Redskins notes: Return duties unsettled

ASHBURN, Va. -- Strong safety Brandon Meriweather was limited in practice because of his groin injury, though his knee is not an issue, coach Mike Shanahan said.

“Hopefully he’s full speed tomorrow,” Shanahan said.

Every other Redskins player was full-go, including nose tackle Barry Cofield and his club-enclosed right hand.

QB watch: Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said there was a simple explanation for having Pat White stay on the roster, even with three quarterbacks ahead of him.

“When you think a guy does have a future and he’s part of your best 53, then I think it makes it easy,” Shanahan said.

The question is: how long will they carry four quarterbacks? The Redskins have a few weeks in which they could afford to keep an extra player at this position, with roster exemptions for suspended defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and linebacker Rob Jackson. But when those two return after four weeks, two roster moves must be made.

“I don’t think it’s something you’re going to do year in and year out, but when the roster shakes up that way that your fourth guy is one of your best 53, then we will do it,” Shanahan said. “We’ll see what that case is next year. We’ll see if that continues throughout the whole year, but it’s a week-by-week thing. We’ve always got to keep our best 53 and he’s definitely one of those right now.”

Surprising safety: Another player few would have projected on the roster at the start of training camp, safety Jose Gumbs, earned a spot last week. He was signed right before camp started but impressed the coaches with his raw ability.

Here's what defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said about him: “He’s a guy that doesn’t even fully understand the defense yet, but he’s a guy that we thought was flying around, would make tackles, had good cover ability, was fearless, had pretty good football instinct -- things that you don’t have, and we think he will get better and better once he gets within the scheme. He came in late and I was really impressed with what he did the last couple of games. We kept all those guys based off their production in the preseason games. That’s why those games are important.”

Return duty: The Redskins still aren’t sure who will return punts Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. Rookie Chris Thompson has fielded more punts in practice than the other candidates, Santana Moss and Josh Morgan, but only because he’s by far the least experienced in this area.

Thompson said catching punts off the Jugs machine in practice is good, but it’s not the same as fielding live punts. The ball is easy to read off the machine, but not off a punter’s foot and that’s been his biggest adjustment.

“We’ll see how he does this week and get a gut feel before the Monday night game and then make a decision,” Mike Shanahan said.