- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 19, 2009

Anthony Montgomery knew he had lost all chance of regaining his starting job the moment the Washington Redskins signed defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth on the first day of free agency seven months ago.

Montgomery lost his place in the starting lineup to Kedric Golston last season and re-signed with the club March 25 as a restricted free agent. After Haynesworth signed, he still expected to join Golston as half of the regular rotation behind starters Haynesworth and Cornelius Griffin.

Instead, the Redskins listed Montgomery as inactive for the season-opening loss to the New York Giants. Lorenzo Alexander, who also can line up at end and plays on special teams, took his spot. Coach Jim Zorn chose to keep rookie Marko Mitchell active as a fifth receiver rather than suit up Montgomery as a fifth defensive tackle.

“I got caught up in the numbers game,” Montgomery said. “The whole week of practice, they never said for sure I would be down. But I got a call Sunday morning saying I could be [playing], so be ready. Twenty minutes before the game, they told I me was [inactive].”

The game marked the first healthy scratch for Montgomery since 2006.

“Obviously, I would like to be out there playing, but that’s the decision they made,” Montgomery said. “I have to live with it.”

And now Montgomery has to live with a roughness in his right knee that limited him in practice Thursday and kept him out Friday. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against St. Louis.

“It’s been a gradual thing over time since training camp,” Montgomery said. “[Thursday], it hurt too much to keep practicing, but it ain’t nothing major.”

Montgomery was joined on the sideline Sunday by defensive end Renaldo Wynn, who started for the Redskins from 2002-05 before becoming a backup with Washington (2006), New Orleans (2007) and the Giants (2008).

At 35, Wynn knows he’s near the finish of his 13-year career and is happy to serve as a mentor to rookie end Jeremy Jarmon, who debuted ahead of him last week.

“I kind of had a sense [I wasn’t going to play] once we started practicing,” Wynn said of being listed as a healthy scratch for just the fourth time in his career. “I was prepared for it, which was better than not knowing at all. … Once I get in there, I’m going to make it hard for them [to take me out].”

Offensive tackle Chris Samuels, whose work was limited in practice Thursday, rejoined his teammates for full practice Friday and is slated to start Sunday. The Redskins listed cornerback Fred Smoot (rib) as probable and said he took limited work Friday.

Takeaway types

The Rams were spanked 28-0 by Seattle in the season opener, but they showed that their 12 preseason takeaways weren’t a fluke.

St. Louis forced three turnovers in the first quarter but didn’t cash in on any of them - even the fumble recovered by rookie linebacker James Laurinaitis at the Seattle 38.

Free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe’s 14 interceptions since 2006 are the second-most in the NFL. Strong safety James Butler, who played on first-year coach Steve Spagnoulo’s Giants defenses, picked off Matt Hasselbeck at the St. Louis 19 to end the Seahawks’ first drive.

“They have great players back there,” Redskins tight end Chris Cooley said. “They’re very athletic and are extremely smart, which makes them ballhawks because they have a good knowledge of the game.”

On the flip side, the Redskins, who forced an NFC-low 18 turnovers last season, caused two in the season-opening loss to the Giants. Washington recorded more than two takeaways just once last year, when rookie safety Chris Horton intercepted two passes and forced a fumble by New Orleans in Week 2.

Brennan on the mend

Colt Brennan, the Redskins’ third-string quarterback last season, is expected to need three months before he can resume athletic activity after hip surgery.

Zorn said Monday’s operation revealed that the small tear in his labrum, which was repaired, was the cause of Brennan’s ailing hamstring during the preseason. The 26-year-old had a similar operation on the other hip during the 2008 offseason.

Ryan O’Halloran contributed to this report.

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