''They're still on the fence a little bit,'' coach Jay Gruden said Monday of a banged-up group of cornerbacks. ''Whoever is back there, they're going to have to play their butt off.''
Despite coming off a bye, cornerback DeAngelo Hall (right toe), Bashaud Breeland (hamstring) and Chris Culliver (left knee) all said Monday it's unclear if they'll be able to play for Washington (3-4) against New England (7-0) on Sunday.
Pass-rushing linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is also recovering from surgery on a broken bone in his right hand and is set for a follow-up visit with a surgeon Thursday.
Despite that potential injury crunch, Hall said it's important not to return too quickly at a position that will be crucial for the Redskins' upset chances against the NFL's fifth-ranked overall offense and second-ranked passing attack.
''It's just about trying to manage the pain, making sure I can do what I need to do to play defensive back,'' Hall said. ''Whether I'm out there or somebody else is out there, the defense is going to keep going and keep moving. The train isn't stopping for me or anybody else.''
Despite missing Hall and Culliver for several weeks, the Redskins entered Monday ranked ninth in pass defense. With both out, they've allowed an average of 265 passing yards against the Falcons, Jets and Buccaneers.
The big struggle has been forcing turnovers. Washington's three interceptions are tied for last in the league.
Breeland's injury, sustained in Washington's Week 7 win over Tampa Bay, could leave the Redskins with only one non-rookie at the position, Will Blackmon.
''I really can't call it,'' said Breeland, a second-year player. ''I want to be out there and help the team win, but at the same time I want to be healthy to further my career. I really don't have any pressure.''
Kerrigan had his right hand wrapped after Monday's practice. Kerrigan has 3 1/2 sacks this season, a year after leading Washington with 13 1/2. He said he's had no setbacks since suffering the injury in Week 7, and hopes to be part of the pass rush that will be a crucial component of Washington's attempt to contain Brady.
''If he has time, it's almost, you can say it's over,'' Kerrigan said. ''You've got to get guys in his face, got to get pressure up the middle, got to get keep the good edge, and just got to get after them.''
NOTES: Gruden did not give specific injury updates, but WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring strain) suggested he would be ready to return against New England, saying ''everything's a green light.'' Jackson has not played since Week 1. ... Nose tackle Terrance Knighton and offensive lineman Brandon Scherff both missed practice ''for personal reasons,'' Gruden said.
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