- The Washington Times - Friday, November 13, 2009

The merry-go-round that is the Washington Redskins’ offensive line continued to spin Thursday, resulting in a second chance for right guard Chad Rinehart.

The line already is trying to work in new left tackle Levi Jones and get right tackle D’Anthony Batiste ready in case the injured Stephon Heyer can’t play Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

Now Rinehart is returning after a three-game absence because of a shoulder injury and demotion.

Coach Jim Zorn would not confirm the change, but both Rinehart and incumbent Will Montgomery said the switch is in effect.

“I definitely feel I’m a lot more comfortable in there,” said Rinehart, who started two games after a triceps injury sidelined Randy Thomas. “Once my shoulder healed up, it felt like I was doing a lot better against the guys. Hopefully, that will translate to the field.”

The switch marks the first performance-based change on the line since the Redskins allowed 11 sacks in the past two games.

Rinehart, a third-round pick in the 2008 draft, didn’t play last season but also didn’t seem overwhelmed in two-plus games this year.

But an injury, combined with progress by Montgomery, kept Rinehart on the inactive list.

“I guess I would call it a demotion, but that’s not the way I look at it,” Zorn said. “I thought Will was doing a heck of a job in there, and Rinehart is starting to come on. Our ranks are running thin, so we’ll definitely get [Rinehart] involved.”

Portis ruled out

Clinton Portis’ streak of 40 consecutive starts will end Sunday because of a concussion he suffered last week in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The running back spent Wednesday at home on his doctor’s orders.

His replacement, Ladell Betts, also did not practice because of an ankle injury, but Zorn expects him to play.

Punter Hunter Smith will try to kick in practice Friday and could be placed on the season-ending injured reserve list if his injured groin hasn’t sufficiently improved.

Fines levied

Three fines have been handed out for the Redskins-Falcons fracas Sunday.

Atlanta coach Mike Smith was fined $15,000, according to Foxsports.com. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall said he was not fined.

Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was fined $7,500 for entering the melee, and safety LaRon Landry was docked $5,000 for his hit on quarterback Matt Ryan that started things.

The league does not confirm fine amounts until Friday.

Davis gets acclimated

Tight end Fred Davis has experienced the day-after “good sore” since he replaced the injured Chris Cooley on Oct. 26 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Davis played an unofficial 75 snaps in Weeks 1 through 6 and 104 snaps the past two games.

“I’m doing better because I’m more involved,” said Davis, who has caught 10 passes for 104 yards since Cooley went down with a broken ankle. “It’s easier because I’m actually going through it. By taking only mental reps, it’s tough to play fast right away. You get to test yourself.”

Said Zorn: “He’ll be more comfortable as we continue to use him. This week of practice, he’ll have another major improvement because more things will be familiar with him. That’s what a young player needs - just a comfortable, daily injection with the same thing over and over again.”

No ax to grind

Quarterback Jason Campbell said he feels no extra motivation for Sunday’s game against the Broncos even though that club and coach Josh McDaniels essentially chose Kyle Orton instead of Campbell to complete the trade of disgruntled quarterback Jay Cutler earlier this year.

The Chicago Bears were able to get Cutler because they held a second-round pick; the Redskins traded their pick for Jason Taylor in July 2008, which precluded them from acquiring Cutler or Mark Sanchez.

Asked what he thought of Campbell when he evaluated him during the trade talks, McDaniels said: “I didn’t do that then, but I’ve certainly had an opportunity to evaluate him the last few days. He’s certainly a gifted quarterback with a big arm, very tight spiral, accurate, can really throw the deep ball well and does a nice job of seeing the defense and getting the ball where he needs to get it and doesn’t [need] much time to do it because his arm is so good.”

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