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News & Notes: Horton Reclaims Starting Job

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Chris Horton has re-claimed the starting job at strong safety.

Horton drew the starting assignment in Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. It was the second game in a row that Horton started in place of Reed Doughty.

On Oct. 1, defensive coordinator Greg Blache had named Doughty the starter after Horton struggled in a loss to the Detroit Lions. Doughty started the next three games until giving way to Horton on Oct. 26 vs. Philadelphia.

Horton started against the Falcons even though he suffered a sprained knee during practice last Thursday. He was listed as questionable for the game.

Horton was active in Sunday's game, posting a team-high six tackles, but the Redskins struggled against the run as Falcons running back Michael Turner gashed the defense for 166 yards.

Doughty also saw action, recording six tackles, before suffering a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter.

Horton, a second-year player and 2008 seventh-round draft pick, started 10-of-14 games as a rookie last year.

He entered Sunday's game vs. Atlanta with 30 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Doughty had 37 tackles and a sack.


-- BLADES BACK IN A FLASH

Despite undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 27, H.B. Blades returned to action just 12 days later.

Blades progressed so fast after the surgery that he was able to play in Sunday's game against the Falcons.

He played special teams, recording two tackles, and served as a backup linebacker. He leads the Redskins with 18 special teams tackles.

The Redskins' complete list of inactive players for the game was as follows: Hunter Smith, Kevin Barnes, Byron Westrbook, Eddie Williams, Chris Cooley, Chad Rinehart, Anthony Montgomery and Renaldo Wynn.

Smith was replaced by Sam Paulescu, signed by the team last Friday. Paulescu made his Redskins debut after stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos the last two years.

Smith was inactive due to a groin injury and Cooley was inactive after undergoing ankle surgery on Oct. 28.


-- ORAKPO AND THE ROOKIE WALL

Rookie linebacker/defensive end Brian Orakpo has played in 12 games--including preseason--so far this year. Twelve games is roughly the equivalent of a college football season.

Any concern that Orakpo, who has started every game this season, could hit the so-called rookie wall?

"I don't really worry about him hitting a wall because he came in here with his eyes wide open and ready to go," head coach Jim Zorn said during last week's edition of "The Jim Zorn Show" on WRC-NBC 4. "He hasn't worn out at all. In fact, he's getting better and better as we go along.

"He's trying to get that linebacker position and learn what that's all about. He has really improved at that position."

In Sunday's game at Atlanta, Orakpo was impressive in the first half, posting two sacks of quarterback Matt Ryan. Orakpo has 5.5 sacks through eight games this season.

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