The Tuesday Nickel: Rest, Recover, and Retool

The Tuesday Nickel: Our John Keim looks at the five big issues at Redskins Park this week. Among them are the three R's of the bye week.

1. Lemar Marshall and Clinton Portis have high ankle sprains. OK, so they're mild. But any time I hear of a high ankle sprain I think of Jamie Asher and Stephen Davis. And their ankles were bad for a long time. But they also knew at the time that would be the case. This time, the Redskins expect/hope they'll be ready for the Dallas game.

2. Bye week changes. The Redskins won't make many, but here are some I would make. And, no, it's not at quarterback. From what we hear, the coaches aren't sold on Jason Campbell's readiness. So they won't play him until they're out of the playoff chase, at the earliest. And there aren't many positions they can change. But guys who should get more time: Renaldo Wynn on run downs, putting Andre Carter on the bench, and Troy Vincent on passing downs.

3. Has Joe Gibbs lost it? Well, it's hard to argue that he hasn't, what with his apologies to the dozen or so fans who were at Redskins Park last week when the buses left. Goodness sake, shouldn't Gibbs be apologizing for the 2-5 record; the wasted draft picks; the questionable trades and free agent signings? Gibbs mentioned it in his postgame press conference; then his Monday presser and again on the radio. Enough! But Gibbs is trying to keep the fans on the Redskins' side. He knows they're ready to turn on this team. However, I'm guessing the fans would be pacified when Campbell plays, if only because at least they'd feel like they're getting a glimpse of the future. Still, back to Gibbs. He needs to quit harping on things such as Busgate. Certainly, the players have to be wondering what the heck is going on as well. Remember, in their eyes, he's the coach of a team that has gone 18-21 the past two-plus seasons. Those three trophies no longer matter in their eyes.

4. Know the rules. Derrick Frost was attempting a punt on a kickoff because coach Danny Smith sent him out there. But you can only do a punt on a free kick, after a safety. A coach should know this. Also, Antwaan Randle El apparently didn't realize he couldn't leave his feet to celebrate a touchdown (unless he was jumping into the stands or dunking the ball). It's a stupid rule, yes. But it's a rule everyone has been told about since the summer.

5. Health. This is the best part of the bye week, that is if they can get Cornelius Griffin and Carlos Rogers and Portis and others healthy. The Redskins desperately need a healthy Griffin, which they seem to get maybe 10-12 games a year. But he makes a big difference in those games. If he and Joe Salave'a are healthy, it helps Marshall tremendously. He's an OK linebacker with them, a substandard middle backer without them. If they can get healthy and beat Dallas, hey you never know. It'll take a 7-2 mark the rest of the way, but stranger things have happened.


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