ASHBURN -- So, where were we...
Oh, that's right. The Washington Redskins' thrilling 31-30 win over Tampa Bay on Oct. 25, while a great memory, is the past. Facing the frightening and undefeated New England Patriots is the scary post-Halloween and post-bye week task. The 3-4 Redskins returned to work Monday. They did so tied in the loss column with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, and one game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys.
The question entering Monday's practice session involved which players would return to working on the field. The Redskins defeated Tampa Bay without numerous starters including DeSean Jackson, Chris Culliver and Ryan Kerrigan, who exited early with a hand injury that required surgery.
Coach Jay Gruden declined to offer any updates following Monday's "bonus" practice. Teams typically don't begin injury reports until Wednesday.
The players did offer early assessments on their potential availability, including Jackson, who participated in some portions of practice open to the media. Jackson, out since the first quarter of Week 1 with a hamstring injury, ran routes with the receivers including some that required cutting, but he largely watched when the defensive backs joined the group. Speaking briefly with reporters in the locker room, Jackson said, "I'm at the point right now I'm ready to go" and "Everything's a green light." The real test will come when he tests the hamstring later in the week.
Culliver (knee) missed the last three games after playing nowhere near 100 percent in the Oct. 2 win over Philadelphia. He and fellow corner DeAngelo Hall (toe) also watched team drills. It remains uncertain whether Culliver can go Sunday. Considering the opponent, the Redskin could certainly use him.
Asked about his potential availability for Sunday, Culliver paused before saying,"Um, just playing. If I can go 70 plays I'm gonna go. Just keep progressing. That's the thing right now. Just trying to progress every day and just keep going up." He added the knee "feels real good" following the bye week. Culliver also said he fluid drained from the injured knee a couple of weeks ago.
Hall revealed he has Grade 2 partial plantar plate tear in his right foot. Though serious, the injury isn't season ending.
Kerrigan broke his right hand against Tampa Bay and underwent surgery soon after. In that sense, the bye week came at just the right time.
"If there is a time to break your hand, it's then," Kerrigan joked. "The rest was for sure helpful. Hopefully throughout the week I can feel better ...and will be able to roll Sunday."
Kerrigan will meet Thursday with the surgeon who performed the procedure for a checkup. The hope is he can go. If so, he won't have his bandaged like a club the way lineman do at times. He needs those digits free whether trying to sack Tom Brady, tackle running backs or tangle with blockers. "I'll have the hand covered up, but I need my fingers and thumb free," Kerrigan said. "At that point, if you're playing with a club, you're kind of just out there. You're not really functioning properly."
Chris Thompson (back) and Kory Lichtensteiger (shoulder/neck), also out against the Bucs, were on the field. Thompson, out in Week 7 against Tampa Bay, also said he's feeling better, but couldn't say if he would be ready for the Patriots.
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland's hamstring, injured while making arguably the game-saving tackle against the Bucs, is another scenario to watch this week. Breeland didn't return after chasing down Bucs RB Doug Martin in the final minutes of the game. For now, even he isn't sure what to think about his status for Sunday's meeting against an offense with a league-high 20 touchdown passes.