Monday, September 2, 2013
Redskins practice notes: Meriweather sits
By John Keim
ASHBURN, Va. -- News and notes after Monday's practice:
• Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, trying to return for the opener after ACL surgery on Dec. 15, now has another issue. Meriweather did not practice Monday because of a sore groin, though it's uncertain if this will keep him out of practice when they return Wednesday. If Meriweather cannot play in the opener versus Philadelphia, then veteran Reed Doughty would get the start. Doughty, entering his eight season, is a coach's favorite because of his preparation, understanding of the defense, and consistent tackling. A healthy Meriweather gives them more speed at the position, but he hasn't been healthy in a long time.
• The Redskins named their captains Monday, with two each on offense and defense. The offensive captains: quarterback Robert Griffin III and left tackle Trent Williams. The defensive captains: linebacker London Fletcher and nose tackle Barry Cofield. Also, they named Doughty as the special teams captain Monday. After eight games, they will add a third captain to both the offense and defense and will name a permanent special teams captain.
My take: These were good, obvious choices. I like that Cofield is on the list; he entered with the reputation as a leader but one who lets it happen over time. Cofield has established himself as a strong voice in the locker room and a stand-up guy. Doughty, too, deserves praise. He's become a leader as much by example -- he's in the eighth season of a career many thought might not last one. His approach makes him invaluable.
• There's still no word on who will return punts and kickoffs against the Eagles. Rookie Chris Thompson worked at both spots this summer and returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown in the preseason finale at Tampa Bay. But Thompson said he's not sure if he'll handle this job in the opener. Coach Mike Shanahan said his three potential choices for punt returner are Thompson, Santana Moss or Josh Morgan. The latter has returned one NFL punt, though he did that duty at Virginia Tech.
• Shanahan said the thinking behind keeping four quarterbacks was simple. Pat White was one of their top 53 players, therefore he deserved a spot. How long he lasts on the roster remains to be seen, but just reaching this point after a three-year layoff is good.
A bonus for this week: White can simulate Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in practice.
"He's going to give us a great look," Shanahan said. "He's amazing at what he can do with the zone read. He's been out for a while and for him to execute like he did, as quick as he did, tells me a lot about Pat."
• Shanahan on keeping corner Jerome Murphy and safety Jose Gumbs: "That was pretty easy. Murphy is one heck of a special teams player. When he has played corner, he's played it well. He's got speed, he's got size and he's been dominating on special teams. And Gumbs came in and competed. That's what we tell these players. We don't care if you're a first-round draft choice or a free agent, we're going to play the best players. And Gumbs came in and played well."