Lachey's first practice helps ease Redskins' pain Lineman says knee 'felt good'

November 26, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- Jim Lachey passed his first test yesterday.

The Washington Redskins' Pro Bowl offensive tackle had no problems in his first practice session since he was sidelined with a knee injury against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 12.

"He looked very good for his first practice," said offensive line coach Jim Hanifan. "He didn't look tentative or apprehensive."

"I didn't have any problems," Lachey said. "It felt good."

Hanifan, though, said he'd wait until later in the week to decide whether he'd start Lachey against the Phoenix Cardinals on Sunday.

Lachey's possible return is being welcomed by the Redskins because they're still hampered by several injuries.

If Lachey and cornerback Darrell Green, who practiced with the first unit yesterday and seems likely to start this week, can both return, they'll offset some of the team's injury problems.

As the team started drills for the game against the Cardinals, nine players were on the injury report and 10 players weren't able to practice. Lachey isn't even on the report because he hasn't been officially taken off the injured reserve list.

The team declared A.J. Johnson (knee) and Eric Williams (torn muscle in his abdomen) out of the game and listed two more, tight end Donnie Warren (shoulder) and safety Danny Copeland (back) as doubtful, which means they only have a 25 percent chance of playing.

Two more, offensive linemen Joe Jacoby (back) and Ed Simmons (knee), are questionable, which means they're supposed to have a 50-50 shot of playing.

Besides those six players, the four others who didn't practice were guard Mark Schlereth (knee), tight end Terry Orr (knee), defensive tackle Tim Johnson (back) and linebacker Wilber VTC Marshall (hand).

Johnson and Marshall aren't on the injury report, so they should play and one of the players on the injury report, defensive end Fred Stokes (knee), did practice, although he may not start.

"I've never seen the likes of it in my entire life before at any level of football," Hanifan said of the high number of injuries.

The Redskins plan to bring Lachey and tight end James Jenkins back from the injured list, but will wait until later in the week to make the moves official.

Both Lachey and coach Joe Gibbs said that there was no pressure put on Lachey to return. "I think he's got to tell us [he wants to come back]. That's the way it should be," Gibbs said.

Lachey said: "It's probably more myself putting that mental pressure on me than it is anybody else. When you're a competitor, you want to be out playing."

Lachey, who made his first road trip with the team to New Orleans since he suffered the injury, said it's difficult to sit on the sidelines.

"When the team wins, you feel like they win and when they lose, you feel like you lose so it's a no-win situation," he said.

Even if Lachey starts, Hanifan isn't sure whether Simmons can go at the other tackle position.

The only thing they know for sure is that they'll be starting their seventh different offensive line unit in 12 games.

If Simmons can't go, guard Ray Brown will move to right tackle and Mike Haight -- cut by two teams this year -- will start at left guard and Raleigh McKenzie will start at right guard. That would be the fourth position McKenzie's started in the line this year.

Schlereth also refuses to rule himself out at right guard, but the Redskins seem to think it's unlikely he'll start because of his bad knee. He'll probably try and convince them he can play.

"I've got tremendous admiration and respect for that young man," Hanifan said. "He's a throwback."

Despite all their problems, the Redskins still think they'll put something together down the stretch.

Lachey said: "We're lucky to be in the position we are with all the losses we have. We can still realize and have all the dreams that we want out of this season if we can put a string together."

NOTES: Owner Jack Kent Cooke has opened talks again with city officials about building a new stadium in the District of Columbia now that the plan to build one in Virginia has collapsed. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, who called Cooke a "billionaire bully" when he made the Virginia deal, hasn't been involved in the talks.

Hurtin' for certain

The Redskins are still banged up. A look at their injury report:

P Player Injury

S Danny Copeland Neck

OT Joe Jacoby Back

DB A.J. Johnson* Knee

TE Terry Orr Knee

OG Mark Schlereth Knee

OT Ed Simmons Knee

DE Fred Stokes Knee

TE Don Warren Shoulder

DT Eric Williams* Abdomen

*-Out for Sunday

Looking for touchdowns

Sunday, the Redskins can become the first team in the league since Joe Gibbs became head coach in 1982 to go seven straight games without scoring more than one touchdown. They're now one of four teams to go six straight games without more than one touchdown:

Team Year

Washington 1992

Seattle 1992

,.5,meas

Tampa Bay 1990

Detroit 1988

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