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News & Notes: Alridge Hopes Speed Makes a Difference

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All along, Anthony Alridge hoped he would be back.

The Redskins even hinted that they wanted him back.

Two-and-a-half weeks later, he's back.

Alridge, a first-year running back, rejoined the Redskins on Tuesday, signed to the club's roster off of the Houston Texans' practice squad. He takes the roster spot vacated by Randy Thomas, who was placed on injured reserve.

"I'm excited," he said. "I made a lot of friends here at OTAs and in the preseason, and I'm comfortable being around a lot of my teammates here. It feels good to be back."

Alridge flashed impressive speed during preseason, rushing for 46 yards on 10 carries and catching three passes for 34 yards in two games.

Alridge becomes one of five running backs on the roster.

That's an unusually high number for an NFL team.

Jim Zorn acknowledged that he may have to deactivate at least one and probably two running backs on game days.

"It's hard to carry that group," he said. "But I think we're doing it for the right reasons. We like the mix, but it's hard to use them all, so some of those guys will be down."

Alridge's speed was too good to pass up, though.

"We expect to use his speed," Zorn said. "He has to work into things on special teams, and then maybe if he's active, he can get out there and run some plays. He's a change of pace back that can help us. That would be where we would use him."

Alridge aims to take advantage of his second chance.

"I just want to try to help the team any way possible," Alridge said. "I could be a third-down guy who can score any time. I feel like I can get some draw plays that could make the defense guess a little bit. I can catch the ball out of the backfield.

"I feel like if they give me the ball, if it's there I can take it to the house."

Alridge was plagued by fumbles in training camp and he coughed up the football on a kick return in the Redskins' preseason finale in Jacksonville. The turnover resulted in a Jaguars touchdown.

Asked about his fumbles, Alridge replied that he was working on the problem with tennis balls.

Tennis balls?

"I throw my tennis balls up in the air and keep my eyes on the ball," he said. "It helps me just stay focused. Fumbling the ball is just a lack of focus. So I'm concentrating on [holding on to the ball]."


-- CAMPBELL LIMITED IN PRACTICE

Jason Campbell took limited reps in Wednesday's practice as the fifth-year quarterback works to come back from a sprained ankle.

Jim Zorn said he held Campbell out of "movement" plays so not to put too much stress on the ankle.

"I would say he did all of the things that he could do [in practice]," Zorn said.

Campbell suffered the injury in last Sunday's 9-7 win over the St. Louis Rams.

Campbell said he expects to be full healthy for this Sunday's game in Detroit.

"Right now I'm being cautious with it," he said. "I'll do what I need to do to get some practice time in and get some reps in so I'm ready [for Detroit]."

Clinton Portis (ankle) and Anthony Montgomery (knee) were also limited in practice. Their injuries are not considered serious.

Fred Smoot, who missed last Sunday's game due to a rib injury, was full-go at Wednesday's practice.


-- ON O-LINE DEPTH

When Randy Thomas was sidelined with his triceps injury, it was assumed that the Redskins would replace him on the roster with another offensive lineman.

Instead the Redskins signed Anthony Alridge.

Explaining the decision on Wednesday, Jim Zorn said the team preferred Alridge because he could "play right now."

"I didn't want to bring in another offensive lineman into the group because he would be playing down the road," Zorn said.


-- SCHWARTZ'S LOCAL CONNECTION

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is a Baltimore native who attended Georgetown University in his formative years.

At Georgetown, Schwartz was a four-year letterwinner as a linebacker. He earned his degree in economics and received Distinguished Economics Graduate honors.

Schwartz began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Maryland, tutoring the Terrapins' linebackers from 1989-90.

Prior to joining the Lions last offseason, Schwartz was defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans.

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