Redskins still positive; with Brunell, Portis, Moss ailing

Updated: October 24, 2006, 5:24 PM ET
Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. -- No one's talking about packing it in around these parts, even though the Washington Redskins are in last place at 2-5, have glaring problems on offense, defense and special teams and are the most-penalized team in the league.

Oh yeah, and they're dealing with a variety of injuries of varying degrees of seriousness up and down the roster.

"Everybody's spirits are still up," defensive lineman Phillip Daniels said after a light practice Tuesday. "Nobody's pointing their fingers or anything."

Still, consider: Coach Joe Gibbs declared Tuesday a day for working on the passing game on both sides of the ball -- and quarterback Mark Brunell watched with his hands in his pockets, sidelined by a strained rib muscle.

The plan for Wednesday is to focus on the running game -- and starting back Clinton Portis won't be taking part because of a sprained left ankle.

Thanks to the bye week, the players then will get to take a midseason mini-vacation, getting Thursday through Sunday off.

"A breath of fresh air," Gibbs called it. "You need that during the season, win or lose."

Cornerback Carlos Rogers sure seemed to think so. After missing Sunday's 36-22 loss at Indianapolis with a broken thumb, Rogers was out on the practice field Tuesday, though he still can't catch balls because of the injury.

He's ready for the time away -- and thinks his teammates are, too.

"I hope this break is going to help us," Rogers said. "We need this to get away from each other -- coaches get away from the players. Players get away from the coaches. Just think about some things, and hopefully we can make a turnaround. Our spirits are where we need to be. We're still showing a positive attitude. We still have a chance to make the playoffs."

The Redskins will get back to work Monday to begin serious preparations for their next game, at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 5.

That also marks the beginning of the rest of the season, and as Portis put it: "If we can go 1-0 each week and not look at the big picture ... we've still got a shot."

He said he thinks it's a matter of a couple of days until he'll be out of the knee-high walking boot that's protecting his left ankle. Wide receiver Santana Moss, expected to miss practice anyway because of a strained hamstring, missed Tuesday's session because he was at the dentist's office for a root canal.

Running back Rock Cartwright, offensive tackle Chris Samuels, wideout Antwaan Randle El and linebacker Marcus Washington didn't practice, either.

In addition to Rogers' return, there was some good news on the injury front Tuesday: Defensive tackles Joe Salave'a and Cornelius Griffin did practice.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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