- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Washington Redskins defensive end Jason Taylor did light work in two knee braces during Tuesday’s practice and remains a game-time decision for Thursday night’s season opener at the New York Giants.

Taylor, who sustained a bruised right knee at Carolina on Aug. 23, did lateral agility work on the sidelines during the special teams portion of practice and technique work with the rest of the defensive line.

“It will be a game time decision because he wasn’t quite full speed - he was seeing how it would be,” coach Jim Zorn said. “There’s more hope, but it’s still easily 50-50. He wants to be full speed, but he’s not 50 percent yet from what I saw today.”

Taylor, who didn’t speak to reporters Tuesday, has played in 130 consecutive games and has missed only four games in 11 NFL seasons.

“He’s trying to get out there and is doing everything right in the training room,” Zorn said. “If it feels good and he can go, he’ll go.”

The Giants game would mark 12 days since Taylor’s injury.

If Taylor can’t go, Demetric Evans will start. If Taylor can go, Evans will participate in the defensive-end rotation and will slide inside to tackle on third down.

Evans has started 12 games in six seasons, including Week 2 at Philadelphia last year.

“I had a good camp, probably one of the best since I got here [in 2004],” he said. “I came here in shape after doing the power-lifting regiment with Phillip [Daniels], and I feel stronger and more physical. Every player should be excited to start because it’s not a given. In this league, it’s so hard just to make the team.”

With the absence of Daniels, Evans will play a lot of snaps at end as Taylor rounds into form.

Springs hurts calf

Cornerback Shawn Springs was the only player not to attend practice after he got kicked in the calf during Monday’s workout. X-rays came back negative, but Springs was limping as he left Redskin Park on Tuesday afternoon. He wore a long sleeve on his left leg.

Receiver Malcolm Kelly (knee) and safety Kareem Moore (hamstring) didn’t practice. Safety LaRon Landry (hamstring), receiver Antwaan Randle El (hand) and linebacker Khary Campbell (thigh) took full work.

Adjusting minus Shockey

The Giants traded tight end Jeremy Shockey to New Orleans early in the preseason, and the Redskins will get a look at him in Week 2. But Shockey’s exit changes how the Redskins approach New York’s offense.

Since Eli Manning came into the league in 2004, Shockey was his second favorite target (206 catches). He has 42 catches for 481 yards and one touchdown in 10 career games against the Redskins. The new starter is second-year player Kevin Boss.

“They’ll probably use more four wideouts if they don’t feel like the Boss kid is a factor downfield,” Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. “[Boss] is a big, good receiver. He came in last year and was a good [fill in] for them.”

The Giants’ top four receivers are Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith.

“There is definitely going to be some different wrinkles that I think defenses are going to try and do to us with him not being here,” Burress said. “We’re just going to have to make the adjustments on the fly.”

Handling the nerves

With his NFL coaching debut now a day away, Zorn said he doesn’t expect to be overly anxious.

“It’s necessary to maintain poise and composure because there’s so much to think about,” he said. “I know how important it is, so I have to go out and do my responsibilities, and I’m relying on everybody else to do theirs.”

Zorn said he feels different as opposed to a preseason game.

“There has been a difference in preparation, there has been a different focus and there’s a lot more at stake,” he said. “We haven’t gone out to try and reinvent ourselves and come up with a magic potion. But we’ve been trying to work hard and prepare ourselves so we can battle.”

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