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News & Notes: James Back In Action

Erasmus James saw his first action of preseason in Saturday night's game against the Carolina Panthers.

James entered the game, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., late in the second quarter and stayed in the game into the fourth quarter.

On his first play from scrimmage, James was so eager he was flagged for an off-sides penalty.

Although James did not record a tackle in the game, he did have a hand in a sack of Panthers quarterback Matt Moore.

Midway through the third quarter, James beat his blocker and pressured Moore.

Moore tried to elude James, but he headed right in the direction of Lorenzo Alexander, who recorded a sack for an 11-yard loss.

It was James's first NFL action since last December, when he played for the Minnesota Vikings. He was sidelined all offseason rehabbing a knee ligament injury.

The Redskins acquired James, listed at 6-4 and 262 pounds, in a trade with Minnesota last May. He is a 2005 first-round draft pick by the Vikings.

In three NFL seasons, he has posted 53 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles. He has had knee ligament injuries each of the last two years.

Before Saturday's preseason game in Carolina, Jim Zorn said he wanted James to get a feel for playing again.

"As we get more comfortable with what [James] can do, we'll start getting him into a good rotation on defense," Zorn said.

James is competing for a Redskins roster spot at defensive end with Chris Wilson and Rob Jackson.

Jason Taylor's sprained knee in Saturday's game could help elevate James, depending on the severity of the injury.

-- DECISION ON PUNTER?

With first cuts looming on Aug. 26, the Redskins could decide to name their punter following Saturday's preseason game at Carolina.

Derrick Frost took all eight of the punts in the game and averaged 51.3 yards. His net average was 37.1 yards. He had one touchback.

In the first quarter, Frost had a 65-yard punt that would have been a career high had it happened during the regular season. Frost out-kicked coverage, though. The Panthers were able to return the punt 18 yards to midfield.

Frost, in his fourth season with the Redskins, has alternated with rookie Durant Brooks this preseason.

So far this preseason, Brooks has punted 10 times for a 44.2-yard average and a 33.7-yard net average. He punted in the preseason games against the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets.

Comparatively, Frost has totaled 12 punts in preseason games against the Buffalo Bills and Panthers, His average is 45.5 yards per punt, with a net of 32.3 yards.

"We have had both punters ranked evenly, and it has been a great battle throughout training camp," Jim Zorn said.

-- KHARY CAMPBELL STARTS

Coaches decided to sit Marcus Washington for the Carolina preseason game. The veteran linebacker was bothered by hip soreness in practices last week.

Khary Campbell drew the start in place of Washington. He led the Redskins in tackles with six, and also logged a special teams tackle.

Campbell has proven to be an invaluable reserve and special teams standout for the Redskins since he joined the team in March 2004.

The seven-year veteran has one career regular season start--in 2006 when he filled in for injured middle linebacker Lemar Marshall.

Campbell has become the consummate role player, defensive coordinator Greg Blache said.

"Khary is a special teams specialist, but he is smart enough to play any linebacker position for you," Blache said. "I don't know if he is physical enough or big enough to be an every down starter in this league, but he can finish a game and help you win a game at any position."

Matt Sinclair, another backup linebacker, did not make the trip to Carolina. He was slowed by back spasms last week.

-- RICHARDSON INJURED

Already a roster long-shot, rookie Matteral Richardson suffered a groin injury in the second half of Saturday's preseason game at Carolina.

Richardson, undrafted out of Arkansas, finished the game with four tackles.

In the third quarter, Richardson was beaten badly by veteran wide receiver Steve Smith.

Catching a screen pass from quarterback Jake Delhomme, Smith put a quick move on Richardson and eluded him easily. Smith beat J.T. Tryon to the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown catch-and-run.

Richardson turned in a memorable play in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3 when he returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown in the Redskins' 30-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

With the injury, Richardson is in danger of being released with an injury settlement. NFL clubs must reduce their rosters to 75 players by Aug. 26.

Richardson was unlikely to make the roster, but he could be a candidate for the practice squad once he's healthy.

-- KELLY OUT

Malcolm Kelly will have to make his NFL debut in the Aug. 28 preseason finale against Jacksonville.

Kelly, still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 4, remained sidelined for Saturday's preseason contest against Carolina.

Jim Zorn seemed to think that Kelly could be available to play, but the team decided to hold him out for another week.

"I would rather see him play [against Jacksonville]," Zorn said.

Devin Thomas returned to action last week after missing most of training camp with a hamstring injury.

Thomas caught zero passes in his first preseason game against the New York Jets on Aug. 16. On Saturday against Carolina,

"We lost a lot of time with [Kelly and Thomas]," Zorn said. "We are anxious to get them out there so that we can see if we can use them this season."

-- BUGEL BACK ON THE SIDELINES

Two days after his daughter had passed away, Joe Bugel was back with the Redskins on Saturday night, coaching the offensive line against the Carolina Panthers game.

Bugel's daughter Holly, 35, died on Thursday morning due to a rare form of bone cancer.

Bugel traveled to Phoenix on owner Daniel M. Snyder's plane to be with his family on Thursday evening.

He rejoined the team in Carolina.

"Any particular tragedy in a family has no perfect timing," Jim Zorn said. "We have to do what we have to do, and Dan Snyder has been generous in allowing Joe to go out to Arizona.

"We have to do our jobs, and Joe and his family understand our situation. What matters is that he comforts his family and his family comforts him."

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