Topsy, Turvy Start to Camp
By: Jake Russell @_JakeRussell
Category: Washington Redskins News
The first day of the Redskins 2008 Training Camp began and ended notoriously for different reasons. On the first play of 7-on-7 practice drills, Phillip Daniels was tangled in a pile-up and tore his anterior cruciate ligament. The injury forced Daniels to be carted off the field and ended his season, a season for which he trained very hard this spring.
Daniels spent this offseason displaying his strength through power lifting competitions. It wasn’t a waste of time for him despite being excused from the Redskins off-season strength and conditioning program. With a 633-pound squat and 600-pound dead lift, Daniels won his weight class in both types of lifts. Daniels, 35, was trying to prove he still had the power and skill to be the Redskins starting left defensive end. He isn’t the most consistent pass rusher but is solid against the run, provides great veteran leadership, and can play defensive tackle in an instant.
On the second practice of the first day of training camp, Daniels’ injury fresh in his teammates’ minds, Alex Buzbee, a second year defensive end out of Georgetown University, ruptured his Achilles, ending his season as well.
Two defensive ends suffering season ending injuries all before the end of the first day of practice. It was a beginning to camp that no one expected.
Even more intrigue was added when news of a big trade was made official. The NFL’s active sack leader with 117, Jason Taylor, was coming to D.C. in exchange for a 2009 2nd round draft choice and 2010 6th round selection.
The Redskins front office, mainly Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato, reacted quickly to bring a formidable pass rush to a line that was already lacking depth made even thinner due to the season ending injuries.
Taylor, playing ability notwithstanding, already has brought a presence of assuredness when it comes to the Redskins pass-rushing abilities. He will be shifted from right defensive end, to left defensive end because of current right end Andre Carter. As far as the current Redskins players are concerned, he is a welcome addition to a team that has been seeking a formidable pass rush and more sacks from their defensive ends. The idea of Taylor and Carter on opposite sides has teammates hopeful for the upcoming season. Reaction so far has been positive, including from Phillip Daniels himself.
Walking with the aide of crutches, he spoke to the press on day two of camp, saying that he believes Taylor can get us to the Super Bowl. Daniels, who said “this was going to be my year,” also told the media that he believes Taylor is the “perfect” addition and doesn’t want anybody to feel sorry for him despite his situation. He also went on to say that he doesn’t feel this injury is the end of the road for him and that he will work very hard to make a successful return in 2009.
Taylor has already been introduced to the media through a 6:00 p.m. press conference and will be attending team meetings tonight as well. It is currently unknown whether Taylor will retrieve his #99 from Carter but he will attempt to. Fans will get their first glimpse of Taylor tomorrow morning when he practices with his new teammates at 8:30am.
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