ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — As Josh Norman's eyes darted back and forth, they kept going back to the TV showing NFL games unfolding in real time. Minutes after a rare Sunday afternoon practice wrapped up, the Washington Redskins cornerback couldn't help but marvel at another turnover the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles forced in their rout of the Chicago Bears.
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — As Josh Norman's eyes darted back and forth, they kept going back to the TV showing NFL games unfolding in real time.
Minutes after a rare Sunday afternoon practice wrapped up, the Washington Redskins cornerback couldn't help but marvel at another turnover the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles forced in their rout of the Chicago Bears.
"They got another little turnover?" Norman said. "Man. Our division's so hard, but it's OK. I'll tell you what, our division's so hard."
The bruised and battered Redskins aren't catching the 10-1 Eagles, though their challenge is made even harder by a wacky schedule.
As much of the rest of the NFL was playing games, the Redskins practiced in preparation for their second half of back-to-back Thursday night games when they visit the Dallas Cowboys.
"It's kind of tough because this typically is a day you're playing, but you're out there full-tilt practicing, hitting hard and stuff like that," defensive lineman Ziggy Hood said.
"Coach (Jay Gruden), he took care of us, making sure that everybody's getting their work in, but he didn't want to put too much strain on (our) bodies."
The strain is already there for Washington, which has 15 players on injured reserve, including top two running backs Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson.
The Redskins (5-6) are hoping to get a few injured players back to face Dallas, though playing three games in 12 days is not much help.
Left tackle Trent Williams (knee), tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring) and safety Montae Nicholson (concussion) were among the players who didn't practice Sunday.
Gruden said Reed, who has missed four games in a row, is "doing better," but his is one of more than a dozen ailments bad enough to get listed on the injury report last week.
"Everybody's hurt, banged up," said linebacker Zach Brown, who has been listed with back, foot and Achilles tendon injuries.
"You got to take care of your body. You just can't do a lot of stuff. You've got to rest, get massages, treatment, ice. You've got to just do stuff to try to get your body right for Thursday. Even on Thursday you're still going to be sore a lot."
Norman couldn't remember a previous Thursday to Thursday situation in his six-year NFL career. The Cowboys did it last year at this time, so coach Jason Garrett has a feel for the tempo of the week.
"You just kind of get yourself locked in," Garrett said by conference call Sunday. "Thursday to Thursday actually is the normal work week, so you can kind of get back into the flow of things. Today is Wednesday for us. You kind of get yourself on that body clock and just move forward."
Redskins players strapped the pads for practice for the first time in a while as everyone tried to trick themselves into thinking it was the middle of a normal week.
In light of the schedule crunch, Gruden shortened practice and said it wasn't the most energetic gathering of professional football players.
That was expected.
"It was more about getting our pads back on a little bit early in the practice, getting our fundamentals down, taking a look at some of these new guys who we haven't seen a whole lot, getting some work in," Gruden said.
"We got our work in. It was more of a mental day. The physical part of it was pretty good. These guys are a little worn out right now."
Even with all the injuries, Washington still has chance, albeit a long shot, to make the playoffs. Norman went so far as to call it a blessing — one that would've been even better had the Redskins not blown a late lead at New Orleans in Week 11.
"It's a very humbling experience since the fact of losing all those guys and we're still in the thick of things," Norman said.
"You take away all the dust and the smoke and everything else that people really say about this team and you see what type of fighters and guys we get off the street and come in and play and still win games, it's pretty great. It's a pretty amazing, remarkable feat."