Practice notes: Cofield eyes season opener

Washington Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield made fun of left tackle Trent Williams for wearing a club in practice. And then he got hurt against Pittsburgh.

“Karma,” said Cofield, wearing a purple cast on his right hand, after practice. He broke it Monday against Pittsburgh.

But Cofield said he still didn’t know whether or not he’d have to wear a club on his hand, whether in practice or a game. What he does know is that he should be ready for the Sept. 9 season opener versus Philadelphia. Coach Mike Shanahan said if they had a regular-season game this weekend rather than a preseason one, Cofield would play.

“I feel optimistic,” Cofield said. “I’m not concerned. You play through pain. You play through injury. Teammates have a high expectation of me. They count on me to perform and to lead, and that’s my goal. I feel confident.”

  • Safety Brandon Meriweather got “a lot of good reps today”, Shanahan said. Meriweather, recovering from ACL surgery, worked all of last week with the scout team. It represented progress because it was the most days in a row he had practiced. However, Shanahan said, “He looked a little sore on the last day.”Considering the issues at safety, the Redskins need Meriweather to open the season healthy. They’ve missed too many tackles at safety, many times because of poor angles to the ball.

  • Veteran linebacker Nick Barnett, signed early in camp, will make his preseason debut Saturday. Barnett, who has worked behind London Fletcherat inside linebacker, said his transition has been eased because the defense is similar to what he played in Green Bay three years ago. Barnett spent the past two years in Buffalo, whom the Redskins play Saturday. “I have no animosity to the players or anybody, but it will be fun to play against them.”The Redskins need depth at inside linebacker, so they need Barnett to be healthy and still productive. Their top backup for now is veteran Bryan Kehl, known more for his special teams play than anything he’s done from scrimmage.

  • Receiver Donte Stallworth, who missed last week with a hamstring injury, returned to practice. So, too, did receivers Aldrick Robinson (thigh) and Leonard Hankerson (knee), both of whom were hurt against Pittsburgh. Running back Keiland Williams(knee) did not practice.The Redskins would need to keep at least six receivers in order for Stallworth to make the final roster. He can play special teams, which helps his case, but he’s spent too much time lately with a sore hamstring. It’s likely that veteran Dez Briscoe would be his main competition for the sixth spot. Briscoe’s hands have been inconsistent this summer.

  • Shanahan said he's not sure how much his starters will play against Buffalo. In the past, they've gone into the third quarter. But with a quick turnaround after Monday's game, they're not expected to play as much. To compensate, Shanahan said he kept most of the starters in a little longer against the Steelers. It's still doubtful that the starters would play in the preseason finale at Tampa Bay.