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This Time, Warner Healthy For D.C.

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 Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner wore a bulky elbow brace last year in Washington while playing for the first time after injuring his arm.

This year, Kurt Warner heads to Washington as the reigning NFC offensive player of the week.

Last year, "We weren't even sure if (Kurt) was gonna play or not," Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said.

The return should be more welcome for Warner, if not more memorable. It's hard to imagine Warner will ever forget his 2007 game in Washington, coming a week after Carolina's Julius Peppers wrecked Warner's left elbow.

Missing at least one game seemed logical, but instead, Warner found a brace and wore it during the game, gritting his teeth in pain and handing the ball off exclusively with his right hand – doing it backwards when the Cards ran right.

"It was one of those games where I was handing off with the wrong hand, getting used to playing with pain," Warner said. "There were a lot of things going on that week. But it's not about excuses."

The Cardinals outgained the Redskins 364 yards to 160 that day but lost, 21-19, in large part because Warner threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in the red zone. Fletcher returned one of the interceptions 27 yards for a touchdown.

Warner, who was 27-for-41 for 282 yards and two touchdowns as well, did lead a comeback. But kicker Neil Rackers just missed a 55-yard field goal with two seconds left after the Cards had recovered an onside kick – which was forced only when a two-point conversion failed when wide receiver Anquan Boldin's pass to Larry Fitzgerald was knocked down.

"Yeah," Boldin said, chuckling at the memory. "I remember that one."

Like Warner, Boldin was hurt, in his first game since hurting his hip in Baltimore. Boldin figures he was playing at 70 percent that day.

This year, both Boldin and Warner are healthy, which could change the end result for the Cards.

"(Kurt) looks better this year because he is more comfortable in the system, it's not a situation where they are changing quarterbacks," Fletcher said. "He definitely looks better than a year ago."

WATSON RETURNS FULL

There is a chance defensive tackle Gabe Watson could return this week, after he practiced full on his rehabbed knee for the first time since he hurt it in April.

"He's got to get in the right mindframe that he can go forward," Whisenhunt said. "You can't do that until you have bodies flying around you, taking on blocks. That is important this week."

The Cardinals had a couple extra players turn up gimpy from Sunday's game. Defensive end/linebacker Travis LaBoy (ankle) and wide receiver Steve Breaston (hamstring) were both limited in practice Wednesday. Also limited was right tackle Levi Brown (knee), who still should be OK for Sunday. Tight end Jerame Tuman (hamstring) remains sidelined.

The Redskins had 10 players on their injury report, including defensive end Jason Taylor (knee-limited), cornerbacks Fred Smoot (hip-sat out) and Carlos Rogers (groin-limited) and linebacker London Fletcher (rib-limited).

COOLEY'S BLOG

The Redskins had some off-field issues to deal with this week after outspoken tight end Chris Cooley, who has his own blog on the internet, posted a picture with a page from the Redskins' playbook last week. The photo (which got extra attention because Cooley accidently included a not-for-publication body part in the shot) was of a quiz the Redskins' offensive players took about the Saints' defense.

Cooley removed the picture from the blog, and Redskins coach Jim Zorn said he cleared up the situation with the whole team Wednesday.

"I think this is the first time anybody's ever had to deal with something like that, as a player blogging and putting on a portion of the playbook," Zorn said. "I dealt with it with the entire team. I don't know if anybody could have thought that would have been an issue, but these guys are trying to do their own thing.

"They are not thinking about how we protect our information. I thought we were thinking about that, but we weren't and now we are."


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 9/17/08.

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