ASHBURN -- The Redskins didn't cheer, pop a bottle of champagne or toss confetti. They did, however, feel a great sense of relief with the return of the regular officials.
While there were missed calls in the season-opening win over New Orleans, the Redskins' frustration with the replacement officials reached a breaking point the last two games -- as it did with many others in the league.
"I'm gonna bear-hug them and tell them I love them," Redskins end Stephen Bowen said of the regular officials.
|» Redskins left tackle Trent Williams did not practice for a second straight day and was still walking with a slight limp. He likely will need to show major improvement over the next few days to play at Tampa Bay on Sunday. Cornerback Cedric Griffin (hamstring) also did not practice. Receiver Pierre Garcon (foot), safety Brandon Meriweather (knee), running back Evan Royster (knee) and receiver Brandon Banks (hip) were limited. Banks was a new addition to the injury report. Coach Mike Shanahan said Garcon is "getting better, I can see that. But until he's able to go it's just getting better." Shanahan said he doesn't have any rules regarding whether a player can play in a game Sunday if he doesn't practice during the week. "A lot depends on the experience of the guy, how he's played in the past, how he's handled different situations, veterans, rookies, their experience," Shanahan said, "Each one is different. I don't have one set rule for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. My experience is if you don't get practice in during the week, it's hard to play well."|
|» Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Meriweather's return would be big. "He's an ex-corner coming out of college, and he has football intelligence," Haslett said. "He can take something from the classroom to the field. He brings energy to the back end. We've missed him."|
Said linebacker Lorenzo Alexander: "You don't miss something until you go without it."
There's a reason the Redskins feel that way.
First came the loss in St. Louis, during which a lot of extra shoving occurred after the whistle. Coach Mike Shanahan said it was as close as he has seen to officials losing control of a game. Also during that game, some penalties weren't called. When Rams coach Jeff Fisher wasn't penalized for challenging a play that is automatically reviewable, Shanahan said an official told him they would do the same for him.
Then, against Cincinnati, there were more bad calls and a lack of knowledge about the rules. The blown call: On Josh Wilson's fumble recovery, he wasn't touched -- no Bengals player came within a foot or two of him on the ground -- and it should have resulted in a touchdown, but the refs blew the play dead. There was a missed runoff (benefitting the Redskins), and at the end of the game the Redskins had 25 yards marked off in penalties when it should have been 20.
"Some of the stuff was kind of crazy," Bowen said. "It's something else you don't have to worry about."
Even if certain calls were right, the players didn't trust the replacements, most of whom were working lower level college games before coming to the NFL. The players said it disrupted the flow of the game, too.
"They weren't up to par on a lot of rules," Alexander said.
Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, like Joshua Morgan the previous week, erupted after he said officials told him Sunday's game was over. He used profanity at one official and was fined $25,000.
"It hurt. It's a lot of money," Kyle Shanahan said. "I wasn't surprised, but it's my fault. You've got to live with you. ... Anytime you get a penalty, you regret it whether it's justified or not. The bottom line is you got a penalty, and that's something that can't happen. I'm looking forward to the guys we were used to, that's for sure."
But the players know the real refs will cause them to alter their approach. Players had talked about guys trying to sway the replacement refs into certain calls.
"You better be on your P's and Q's this weekend," Redskins defensive end Kedric Golston said. "I don't think the refs will be taking anything. They'll be calling everything. They'll want to make sure that people aren't saying the same thing that we said about the replacement refs."
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett knows what their return means.
"A new group to yell at," Haslett said.