Washington Redskins (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (0-2)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
TV: FOX (Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, Jim Mora, Jr.)
PREDICTION: Redskins 35-14
KEYS TO THE GAME: The plan isn't much different than it is every week for the Rams. On offense, it's important they are productive on first down to avoid long-yardage passing situations for quarterback Sam Bradford and a receiving corps that lacks a downfield threat. The Rams will rely on their defense to keep them in the game, which means slowing down the Redskins' running game and preventing quarterback Donovan McNabb from hitting big plays.
FAST FACTS: The Redskins' margin of victory over the Rams in the last two meetings was two points. ... The Rams had 21 of 45 active players Sunday with two years or less of NFL experience. That included 10 rookies (two starters), seven second-year players (five starters) and four third-year players (one starter).
INSIDE THE CAMPS
This past spring, Redskins receiver Santana Moss talked excitedly about playing in new coordinator Kyle Shanahan's offense, in part because Andre Johnson, his University of Miami teammate, had told him how he had thrived in the system in Houston the past two seasons.
Moss' active game this past Sunday was a footnote on a day when Johnson spurred the Texans to a come-from-behind victory over the Redskins with 12 catches for 158 yards including the overtime-forcing 34-yard touchdown on 4th-and-10.
However, the 31-year-old Moss did tie a career-high with 10 catches from quarterback Donovan McNabb and his 89 yards gave him two straight games with more than 75, something he never accomplished during former coach Jim Zorn's two seasons.
"We can have more and more of those plays," Moss said about the 62-yard completions to receiver Joey Galloway and backup tight end Fred Davis, the wide-open 35-yard touchdown throw to tight end Chris Cooley and the 34-yard catch by reserve receiver Roydell Williams. "That's why (Donovan) is over here. We know that he can throw the ball well and find the open guy."
Just two games into the Shanahan/McNabb era, Moss is third in the league with 16 catches and 11th with 166 receiving yards. Moss set his career highs with 84 catches for 1,483 yards in 2005, his first year in Washington.
"I just knew we had to get a couple games under our belts together before we went out there and were in sync," Moss said. "I just feel like the more we play together, the more we have big plays together."
Indeed, six Redskins have made longer catches than Moss' top effort so far, a 17-yarder. However, he needs just 41 yards to move into seventh place on Washington's all-time list. He's already there in catches.
"Any time you throw for over 400 yards, obviously we did some good things," said coach Mike Shanahan.
St. Louis Rams:
When rookie quarterback Sam Bradford had his coming-out party in the third preseason game against New England, he hit big plays to wide receivers Donnie Avery and Brandon Gibson and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. Bradford seemed to be developing a strong rapport with Hoomanawanui.
As the Rams prepare for this week's game against Washington after an 0-2 start, two of those players are on the shelf with injuries and the other -- Gibson -- has yet to be active for a game.
Avery was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury later in that game against the Patriots. Hoomanawanui suffered a high ankle sprain on his fourth play in the season opener against Arizona.
After practice Wednesday, Gibson, along with rookie tight end Fendi Onobun and rookie wide receivers Mardy Gilyard and Dominique Curry were getting some extra reps with Bradford. Rookie running back Keith Toston was also part of that group.
With tight ends Billy Bajema and Daniel Fells potentially out this week, Onobun might make his NFL debut. Gilyard is the most likely to see additional time. Curry played last week on special teams. Gibson could be active depending on the status of Laurent Robinson, who is battling a foot injury.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo acknowledged on Gilyard that, "We probably should have got him in there a little bit more on Sunday. Things kind of just dictated differently, but he'll get his reps this week."
Onobun, who played just one season of college football, said, "I've progressed immensely, but I still have a long way to go. I am preparing as if I'll be active this week. I believe it will happen."
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Thursday that Onobun, Gilyard and Gibson have been good in practice this week.
On Onobun, Shurmur said, "I feel he has the ability to get in there and execute well."
Bradford said of the tight ends, "We are banged up at tight end a little bit right now, so the tight ends that do play this game, we're going to have to make the most of every rep in practice, we're probably going to have to stay after and get a couple routes, but both guys who are going to go this week, they were here all training camp. We've had plenty of work with them, I've had plenty of work with them, so I feel good about whoever we have at tight end."
Bradford is confident the offense will be able to move the ball on the Redskins.
"They're a blitz team, they like to pressure," Bradford said. "We have to be ready for pressure to come from all different positions at any time. But I think if we are prepared for that and we're able to get ourselves protected I think there are some things we can take advantage of just in the way they play coverage down the field.
"The Houston Texans were able to throw the ball very successfully against them. But we've got to be careful. Washington does some things that we haven't seen yet. They're able to do some interesting things on defense so we have to make sure that we're very prepared for anything that they could throw us, but I think watching the Texans tape, we have some good ideas about how to attack their defense now."
- LT Trent Williams didn't practice for a second straight day because of left knee and toe injuries he suffered in last week's loss to Houston but is expected to take some work on Friday. Jammal Brown took plenty of work at left tackle Thursday, which could portend him playing there Sunday at St. Louis with Stephon Heyer taking over at right tackle if Williams is sidelined.
- SS Chris Horton didn't practice for a second straight day because of an ankle injury.
- WR Anthony Armstrong didn't practice for a second straight day because of a groin injury.
- FS Kareem Moore participated fully in practice for a second straight day. Moore, who has been out since spraining his right knee on Aug. 21 and having it scoped two days later, is expected to reclaim his starting job from Reed Doughty Sunday at St. Louis.
- NT Albert Haynesworth practiced fully for the first time since spraining an ankle during last Wednesday's workout.
St. Louis Rams:
- S Craig Dahl wasn't as good on his concussion exertion test Wednesday as indicated originally by coach Steve Spagnuolo. Spagnuolo said Wednesday that Dahl had been cleared for non-contact work Thursday and would see an independent doctor Friday. Acknowledging that he "mis-spoke," Spagnuolo said Thursday that Dahl still exhibited some symptoms after the first test and would have another exertion test Friday. It seems unlikely he would play Sunday because he won't have practiced. Even if he passes the exertion test, he would still need to the independent doctor as mandated by NFL guidelines.
- DT Clifton Ryan was not at practice Thursday and was consulting with another doctor concerning the migraines he has been experiencing. Coach Steve Spagnuolo did not rule him out of Sunday's game.
- DT Jermelle Cudjo, while on the practice squad, got some reps with the first unit Thursday because of the absence of Darell Scott and Clifton Ryan from practice. With Scott out Sunday and Ryan seeking a second opinion for his migraines, Cudjo was signed to the active roster on Saturday.
- RB Steven Jackson was limited in practice Thursday with a knee issue that he said "is nothing to worry about."
- WR Laurent Robinson, who was limited in practice Wednesday because of a foot injury, did not practice Thursday and could miss Sunday's game against Washington.
- TE Daniel Fells, who did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury suffered Sunday against Oakland, worked in a limited capacity Thursday.
- OT Rodger Saffold fully participated in practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday because of a back problem.
- S Oshiomogho Atogwe (thigh) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday.
- WR Brandon Gibson, inactive for the first two games of the season, received significant reps in practice Wednesday and Thursday and could be counted on against Washington on Sunday if Laurent Robinson is unavailable.