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News & Notes: Suisham, Novak to Compete

Nick Novak and Shaun Suisham sat on opposite ends of the locker room on Wednesday morning. By afternoon practice, they were on the Redskins Park practice fields together, kicking under the watchful eye of special teams coordinator Danny Smith.

Coaches are evaluating the two kickers prior to this Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. Suisham was signed to the practice squad earlier this week.

"Shaun was someone we wanted to look at, so we brought him in to let him work," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "I had a good talk with Nick. He understands that competitively. We will take a good look at it and then size up our situation. Having him on our practice squad gives us someone else to look at."

Added Gibbs: "Right now, Nick's the kicker, until we decide something differently."

Novak said Wednesday morning that he welcomes the competition. He knows he needs to be more consistent on field goals and improve on his kickoffs.

Signed in mid-October to replace injured kicker John Hall, Novak has connected on 5-of-10 field goals this season. In Sunday's 17-13 win over the Carolina Panthers, Novak was noticeably short on his kickoffs.

Suisham, the newcomer, has kicked for Dallas each of the last two years. Overall, he has played in six games and is 4-of-6 on field goals and 10-for-10 on PATs. He also has four touchbacks on 14 kickoffs in his career.

"You're always competing," he said. "You're always being critiqued and evaluated. So you view every day as competition."

Gibbs said it was possible that the team could go into Sunday's game with both kickers on the roster. The team would have to sign Suisham from the practice squad by Saturday--and release another player--to have him available for the Falcons game.

There has been some speculation this week that the Redskins would be among the suitors for kicker Mike Vanderjagt, who was released by the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Gibbs was asked if the team would bring in another kicker to compete with Novak and Suisham. He replied: "There's nobody else we have an interest in."

-- INJURY UPDATE

Hamstring injuries continue to be hazardous to the Redskins' health.

Safety Troy Vincent, linebacker Khary Campbell and wide receiver David Patten are all questionable for Sunday's game against Atlanta due to hamstring injuries. They sat out Wednesday's practice and their status for practice later this week is uncertain.

Vincent, who emerged as a starter at strong safety in midseason, sat out last Sunday's 17-13 win over the Carolina Panthers. He was replaced by Vernon Fox, who would likely start again if Vincent cannot go. The defense also has Adam Archuleta in reserve.

Campbell suffered his hamstring injury during the Panthers game. His absence would be a significant loss to the Redskins' special teams unit. He leads the team in special teams tackles with 28.

Patten has missed the Redskins' last seven games due to his hamstring injury.

Another player slowed by a hamstring injury in recent weeks, wide receiver Santana Moss, was taken off the team's injury report for the first time in a month.

Moss returned to action last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers and caught three passes for 12 yards.

"The first part of the game he was hesitant," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "The first time you get out there and really busting it, you are a little hesitant on how hard you go. I talked to him [Wednesday morning] and the last time he did that he was extremely sore. This week, he is not. I think he gained some confidence late in the game."

Right tackle Jon Jansen and fullback Mike Sellers also sat out practice on Wednesday and are listed as probable. Jansen has a lingering calf injury and Sellers has a shoulder injury.

For the Falcons, starting cornerback Jason Webster will not play due to a groin injury. His backup, rookie Jimmy Williams out of Virginia Tech, is questionable with an ankle injury.

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