- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2009

It was a familiar but unwelcome sight during the team portion of the Washington Redskins’ practice on Wednesday morning. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, the receivers who produced forgettable rookie seasons in 2008, were together again watching from the sideline.

Their hamstring injuries are far from major. In fact, Thomas and Kelly, who took part in individual drills before resting, each expect to return Thursday. But it’s more who’s hurt than the seriousness of the ailments that concerns coach Jim Zorn.

“It’s frustrating for them and for us,” said Zorn, who was aghast when his second-round picks flunked the conditioning test before camp last summer, with Thomas then missing two weeks with a hamstring and Kelly longer after having an arthroscopic procedure done on his knee. “The only good thing about this, if there’s anything, is that they’re not going to be out for weeks.”

With Thomas and Kelly ailing, the Redskins signed veteran receiver D.J. Hackett and placed receiver Roydell Williams on the waived/injured list with a fractured pinkie. Hackett was with Zorn in Seattle from 2004 to 2007 and visited Washington during the 2008 offseason before signing with Carolina.

“Hack knows the offense,” Zorn said. “He knows the terminology. He worked right in today. Usually it takes a while to get up to speed, but he ran the [correct] routes.”

Hackett, 28, attended Redskins minicamp in May on a tryout basis but wasn’t signed when he was unavailable for organized team activities because his wife was having a difficult pregnancy. Hackett’s agent, Kevin Robinson, had talked to four other teams in the past two weeks but hadn’t obtained any offers before the Redskins called.

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Colorado product caught 45 passes for 610 yards and four touchdowns for the Seahawks in 2006. He admitted he was quite comfortable with Zorn’s offense on Wednesday.

“I know the way [Zorn] works and the way he wants things done,” Hackett said. “There are a lot of things that came with experience that I can pass on to other players. There are certain routes that are better for bigger receivers. I’m used to the routes that we run.”

The Redskins signed Michael Marquardt to fill the spot opened by Tuesday’s release of fellow defensive tackle Vaka Manupuna. The 6-3, 302-pound Marquardt signed in April 2008 with Cincinnati as a rookie free agent out of Arizona State. Cut before camp, he caught on with Carolina. He then spent the season on Philadelphia’s practice squad after being waived by the Panthers.

Bridges owns up

The offensive players ran wind sprints after the morning practice courtesy of lineman Jeremy Bridges, who owned up to jumping offside a couple of times. Zorn said the punishment was the idea of the players, not the coaches.

“What I really like about our guys, especially the offensive line, they’re really taking responsibility for their actions on the field,” Zorn said. “[Bridges] had a couple of miscues today, and he’s the first guy to own up to it. They took it upon themselves to be conscious of the idea that it’s the unit together that’s going to make the difference.”

Several still sidelined

Backup defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander (mild sprained foot) and reserve linebacker Alfred Fincher (groin) were held out in the afternoon after getting hurt in the morning. Cornerback Carlos Rogers (calf) and reserve defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery (knee) each remained out for a fourth consecutive day. Seventh-round fullback Eddie Williams (hamstring) and rookie free agent defensive end J.D. Skolnitsky (hamstring) are nearing a week out of action. Reserve guard Rueben Riley is out with a sprained ankle.

Smith’s loss

Zorn gathered the players after the afternoon practice for a prayer for the late father of offensive coordinator Sherman Smith, whose funeral was held Wednesday. Zorn and Smith became close friends as backfield mates in Seattle from 1976 to 1982.

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