ASHBURN, Va. – Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo said he would be limited in practice, so it was no surprise that, for the second day, he indeed took part in only a small portion of the practice.
Orakpo also said his sprained right ankle wouldn't prevent him from playing Sunday against Houston.
“No worries,” he said. “I should be good.”
The Redskins need him to be, considering his importance to the pass rush. If Orakpo can’t play, rookie Trent Murphy would take over. That represents a potentially big drop-off considering how much the coaches ask of the outside linebackers, and it would be Murphy’s first game.
But the coaches expect Murphy won’t have to replace anyone.
“I expect [Orakpo] to play and play well,” Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “He usually does play well when he plays.”
In other notes:
For Houston, every player practiced in full except for tight end Garrett Graham, who did not practice for a second consecutive day because of his back.
This isn’t a surprise, but Andre Roberts will be the No. 1 kick and punt returner Sunday, Gruden said. The Redskins could use Santana Moss for an occasional punt return, but Roberts has the speed to threaten teams in both roles. Plus he has experience (though only 16 career kickoff returns and none in the past two years).
Defensive end Jason Hatcher said his knee feels close to 100 percent, but it’s not as if he doesn’t feel some soreness in his knee. “I have my days,” he said. “It’s football; you’re going to be hurting. But not to the point where I have to miss practices. I just have to stay on top of it and rehab and manage it during the season and take it from there.” As far as his conditioning, Hatcher said he took all the snaps in practice this week and isn’t worried about that aspect for Sunday. “The momentum of the game and the adrenaline I have will take me through the game,” he said. “Once I get between those lines, I’m playing.”
For what it’s worth, quarterback Robert Griffin III was the last player off the field Thursday. He spent a good 20 minutes working with tight ends Jordan Reed and Logan Paulsen, with tight ends coach Wes Phillips and offensive coordinator Sean McVay. On a side field, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw to receiver Leonard Hankerson. It’s hard to imagine Hankerson will need to stay on the physically unable to perform list for more than six weeks, but we’ll see.