Kenny Wright wanted to show coaches he was improving in the Redskins' defense. He just didn't think it would happen so quickly.
In the Redskins-Jets preseason game last Saturday night, on the Redskins' first defensive play of the game, Wright came in on a cornerback blitz to sack Jets' quarterback Patrick Ramsey. The sack set the tone for Wright's evening.
On the very next play, Wright stopped Jets' running back Leon Washington, holding him to a modest 5-yard gain.
Wright finished with four tackles, along with the sack. He called his performance a "step forward" from his play in the Aug. 13 preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Each week is a learning experience for me," Wright said after Tuesday's practice. "This is a very complicated defense and it's a challenge. I've never been in a defense like this, but coaches make it easy to learn.
"My first week [in preseason, against the Cincinnati Bengals], I don't feel like I played well. Last game, I came out and made a couple plays. So it was a step forward."
With Shawn Springs sidelined for the next 2-5 weeks due to an abdominal injury, Wright faces scrutiny because he could draw the start opposite Carlos Rogers early in the season. Wright was signed last offseason to serve as the Redskins' nickel cornerback.
Sending Wright on a cornerback blitz was, in effect, a vote of confidence from coaches, who wanted to get the seven-year veteran more involved in the scheme. (Coincidentally, both Wright and Ramsey hail from Ruston, La.)
"It felt real good," Wright said of the blitz. "One thing I like about Gregg [Williams] is that he's going to attack you. He's going to attack with the corners and the linemen. Everybody on this defense has a blitz and that makes it fun to play."
Said Williams: "Kenny is very versatile. He's learning new techniques and learning about the hybrid coverages that we call. He had a penalty in the Bengals game because he had his eyes in the wrong place, but that's very correctable. He has fit in very well here."
In his seven-year NFL career, Wright has played with Minnesota, Houston and Jacksonville.
Last year with the Jaguars, he started 16 games and one playoff game. During the regular season, he finished with 78 tackles (50 solo), two interceptions and six passes defended.
-- ON TRADE RUMORS & REPORTS
#### -- PATTEN SIDELINED
Wide receiver David Patten sat out Tuesday's practice with a thigh bruise injury, Joe Gibbs said.
"I don't think it's bad," Gibbs said. "We hoped he might be able to practice, but it's a bruise. Hopefully he will be able to go this weekend."
Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (knee), offensive lineman Jim Molinaro (knee) and linebacker Kevin Simon (stomach) also sat out Tuesday's practice. Molinaro continued to work with athletic trainers in one-on-one drills and on the stationary bike as he rehabs from arthroscopic knee surgery.
Meantime, cornerback Shawn Springs was at Redskins Park on Tuesday and attended positional meetings. He also began his rehab following last week's medical procedure to repair a tear in his abdominal muscle.
Said Gibbs: "I had a good visit with him after the surgery. They want him to stay off of it for a little while. They didn't want him to come to the game [last Saturday night]. Now he will be back in meetings and he will be rehabbing."