Shawn Springs pulled Carlos Rogers aside just as the offensive huddle broke. The two cornerbacks quickly discussed the assignment, then they separated, lining up on opposite ends of the football field.
Even though it was only practice, it was a positive sign that Springs and Rogers were back on the field together.
Sunday's game against Dallas will be the first time they will both be in the starting lineup since the Aug. 13 preseason game at Cincinnati.
Springs missed the first five games due to abdominal surgery, and he played a limited role in Week 6 against Tennessee. Rogers missed the Week 7 game against Indianapolis due to a fractured thumb. He is listed as probable for the Dallas game.
Certainly, their return has assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams excited.
"You should see the smiles on the faces of Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers," Williams said. "There has been a lot of communication going on the field."
Added head coach Joe Gibbs: They're both high quality corners and we have a lot invested in them. We feel better about it. I was just saying to both of those guys, 'Good to have you back. It's good to have you both back out there.'"
Their services will be needed this Sunday, when the Redskins host Dallas. The Cowboys have the NFL's fifth-ranked offense and 10th-ranked passing offense. The team has been rejuvenated under young quarterback Tony Romo, making his second NFL start. And wide receivers Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn have combined for 70 catches for 912 yards and eight touchdowns.
Rogers has logged 43 tackles (36 solo) this season, but no interceptions. He admits that he has had an "up-and-down season"--he feels like he should have at least four interceptions--but knowing that Springs is back gives him a comfort zone.
"This is our starting lineup that we wanted at the beginning of the season," he said. "But we still have to execute."
For Springs, playing in the last two games has helped him get his legs back and get in game conditions. After a week of practices with Rogers, the two are not only back on the same field, but back on the same page.
"We had a great spring playing with each other," Springs said. "Carlos is competitive and I'm competitive. I don't want too many passes my side and he doesn't want too many passes his side. We're going to try and go out and help our defense. Hopefully we can make an improvement back there."
Springs has squared off against Owens many times in their careers, and the two former Pro Bowlers have had some great matchups. But Springs hasn't lined up against Owens since Dec. 12, 2004. Owens was deactivated by the Philadelphia Eagles for both games last year, and this year Springs was sidelined in the Week 2 game against Dallas.
Owens did not have a significant impact in the Cowboys' 27-10 win, catching three passes for just 19 yards. He left the game in the second half with a hand injury.
It was Terry Glenn who hurt the Redskins' defense, hauling in six passes for 94 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"[Owens and Glenn] are a great tandem," Rogers said. "You can see that Romo is getting the ball out better, especially to T.O. They seem energized and more pumped up. We have to play physical with them and we can't give up the big play."
Springs expects to jaw with Owens during the course of the game--the two are friends outside of football--but he emphasized that the "only thing that matters is how Carlos and I play."