- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009

CHARLOTTE, N.C. | The Washington Redskins had an early lead and something to celebrate. But the joy was short-lived.

Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels was injured on Clinton Portis’ first touchdown a little more than a minute into the game and did not return, leaving Washington with even more of a makeshift - and suspect - offensive line.

D’Anthony Batiste, a fourth-year player who had not played since December 2007, replaced Samuels at left tackle, though he spent all four of his previous NFL games at guard.

On the opposite side of the line, Mike Williams lined up at right guard. That’s the same Mike Williams who hadn’t played in a game since December 2005 and spent the offseason working his way down from a February high of 450 pounds. And though Williams had spent his entire career at tackle, the team decided this week to move him over a spot - and into the starting lineup - when the coaches had seen enough of second-year lineman Chad Rinehart - himself an injury replacement for Randy Thomas, who’s out for the year.

“When we started practice Wednesday, they put big Mike in there,” said Rinehart, who started two games after Thomas went down against the Rams. “Last week, they put him in a little bit, so I kinda saw it coming. They didn’t say much to me about it.”

Zorn said Rinehart had sustained a shoulder joint injury but added that performance was the overriding reason for Williams getting the start.

Samuels, the starter at left tackle since the Redskins selected him third overall in the 2000 NFL Draft, walked off the field under his own power after suffering the injury but never returned. He received an X-ray during the game as a precaution, but the injury was diagnosed as a stinger.

“We butted heads and got a little stinger, so they held me out the rest of the game,” said Samuels, who hopes to return this week against Kansas City. “It’s feeling better now, but it’s tough anytime you’re not out there helping your teammates.”

The disheartening 20-17 defeat also took most of the joy out of Williams’ comeback.

“It was good to get back in,” said Williams, who’s now listed at 337 pounds. “It was exciting, [but] I was trying to learn the guard position so I couldn’t sit back and go, ‘This completes the comeback.’ ”

Not after the Redskins allowed five sacks and ran for just 74 yards (3.1 a carry) against a Carolina defense that came in ranked last against the run.

Where’s Cooley?

Chris Cooley was off to a career year with 22 catches, 254 yards and two touchdowns in the first four games. But the Pro Bowl tight end disappeared from Washington’s passing attack in the loss Carolina.

Cooley was shut out, going without a catch for the first time in 77 games dating to the eighth game of his rookie year in 2004. Quarterback Jason Campbell threw no passes his way.

Pakulak’s debut

With Hunter Smith sidelined for the first time in his 11 seasons because of a pulled groin suffered on the first punt of last week’s victory over Tampa Bay, Glenn Pakulak made his Redskins debut.

The 29-year-old Pakulak’s first punt traveled just 35 yards and was returned 10 for a 25-yard net, but he recovered to average 38.4 gross and 35.4 net.

Pakulak’s only previous regular-season action in his six years trying to catch on in the NFL was eight games with New Orleans last season.

The Redskins hope Smith will be able to punt this week against Kansas City.

Griffin doesn’t play

Cornelius Griffin came into the game listed as questionable after spraining his left elbow last week. Although he was listed as starting Sunday, the defensive tackle said he played no snaps.

Defensive end Phillip Daniels (stinger), linebacker London Fletcher (neck), safety Reed Doughty (elbow), defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, linebacker Rocky McIntosh and receiver Santana Moss all were shaken up but returned to the game.

Carter’s big day

Defensive end Andre Carter came in with just one sack this season and just five in 22 games dating to December 2007.

The nine-year veteran ended that downturn Sunday, producing a career-high 2.5 sacks while mostly battling Jordan Gross, considered one of the NFL’s better tackles.

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