Washington Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley, coming off a 30-day drug suspension, has looked strong in practice, but Coach Joe Gibbs won't say how much the former All-Pro will play in Monday's opener against the New York Giants.
Gibbs has been using third-year veteran Markus Koch with the first unit in practice this week, but acknowledged that Manley wants to start for the Super Bowl champions Monday."I think everybody who's a veteran and who's played a lot doesn't want to be a backup," Gibbs said. "I think that's understandable. The coaches are going to do the best we can to put them where we want them to be and where they can help the team."
"I think, as a general rule, the players understand that," Gibbs added. "So you've got two conflicting views. You've got 45 guys who probably want to start, but everyone can't start."
Manley, the club's all-time leader in quarterback sacks, is expected to be used primarily as a designated pass rusher, with Koch getting the starting nod at right defensive end. But even in such a limited role, Manley could give a big boost to the team's pass rush, complementing the strong rush of All-Pro left end Charles Mann.