Redskins Practice Notebook: RB Matt Jones Takes Bigger Role in Practice

ASHBURN – Redskins running back Matt Jones shed his yellow non-contact jersey at practice on Wednesday and appears in line to play in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jones wore full pads. He sustained a separated left shoulder in an Aug. 19 preseason game against the New York Jets, but expressed confidence earlier this week that he’d be ready to play by next Monday. Washington coach Jay Gruden first wanted to test Jones in a contact practice to make sure he held up.

Meanwhile, rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson (left Achilles tendon) went through individual drills with his teammates, but did not do any 1-on-1 drills against the cornerbacks with reporters present. He had done so on Monday. Doctson expressed skepticism that he’d be ready for the Steelers simply because he hadn’t practiced since May 25 during organized team activities (OTAs).

“No, it’s day-to-day as far as how [Doctson is] feeling and that stuff,” Gruden said. “It’s a unique deal and we’re still trying to figure out the best way to approach it.”

Defensive end Kendall Reyes worked on a side field with team trainers for the second practice in a row with a groin injury.

Left guard Spencer Long (sprained right ankle), in a fight for a starting spot with veteran Shawn Lauvao, did participate in individual drills. He’d simply watched during that portion of practice on Monday. But afterward, Gruden named Lauvao the starter for the season opener.

“Health-wise initially, but both performance and health. Shawn has done an excellent job,” Gruden said. “We weren’t sure how Shawn was going to recover from his feet issues and he’s come back in a big way. He was our starter before Spencer became the starter when Shawn got hurt and Shawn has proven he’s back in tip top shape and done an excellent job. I feel great about both of those guys, I really do.”

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