With Clinton Portis shouldering a heavy workload on Sundays and Ladell Betts sidelined with a knee injury, Rock Cartwright and Shaun Alexander will share a handful of carries at running back.
Cartwright has not been a regular running back since 2003, when he had 107 carries. He has served as the Redskins' kickoff return specialist each of the last three years.
Cartwright had three carries for 12 yards in last Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. Alexander had three carries for eight yards.
For some time, Cartwright has wanted the opportunity for more carries in games. He knows it's hard to get carries with Portis and Betts in front of him on the depth chart.
The last two years, Cartwright has just seven carries for 15 yards on offense.
With Betts out 1-3 more weeks, Cartwright could get more opportunities in the run game when Portis needs a break.
"It was great to be out there with the offense," Cartwright said after the Browns game. "I missed a couple of reads and I think I could have made some more yards. But I had to get a feel for the game. The offensive line did a great job and I'm going to keep on pounding."
Head coach Jim Zorn referred to one play against the Browns in which Cartwright ran a stretch run to the right.
Cartwright was stopped for no gain on the play.
"He's going to want that back as well," he said. "He strung it out, but there was a little seam inside. That's hard to see if you don't get the reps, you don't get a feel for how that play is developing and what you saw the last time the play was run.
"It's hard, just to go in cold turkey and then make the perfect decision. You get fortunate at times, but then you have to keep feeling it."
Cartwright has adjusted to Zorn's version of the West Coast offense and he says that the play-calling has been one of the keys to the Redskins' fast start.
"[Defenses] can try to catch up, but I think this offense is real special," Cartwright said. "We can run different plays out of the same formation. [Defenses] might eventually catch up, but we're going to try to stay one step ahead."
-- WHO'S THAT QUARTERBACK?
Quarterback Dan Orlovsky has started the Lions' last two games due to a season-ending injury to Jon Kitna.
Leading some Redskins to wonder: Who's Orlovsky? And how do you pronounce his name?
Even though the Redskins have only two regular season games of film to evaluate Orlovsky, coaches have taken a crash course in the unheralded 6-5, 230-pound quarterback out of Connecticut.
"He's a big kid and he has a strong arm," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said.
Orlovsky has completed 39-of-74 passes this season for 518 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"He's not in Detroit because a judge sentenced him there," Blache said, drawing laughter from media. "He's in the league because he's a quality quarterback and football player. He doesn't have flash, but everything for him is in front of him.
"All of the big names were not big names when they came up [to the NFL]. Hopefully we can keep this guy from becoming a big name on our watch."
Orlovsky was part of what will certainly be an NFL blooper play two weeks ago against the Minnesota Vikings. Backed up at the goal line, he took the snap and avoided pressure by rolling left.
Unfortunately, Orlovsky rolled right out of the back of the end zone. He continued to run the play, apparently unaware that he had cost the Lions a safety.
-- JOHNSON DRAWS ATTENTION
The Redskins may not be familiar with Dan Orlovsky, but they are aware of second-year wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Johnson, 6-5 and 239 pounds, was a first-round draft choice by the Lions last year. He leads the offense with 25 catches for 531 yards, a 21.2 yards-per-catch average, and four touchdowns.
Last week against Houston, Johnson caught passes of 54 and 96 yards, the latter for a touchdown.
"It's very easy to overlook the quality players they have, but we can't do that," Greg Blache said. "There are a lot of good players there that get overlooked because of their [0-6] record. They have some weapons and Johnson is a guy we have to keep a watch on."
-- CAMPBELL'S FINE
Jason Campbell had a minor groin injury after last Sunday's game against Cleveland, but he has been able to practice all week.
He is not listed on the Redskins' injury report.
"I feel good," he said. "I just needed to go out and practice each day to get better."
Campbell had a career day against Detroit last year. He completed 23-of-29 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins' 34-3 dismantling of the Lions at FedExField.