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Practice notes | Jacoby Brissett questionable, Kendall Fuller out vs. 49ers


The Washington Commanders' original plan was to let Jacoby Brissett start their Week 17 game against the San Francisco 49ers and let Sam Howell sit back, take a breath and learn from the sideline as the backup. Now, that might have to change.

Brissett, who was named the starter on Wednesday, was added to the injury report on Friday after dealing with hamstring tightness and will be questionable for Sunday. if he cannot play, Howell will be the team's starter once again.

Brissett played well when called upon against the Rams and Jets in the last two weeks, completing 78.3% of his passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. He has yet to be sacked or throw an interception, and the Commanders scored on five of the seven drives he was in at quarterback.

Head coach Ron Rivera said that the team will monitor Brissett's status for the next 48 hours to determine if he can be ready by kickoff.

"He took some reps today and looked pretty good moving around," Rivera said.

Whoever ends up starting for the Commanders at quarterback will have to play without their starting center and left tackle, as Tyler Larsen (knee) and Charles Leno (calf) have been ruled out for the second straight week. Just as they did against the Jets, Nick Gates and Cornelius Lucas will take their place. Gates had his best game of the season in Week 16, earning a grade of 71.5 from Pro Football Focus and allowing zero pressures.

There's also a chance that starting right tackle Andrew Wylie (elbow) will not be available after being limited all week. If he cannot play, Trent Scott is the next player up on the depth chart.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Commanders will be severely limited against the NFL's second-best passing offense. Kendall Fuller was re-added to the injury report on Friday and has been ruled out for Sunday. Benjamin St-Juste is also out with a concussion, as is Percy Butler with a wrist issue.

So, here's how the secondary will look agains the 49ers: Emmanuel Forbes and Tariqu Castro-Fields will be lined up at cornerback; Kamren Curl and Terrell Burgess will be the Commanders' safeties; and Quan Martin will also add support at safety and nickel.

Forbes came in for St-Juste as he was being evaluated and played well on 29 defensive snaps. He allowed just one reception and three yards on four targets, by far his best performance since Week 1. Since being benched in Week 6, Forbes has allowed six receptions on 19 targets for 92 yards.

"There were actually some really good things that he had done," Rivera said. "He's been working really hard these last couple of weeks, been working on some things. We saw some real positive things on Friday that we're feeling pretty good about. And then when he got the opportunity to come in and play the way he did, there were some things that showed that he's starting to get a good feel for it, a better feel for it."

On a more positive note, the Commanders will have their starting running back in the lineup this weekend. Brian Robinson Jr., who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, will be active for the team's Week 17 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Robinson, who leads the Commanders with 664 yards and eight total touchdowns, first experienced discomfort during the Commanders' loss to the Miami Dolphins. The hope was that Robinson would improve during the bye week, but it turned out that his injury needed more time to heal. Prior to Wednesday, he had not participated in practice since the Friday before the Dolphins game.

"You always miss your good players," said assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. "Obviously, it's tough when players are hurt. You never want miss games. But next man up, guys got to rise to the occasion and just like I made the statement earlier, we all have to play better."

Robinson's absence meant Antonio Gibson and Chris Rodriguez Jr. received more snaps. Rodriguez benefitted the most during that span by leading the team in both games with a combined 93 yards on 23 carries, averaging 4.7 yards per attempt, with two touchdowns.

But with Rodriguez going to Injured Reserve, Robinson's return couldn't be timelier. Despite missing the last two games, he still leads the Commanders with 990 scrimmage yards, 189 touches and 54 first downs gained.

And with two games left, he still has a chance to surpass his rushing total of 797 yards from last season.

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