- The Washington Times - Friday, September 4, 2009

Despite having seven starters unavailable for Thursday nights preseason finale at Jacksonville, Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn said today that injuries wont be a factor when the team finalizes the 53-man roster before Saturdays 4 p.m. deadline.

“Nothing compelling that would hold us up,” Zorn said.

The starters who didnt play - running back Clinton Portis (rest), cornerback Carlos Rogers (calf), linebacker London Fletcher (foot), right guard Randy Thomas (knee), tight end Chris Cooley (thumb), defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (flu) and defensive end Phillip Daniels (knee) - all are expected to practice Monday.

Zorn said the Redskins have more tough decisions to make than they did last year, noting the position battles at No. 3 quarterback and reserve defensive back. He added that the coaches have seen enough to make a decision on kickers Shaun Suisham and Dave Rayner.

“Im going to lean heavily on Danny [Smith, special teams coach] and hell lean heavily on me,” Zorn said.

One surprise from the news conference: Zorn raved about right tackle Mike Williams, who played like a guy who has been out of the league for three years.

Zorn said Williams played 50 snaps.

“I think Ive seen enough from Mike Williams,” he said. “I thought he battled well. Based on our evaluation, I think he stands a good chance [of making the team]. Im still not going to make the decision yet. He was powerful against their No. 2 defensive end, and Im going to be anxious to hear [Joe Bugels] evaluation.”

Other notes from the brief news conference:

* Running back Marcus Mason was limited to three carries because of a rib injury. “We kept him limited to special teams and kept him out of the backfield running the ball much,” Zorn said. “I thought he had a very good preseason. I would have liked to see him more, but we couldnt do that.

* Zorn said running back Anthony Alridge remains under consideration despite a rocky preseason that included a toe injury and fumbling problems.

“Hes definitely [under] consideration because of his talent, his acceleration, and he came back off that foot and has had no re-occurrence,” Zorn said. “The fumble [kickoff return] is a concern. We put him back in there, and he again didnt have the same result. He actually did hold on to the ball, he ran the ball and caught the ball as well.”

* Zorn said his message to the young players has been to take this camp as a learning and improvement tool.

“The one thing I talked to them about early in the preseason is theyre bettering themselves whether they make this football team or not,” he said. “Theyre constantly putting effort into improving themselves. And its not over if they dont make the team. That keeps a ballplayer at least optimistic when hes trying to look at his situation.”

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