- The Washington Times - Friday, September 23, 2011

Washington Redskins strong safety LaRon Landry did not test his ailing hamstring at full speed during Friday’s rainy practice, and he remains a game-time decision for Monday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. “It was a little sore, but we’ll see what happens Monday,” he said.

Landry said he practiced today at “70, 80 percent.” Coach Mike Shanahan will decide whether he plays.

“It’s up to him to protect the players and put the players out there who are able to perform,” Landry said.

The Redskins could use a healthy Landry to help cover Dallas tight end Jason Witten, who had 10 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown during these teams’ last meeting. Considering Cowboys receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) is expected to miss the game and receiver Dez Bryant (thigh) did not practice Friday, Witten will be an even bigger part of their offense.

“We just have to make sure when he’s ready that he knows everything we’re doing because he hasn’t played in a long time,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Thursday.

RG Chester getting comfortable on the O-line

Right guard Chris Chester believes he has made significant progress blocking in the Redskins‘ zone running scheme in the eight weeks since he signed a free-agent contract with the Redskins.

The proof is running back Tim Hightower’s 20-yard run through the right side in the second quarter against Arizona. His combination block with center Will Mongomery helped make that play.

Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Docket lined up between Montgomery and Chester with play-side leverage on Montgomery. When the play started to the right, Chester chipped Dockett enough for Montgomery to get to Dockett’s play-side shoulder and seal him inside. Chester then released to block linebacker Paris Lenon, and Hightower was through.

“Maybe earlier in the season he would have left too quickly, he would have left a little slower, whatever it is,” offensive line coach Chris Foerster said. “Chris is getting a better feel for how it is.”

Chester agreed. “More than anything, the timing of combo blocks with guard and tackle and getting a feel for that is what I feel like I’ve improved the most on,” he said.

Aussie rewarded for punishing tackle

Punter Sav Rocca received the Redskins special teams hit stick following last Sunday’s win against Arizona for his game-ending hit on punt returner Patrick Peterson. The stick is awarded after every Redskins win to the player who had the best hit on special teams.

Rocca said he’s the first punter ever to receive it.

“It’s an honor,” he said. “I was rapped about it.”

For those who aren’t from down under like Sav is, “rapped” means extremely happy.

Cooley closer to returning to form

The third chapter in tight end Chris Cooley’s return from his knee injury will be written Monday night. He has played 75 snaps compared to Fred Davis’ 114, but how much of the disparity is due to the knee isn’t totally clear.

Cooley still has played a significant amount, which has pleasantly surprised some coaches who initially feared he’d miss the start of the season.

“When you’re out for a month and you’re not able to practice in pads and your first time in pads is a game situation, you feel little bit uncomfortable,” Shanahan said. “That’s what Chris is talking about. Every time Chris plays in pads and practices in pads, he’s feeling better, he feels like he’s more ready to do what he’s capable of doing.”

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