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Thomas listed as doubtful; Kelly would fill in

Devin Thomas again missed practice Friday with an ankle injury and is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game. If he can't play, fellow second-year wideout Malcolm Kelly would fill in on offense, while veteran Rock Cartwright would "absolutely" reclaim his role as the team's primary kick returner, Coach Jim Zorn said.

Thomas supplanted Cartwright in that special teams role midway through the season, recording all but one of the team's kick returns during the four-game stretch before Monday's loss to the Giants. Many fans were excited to see the wide receiver in that role, though his average return (22.0 yards) and long (39) are almost identical to those of Cartwright (22.4, 42). Their return averages rank 26th and 27th in the NFL.

"I love doing it," said Cartwright, who was briefly the team's featured running back before losing that job to Quinton Ganther. "Any time I can touch the football I want to do it, any time I think I can get the ball in my hands, it's always a plus. Hopefully I get an opportunity this week. Hopefully I'll get back there and make some things happen."

Zorn would not say who would be the backup kick returner without Thomas on the field, although other special teamers said their jobs don't change regardless of who's fielding the kick.

"We've just got to block better," Lorenzo Alexander said. "They made that change [to Thomas], but Rock is a solid returner. We've just got to block. Devin hasn't been able to use his full ability, because we're just not blocking well."

Washington's average starting position following kickoffs, excluding onside kicks and kickoffs at the end of a half, is the 24.4-yard line. That ranks 27th of 32 NFL teams.

In other injury news, DeAngelo Hall was limited in practice and remains questionable. Stephon Heyer, Andre Carter and Cornelius Griffin all fully participated, though all were listed as questionable. Punter Hunter Smith is also listed as questionable, although place kicker Graham Gano was the regular punter at Florida State, earned MVP of a bowl game in that role, and has had several NFL tryouts as a punter.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 25, 2009; 4:50 PM ET
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Next: Zorn: Haynesworth discipline 'was necessary'


This end of a coaching era reeks. Thanks to BIG AL for standing up to NY when they were mugging HALL.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 25, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I can understand if this was an issue with Haynesworth, but until today there have been reports that Haynesworth was a problem at Redskins Park. Zorn has the right to lead this team anyway he wants for his last two weeks, but to me this was a poor attempt by Zorn to show Allen that he could be the disciplinarian this team sorely needs. How late was Haynesworth? Couldn't a fine send the same message? Too little too late. For example, Zorn should have sat LL for his poor play, and refusal to make changes in his game. Instead, he allows LL to start in another position only for LL to continue with his poor play.

Posted by: TWISI | December 25, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

wow JR your you must be dumb because how are you comparing stats from 2 games worth of kick returns to someone who has been doing it all season.........why don't you get some real stats instead fluffing up your buddies RC's stats. Grow a pair before you start some debate that you would get crushed in by an average fan.....PS can't wait for the article blastin the skins when rock gets his overdue pink slip

Posted by: hillb03 | December 25, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

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