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CARLISLE, Pa.,--Everything made him feel like a rookie again. He returned punts, he practiced at Dickinson College and he even bumped into a few familiar faces.

It's a return to an old life for Darrell Green. But Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer views him as a young player for another reason: techniques.

For years Green relied on speed to bail him out of any situation. It usually worked, evidenced by his seven Pro Bowls. But Green never battled for a job like he is this summer. So his fundamentals have increased in importance.

The Redskins' coach said Green never has been strong with his technique.

''I would have to say, in all candor, probably not,'' Schottenheimer said. ''But he's improving considerably. We've got to draw a line here somewhere. I don't want to take away from his natural instinctive playmaking ability. At the same time I want to see if we can help him with some things we believe in. From a slow start, over the last four practices, he's been much improved.''

Green has listened to the coaches tips. At 41, he knows his game must evolve in order for him to remain on the team. He's currently listed first on the depth chart, but he and Donovan Greer have split time with the first unit.

Green will start Sunday at Kansas City. But the job is far from his, a point Schottenheimer has emphasized.

Schottenheimer has focused on Green's footwork and reading his keys.

''Darrell is making every effort to do it the way we do it,'' Schottenheimer said. ''As you become an older player and your skills diminish--and I'm just speaking in general terms--then you'd better be really sound fundamentally. If you're not you'll get beat.''

Green has survived with incredible speed and instincts. In the past he could compensate for a mistake with his blazing speed. His speed hasn't decreased much. But the coaches worry that, with poor techniques, he might have more mistakes to overcome and more receivers to chase down, from a further distance.

''If you try to rely on your skills alone, for a period of time you may be successful,'' Schottenheimer said. ''But ultimately it will get you. You're going to come up against a guy as talented as you are. And if he does it better from a fundamental standpoint you're not going to win.''

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. . . Center Cory Raymer missed practice because of fluid on his knee, the same one he had surgically repaired last season. Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer said he didn't think it was related to his previous injury.

''My knee is fine, I just tweaked it [Tuesday] and woke up with a little swelling,'' Raymer said. ''Other than that I think they're just granting me a nice day.''

Raymer, who missed all of last season, said he'd return Thursday and will play Sunday vs. Kansas City. He also said his knee has responded well this summer and even withstood a painful test.

''I took a real good hit [Monday],'' he said. ''I'm glad it happened. It's one of those things that, without the knee brace, might have been more serious. But I took a good hit and it responded very well.''

Receiver Michael Westbrook, also recovering from major knee surgery, had the day off as well. He's expected to return Thursday.

. . . Already ruled out for Sunday's game: quarterback Jeff George (shoulder) and guard Ross Tucker (knee) with tight end Stephen Alexander highly doubtful. Schottenheimer hopes the latter can return from his injury on Tuesday, the first day back at practice after the preseason game.

. . . Guard Ben Coleman (knee) is doubtful for Sunday. He's locked in a battle with Mookie Moore for the right guard job. Moore was moved to the right side earlier this week and is starting.

. . . End Marco Coleman (back) returned to practice yesterday morning, but did not take part in contact drills. He's questionable for Sunday. Linebacker Kevin Mitchell (ankle) also returned, but he, too, is limited in contact. He participated in the seven-on-seven drills, after the players had shed their shoulder pads for soft shells.

. . . Running back Jamaal Dinkins suffered a mild concussion yesterday and is day-to-day.

. . . Defensive tackle Mario Monds has shed 15 pounds and now is down to 324. But he's still behind Del Cowsette and Jerry DeLoach on the depth chart.

''[Monds] is starting to understand how you have to work to get better,'' Schottenheimer said.

. . . Winston October, listed at 5-foot-8, has an uphill battle to make the roster. But a sparkling debut as a punt returner Sunday would certainly help.

''He obviously has to perform at a high level to warrant keeping him if he's only going to be in the role of a return specialist,'' Schottenheimer said. ''I'm anxious to see him return punts, but I'm equally anxious to see how he performs in the game as well. He has a lot of quickness and he's improved his consistency of catching the ball, which is the most important part where he's improved.''

. . . Tackle Chris Samuels let it be known Wednesday: he beat end Kenard Lang, 46-6, in John Madden football on Playstation2.

''Kenard is no competition,'' Samuels said. ''[Receiver] Willie Spencer is real good. He's beaten me but lately I've beat up on him.''

. . . Former Redskins tight end Donnie Warren attended practice today.


John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.

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