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Brunell Returns to Practice

Mark Brunell returned to practice at Redskins Park on Wednesday and he said that his rib injury felt "much better" after 10 days of rest. Brunell is expected to be ready for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Since the Redskins' 36-22 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 22, Brunell has sat out three practice sessions to rest a strained rib muscle. The team had a bye last Sunday.

Brunell is officially listed as probable on the team's injury report.

This Sunday's game against Dallas is a critical one for Brunell and the Redskins. Washington is 2-5 and a postseason berth is increasingly becoming a long shot. Meantime, Dallas is 4-3 and in second place in the NFC East.

The Redskins are pointing to last season when they reeled off five consecutive wins to earn a postseason berth.

Can they do it again?

Brunell says the team has the veteran players to spark a winning streak.

"We've talked about [trying to duplicate last year's season-ending winning streak]," he said. "Most of the guys in this locker room have been on teams that have turned it around and gotten hot or on a winning streak. We know it can be done. We just need it to happen right now.

"This is a big challenge ahead of us. We're certainly at a point where we need a win."

This Sunday, the 14-year NFL veteran is looking to improve on his Week 2 performance against Dallas. Brunell was 18-of-33 for 197 yards (73 of those passing yards came late in the fourth quarter after Dallas had the game in hand) and one interception in the Redskins' 27-10 loss to the Cowboys.

Dallas used a Cover 2 defensive scheme to frustrate the Redskins' downfield passing game. it helped the Cowboys guard against big plays to Redskins wide receivers and the tight coverage allowed the defense to record six sacks on Brunell.

"They did a good job defending us with their Cover 2, and if we see that this time around, we'll be ready to go," Brunell said on Wednesday. "Regardless of what they do--whether it's blitzing or backing off--we have to be ready for it and we have to execute."

For the season, Brunell is the NFL's 9th-ranked passer with a 90.4 quarterback rating. He has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,465 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. But most of Brunell's passes are of the short or intermediate variety and the offense has struggled with consistency all season long.

Brunell and the Redskins' offense could be without wide receiver Santana Moss for the game. Moss missed Wednesday's practice as he continued to recover from a hamstring injury.

Meantime, running back Clinton Portis participated in practice on Wednesday despite a sprained ankle, but his status for the game is also uncertain.

"We're hoping they'll be out there," Brunell said. "We're certainly a better team with Santana and Clinton on the field. If not, then the backups have to step in and do the job. We certainly have enough depth at running back and at wide receiver. But we hope they can be out there."

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