|Redskins play 'What's My Line?', make Alexander 2-way player|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 October 2007 12:04|
``It's like going back to high school,'' Alexander said. ``Gridiron football.''
The first-year player is wearing the white jersey of the offense in practice this week, instead of his usual defense burgundy. A remarkable series of injuries has left the Washington Redskins in desperate need of offensive linemen for Sunday's game against Arizona, so they've moved the 300-pound defensive tackle across the line of scrimmage and have made him a guard.
``I've got to know the defensive stuff, too,'' said Alexander, who is attending the offensive line meetings while catching up on the defense's schemes in his spare time. ``It'll be a full-packed weekend, as far as watching film and getting the game plan and stuff.''
Alexander lined up at the first-team left guard in practices on Wednesday and Thursday, participating in the Redskins' version of ``What's My Line?'' Todd Wade, Casey Rabach and Stephon Heyer were all hurt in last week's loss to Green Bay, compounding the serious injuries earlier this season to Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas.
``Every day we're redoing the offensive line,'' assistant coach Joe Bugel said.
Bugel was asked if this week has been more painful than his recent trip to the hospital to have a kidney stone removed.
``Not quite. Not quite,'' Bugel said with a pained shake of the head. ``But it's the first time in my 30 years to lose so many linemen.''
Here's the latest of who's-doing-what, as of Thursday:
-Rabach, the starting center, did not practice again or even put on a jersey. Sidelined by a strained right groin, he appeared gimpy as he worked through some exercises with a trainer. Nevertheless, the glue of the offensive line is intent on taking the field Sunday against the Cardinals.
``I plan on playing,'' Rabach said. ``To miss a game, I'd have to be in a lot of pain.''
-Right tackle Wade (strained right groin) and left guard Kendall (sore knees and hamstring) practiced. Kendall said he was encouraged by his progress, Wade said he was confident, and both appear on pace to play.
-Backup right tackle Heyer's strained hamstring appears more serious than the other injuries. He didn't practice and appears unlikely to play.
-Tackles Kevin Sampson and Justin Geisinger, both signed to the practice squad this week, took speed courses in the game plan in case one of them needs to be promoted to the active roster before Sunday. That almost seems a certainty, given that the team will surely want to have at least three healthy backups.
-Jason Fabini worked on the assumption that he will have to be ready to play tackle or guard on a moment's notice. Mike Pucillo has to be prepared to play both center and guard.
-Left tackle Chris Samuels reflected on his status as the last man standing. After missing much of training camp with a knee injury, he's the only starter not to get hurt during the regular season.
``We're under fire right now,'' Samuels said. ``We have to jell as quick as we can.''
Alexander, who went undrafted out of California, hasn't played both ways in a game since high school, but he caught the eye of the offensive coaches last year when was signed to the practice squad and ran plays for the scout team. He worked out with the offense during spring practices before returning to the defensive fold for training camp.
``There's a great example of a guy who's been handed nothing in this league and had to earn it,'' assistant coach Gregg Williams said. ``Here's a guy who has a real chance to be a story this week. You could see him play in the special teams, you could see him play on offense, you could see him play on defense, all in the same game. That speaks volumes for his versatility. The old adage: The more you can do, the safer you are. I think he can do quite a bit.''
Notes: The Redskins had no new word on CB Shawn Springs' father, Ron Springs, who was hospitalized in a coma in Dallas. Williams usually requires a player to practice during the week to take part in a game, but the coach said he will make an exception to that rule if Shawn Springs returns this weekend. ``When he gets back, he'll play a role in whatever we do,'' Williams said. ``If he wants to play to honor his father, he'll play. If he's here by kickoff and he wants to play, he'll play.'' ... LB Marcus Washington remains limited in practice with a sore hamstring.