- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2012

One of the keys to quarterback Robert Griffin III’s success in his rookie season with the Washington Redskins is an offensive line that should keep him healthy and off the ground more often than not. On Day 1 of training camp, that line took a significant hit.

Right tackle Jammal Brown was placed on the physically unable to perform list with hip soreness, a nagging problem that caused him to miss four games last season.

“You knew it was sore. You knew it could happen at any time, something like this,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “You’re just hoping it’s a little flare-up, nothing major.”

Shanahan said Brown felt sore Thursday morning after running sprints Wednesday. There’s no timetable for his return, and the coach said the next step is evaluating the severity of the injury.

“I think it’s really hard for him. He’s been working extremely hard to get in football shape. He is in excellent shape,” Shanahan said. “He’s got a setback. We’ll get a chance for the doctors to look at it and see how it is.”

With Brown out, Tyler Polumbus took snaps with the first string Thursday. According to Shanahan, it’ll be a competition among Polumbus, Maurice Hurt and Willie Smith until Brown is ready.

This could be a chance for Polumbus, signed during last season by the Redskins, to show he belongs.

“He’s very capable. He’s a veteran in this league,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “I don’t see why he can’t step in and we still be going at full stride.”

And having a full training camp to work in Shanahan’s system could be just what the 27-year-old needs.

“Anytime you get more reps and more time in the system it’s better,” he said. “The longer I’m here, the more comfortable I get and hopefully the better I play.”

Running back Tristan Davis (knee) and safety Tanard Jackson (calf) also were put on the PUP list.

Cornerback Chase Minnifield, a rookie out of Virginia, was placed on injured reserve after tearing his ACL in minicamp.

Hightower easing back

Tim Hightower knows full well he’s in a battle with Evan Royster and Roy Helu for the starting running back job.

“Those guys, they got me with my hands full,” he said. “I got some work cut out for me.”

Even more so starting less than full-speed after tearing the ACL in his left knee last season. Hightower said he felt “a lot better” than even a few months ago, but Royster took carries with the first unit.

That was by design, as Shanahan doesn’t want Hightower to rush back.

“I told Tim, he’s such a competitor, I said anytime you have an ACL, especially as a running back, your tendency is, ‘Hey I feel good.’ I said, ‘Just don’t overdo it. Just take a few reps here and there, go through your drill work,’” Shanahan said. “Tim’s one of those guys that he doesn’t want to give up a rep. But he’s smart enough to know that he’s got to be ready by that first regular-season game, not by the first preseason game.”

Schedule flips

In training camps in the past, the Redskins practiced full-go in the mornings and used the hotter afternoons for walk-throughs. That’s flipped this year, with the full practice open to fans in the afternoon.

Despite the heat Thursday, players voiced support for the new schedule, which allows them to lift and go through meetings early and then implement new plays in the afternoon.

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