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Reading the tea leaves on Garçon

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Reading the tea leaves on Garçon

Ever since wide receiver Pierre Garçon was essentially shut down following the Redskins’ Week 5 game against the Falcons the thinking around Redskins Park has been that Pierre Garçon would return from his toe sometime between this upcoming game with the Eagles and the Monday night game against the Giants on Dec. 3.

As this week has unfolded, the consensus has been shifting towards Garçon returning sooner rather than later. There were some indications that the Redskins plan on playing their prize offseason free agent acquisition on Sunday.

For one thing, he seemed to be practicing harder than he has been. When he has been out there in recent weeks he has either been a spectator during the portion of practice that we can watch or running pass patterns without the sudden stops and cuts that are needed to play wide receiver in an actual game.

Things have been different this week. Garçon has been planting his foot and running patterns at something close to full speed.

“That’s a big plus because he hasn’t been doing that for a long time,” said Mike Shanahan on Garçon’s practices.

On Monday when asked if he would play against the Eagles, Garçon said the decision was up to the coach. Shanahan, as is his usual practice when talking about players coming back from an injury, would not say any definitive.

But Robert Griffin III may have let something regarding the receiver’s status slip. When asked if it looked like Garçon would be ready to play, Griffin first cautioned that he wasn’t the coach so it wasn’t his decision. But he continued in a vein that seemed to be telling.

“It will be good to have him back,” he said. “He’s looked good. Like I told him, we’re going to have many great seasons, many great games together. We might as well go ahead and start it now.”

Note the lack of “if” or other qualifiers in his statement.

The quarterback thinks that he and Garçon will pick up the chemistry they had going during the preseason and for the early phases of the season opener in New Orleans.

“The whole week we’ll work on our timing—getting that back,” said Griffin. “I threw to him all offseason, so it’s just a matter of getting that channeled back in. I think we’ll be able to do that.”

Even if he does play, that does not mean that Garçon is as good as new. He said that the toe was not 100 percent and that “it’s a pain all the time.”

“By no means is he 100 percent,” said Kyle Shanahan.

However, that doesn’t mean he will stay sidelined. “He does not have to be 100 percent to play,” said the offensive coordinator. “He still did some things in those games he played in that helped by just having him out there.

“We wanted to get him to 100 percent but now we’re not sure if he’ll get there and we’d definitely rather have him out here (at less that full capacity) than not at all because he can help regardless of where he is (in his rehab).”

Despite the way things look right now, there is no guarantee that the Garçon will suit up and play on Sunday. There could be a setback or they could decide that the toe isn’t quite ready to go. I am not much of one for giving fantasy advice but I would keep him on the bench unless you are out of alternatives.

But do not be surprised if Garçon ends up playing.  

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Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

On Wednesday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams would not play on Sunday against the Texans. 

"That's for sure," the coach said. 

By Friday, the tune had changed. Drastically. 

Gruden said that Williams' status on Sunday will come down to the medical staff. The coach added that Williams has to be comfortable in whatever cast will support his dislocated thumb.

As for Williams, he would not say for sure that he's going to play. But after talking with him for a few minutes in the Redskins locker room, it seems like the medical staff will be hard pressed to keep him off the field. 

Williams missed the Redskins last two games after injuring his thumb in a victory over the Giants. Without him, the Redskins offensive line performed admirably, but both tackles Morgan Moses and Ty Nsekhe are fighting through a number of injuries. 

The thumb injury required surgery, which happened about two weeks ago and came with a rough four-week timetable for recovery. Williams is attempting to cut that in half. 

Asked about Williams possibly playing Sunday, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he wants his friend and teammate to be smart about his future. Peterson said "there's a lot of football left" but the running back also added that there were situations watching Texans film this week where "it'd be real nice to have Trent out there."

Williams himself said that it must be tough for Peterson, as the two are close friends. Obviously, the running back wants the star tackle out on the field, but he also cares about his long-term future. 

Notes: Redskins K Dustin Hopkins landed on the injury report earlier with a groin injury in the week and the team brought in other kickers for tryouts on Tuesday. On Friday, Hopkins said he was pain-free and planned to "give it a go" Sunday against Houston. 

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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

The main news on Friday at Redskins Park was the surprising return to the practice field by Trent Williams. 

That wasn't the only notable development when it comes to injuries, though. 

During his end-of-the-week podium session, Jay Gruden ruled Samaje Perine out for Sunday's game against the Texans. The second-year back has a calf injury and won't be able to go in Week 11.

As of Friday afternoon, that leaves the 'Skins with just two healthy running backs in Adrian Peterson and Kapri Bibbs. Chris Thompson is on the active roster as well, but he's dealing with rib issues and he's going to be absent when Houston visits.

This means you should expect to see Byron Marshall in Burgundy and Gold come kickoff. Marshall has been on IR with an ankle injury since the start of the year but said he's been healthy for a while now and would be ready to step in as the third back.

The majority of offensive snaps the past few weeks have gone to Peterson and Bibbs, so Marshall shouldn't figure into things too much when the Redskins have the ball. He showed flashes in some spot duty in 2017, though, so if need be, he could be productive for Gruden.

With Trey Quinn already back on the 53, if/when the team elects to bring back Marshall, the Redskins will be out of IR activations. NFL rules stipulate each club only gets two per season.

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