered 56-10 in the final period.

Respect for Hall

The Rams’ Dante Hall, who returned 10 kicks for touchdowns from 2002 to 2005, ranks 20th in punt return average (8.2 yard average) and 31st in kickoff return average (20.8).

Still, Rock Cartwright, a standout on the Redskins’ special teams, said he’s still dangerous.

“He’s an ‘X’ factor that can bust one at any time,” Cartwright said of Hall, who has just two touchdowns the past two-plus seasons. “We definitely have to get good punts, have to cover well and just play physical.”

• Staff writer Ryan O’Halloran contributed to this article.

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