- The Washington Times - Monday, November 19, 2012

An already depleted Washington Redskins defense could be without two cornerstone starters Thursday, in addition to the season-ending injury to safety Brandon Meriweather.

Middle linebacker London Fletcher (left ankle sprain) and cornerback Josh Wilson (left shoulder strain) were hurt in Sunday’s 31-6 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, and are uncertain for the Redskins’ game at the Dallas Cowboys.

Fletcher was wearing a walking boot on his left foot Monday, and coach Mike Shanahan said there is concern about his availability.

The veteran is tied for the active NFL record for consecutive games played with 234.

“Anytime you’ve got an ankle sprain, you’re not really sure,” Shanahan said. “Knowing London, he’ll be back if possible. But we’ll have to evaluate it day by day.”

Wilson was hurt late in Sunday’s game. Shanahan called it a “second-degree strain of the rotator cuff.” No other information was immediately available about the severity of the injury.

Garcon reports no setbacks

Pierre Garcon was not a major piece of the offense Sunday in his return from a sprained right foot, but the wide receiver did not appear to make it worse.

“I felt all right, felt all right, felt good,” Garcon said. “No setbacks.”

Garcon made three catches for 5 yards, playing fewer than half of the offensive snaps. But Shanahan was pleased.

“I was impressed with the way he ran the routes in comparison to how he looked after he came back from New Orleans. That was encouraging,” the coach said. “He’s had a couple weeks of getting back in football shape; he made some plays in that game. Obviously didn’t get the ball in a couple of those plays, but you could see that he could separate and do some things that give you a chance to win.”

It’s hard to argue that Garcon didn’t look more effective than his previous two attempts to play. But he wasn’t close to 100 percent.

“Um, no, I can’t really say I’m close to where I want to be,” Garcon said. “But I’ve just got to keep pushing, keep dealing with it and keep moving forward.”

Thursday’s game at Cowboys Stadium presents a different variable: turf that could make dealing with the injury difficult.

“The big question now is can he do it on the turf where it’s a little bit harder, a little bit tougher to run on for a guy like him going through the type of pain he’s dealing with on the bottom of his foot,” Shanahan said.

Morris as third-down back

Rookie Alfred Morris often states his desire to become a complete NFL running back. His promotion to third-down back Sunday was an important step toward that goal.

Shanahan replaced second-year running back Evan Royster with Morris, and Morris played nine of the Redskins’ 11 third downs.

“He told me he was going to give me an opportunity to do it, and I really am thankful because he’s trying to help me become a complete back,” Morris said. “I thank coach for believing in me.”

Morris did a variety of things on third downs.

He picked up a pass rush only one time. His cut block against linebacker DeMeco Ryans that helped open a lane for quarterback Robert Griffin III to hit receiver Joshua Morgan on a slant for 6 yards on third-and-7 in the second quarter.

“I didn’t really see no pressure, so that was kind of unfortunate because I wanted to work on it,” Morris said.

• Rich Campbell can be reached at rcampbell@washingtontimes.com.

• Stephen Whyno can be reached at swhyno@washingtontimes.com.

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