Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said it's doubtful that Samuels will play, barring a ''big recovery.'' And Spurrier said guard Brendan Stai is ''very doubtful'' for Sunday's game against the Colts.
All of this means guard Tre Johnson might actually play Sunday. He won't start at right guard--Wilbert Brown will take care of that. But Johnson has picked up Spurrier's offense enough that he might contribute immediately. Spurrier said Wednesday that it appeared Johnson hadn't done much to stay in shape.
But to those of us who watched Johnson in his first stint in Washington, we can safely say this: Johnson doesn't look much different. Still, it will take him time to work into game shape.
Also, the Redskins will start Alex Sulfsted at left tackle, if Samuels can't play. Sulfsted had a good showing in a relief stint against Green Bay. But he'll face Chad Bratzke, a tough task. Some might say too tough for a first start.
. . . One person who could factor at guard is Kipp Vickers, nearly recovered from his arthroscopic knee surgery. During a drill on Wednesday, line coach Kim Helton shouted to Vickers, ''You're looking quick! Welcome back Kipp Vickers!''
. . . When Ross Tucker was cut by the Redskins, few of his linemates were surprised. One vet said Tucker wasn't any better than Brown or Sulfsted. Someone had to go, so it was Tucker. But Tucker is an easy person to root for and we certainly wish him well. He's as smart as advertised and often corrected his position coaches on the plays--he knew them better than they did at times. But in many ways Tucker was hurt because he was a holdover from the previous regime. Brown and David Loverne weren't.
. . . The Redskins worked out end Keith McKenzie Thursday, but don't look for them to sign the veteran end any time soon. One Redskins source called it a routine workout, saying they did it in essence to have a file on him since he was available. But Tre Johnson was excited about McKenzie's presence, having spent a year with him in Cleveland. ''He can still ball,'' Johnson told teammates, in an excited tone.
. . . Much was made of Spurrier telling one local reporter that he planned on returning next year. Six games into the season, what else would he say? But we expect him to return, too, despite rumors about his frustrations. And those are serious ones. Spurrier is used to instant gratification and isn't getting it in Washington. Word around the league says the Spurrier-Snyder marriage will last only two years. We'll see.
. . . We also weren't surprised that the Jon Jansen negotiations stalled. We knew that Jansen's side felt the originial deal was too backloaded--why sign a deal like that now? Jansen constantly says he wants to return to Washington, but he also clearly wears an exasperated and hurt look when discussing this situation. Not sure if he's ever felt fully appreciated here--but he is willing to stay.
. . . The Redskins have a chance to win the next two games, jumping back into playoff contention. Problem is, the lines on both side of the ball are hurting. We know the problems of the offensive line, but the D-line is hurting nearly as bad. End Renaldo Wynn has played with a bad knee, Dan Wilkinson a bad wrist and tackle Daryl Gardener has his own back problems. Then there's the 39-year-old Bruce Smith. Any second half run requires that this group stays healthy.
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