AM Practice
By: Fran Farren 
Posted: 2003-08-06
Category: Washington Redskins News
This morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m., hopped in the shower, and started by 2 ½ drive to Redskins Park for my one chance (this year) to watch a day at training camp.

...and what a day it was!!!

Because I got there a little early, my buddy and I were punting a football back and forth (and I wasn’t doin’ half bad if I must say) when this guy (wearing a Redskins while polo shirt) drives up to us and says, “You kick that ball pretty well,” he said. “Thanks,” I replied, “I used
to play soccer in high school way back when. With that, the passenger in the car, Mike Stock, asked me (and my friend) to follow them....right into Redskins park!! As some of you may know, Mike Stock is the special teams coach for the Redskins and, guess what, HE WANTED TO GIVE ME A TRY

......I woke up.

For any Redskins fan, attending a day at training came, really, is like a I’m not too far off base here. If you ever get the chance to attend even one day, please don’t pass it up. It’s an awesome experience. This is my 2nd trip to Redskins camp (the 1st was two years ago in Pennsylvania). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both trips (though it’s easier to get there now than in PA).

Moving on, here are my observations of this morning’s practice session (It is also the only one scheduled for today):

Players started arriving at 8:40 a.m.. Many were stretching.

Both punters, Bartholomew and Barker, were practicing punting. Watching them both, I gotta tell ya that at this time I really liked what I saw in Bartholomew. His punts seemed to have much more hang-time and traveled approximately 10 yards further than Barker’s. (More on this

Fielding these early punts were: Sean Dillard, Patrick Johnson, Chad Morton, and Robert Gillespie. All did fine.

Then came the stretching.

Both the offensive and defensive units lined up together and began stretching. Fred Smoot was next to Bruce Smith and it was really funny how talkative Smoot was. Sounded like he was having an Ali v. Frazier debate (who the best fighter was) with another (unknown) player. Smoot seemed to conclude that Ali was the better fighter, FYI.

For this practice, everyone was in full pads, except Lloyd Harrison and Ladell Betts.

One of about 1500 fans watching, I next observed the offensive and defensive units separate to different fields. I stuck with the offense because I wanted to see Ramsey for myself.

Here is what the offensive unit were doing at this time:

Running Backs Drills
Barrel avoidance;
Running in/out of cones;
Staying low as coaches slammed foam pillars into them;
Taking a pitch from the Quarterback; and
Play action short passes [Hamdan was throwing].

Just had a catch with each other (except Hamdan, who helped the RBs)

Tight Ends
Worked on blocking skills;
worked on block “and releasing” to be a receiver

Wide Receivers
Worked on some ball control skills;
Ran some down-and-out routes;
Ran some down-and-in routes.

Offensive Line
Worked on beating the crap out of each other on the line.

I then watched Rob Johnson throw some quick-outs to the receivers....and I gotta say, I concur with much of what was said about him on this board. His short throws lacked zip and tended to float. That spells trouble in
my book!

Not surprisingly, Spurrier spent most of his time with Quarterbacks and WRs.

One play I saw them working on (that I thought was interesting) was....the Quarterback would pass to WR#1 (looked like a lateral) and then WR#1 would through a pass across the field to WR#2. (One thing I learned watching this drill is that Rod Gardner makes a much better
receiver than he is a quarterback!!)

Most of the throws by the Quarterbacks were on target, except Rob Johnson (as I already noted) floated a few. Most of the balls were caught, however. Once catch by Sean Dillard seemed really jerky...and not fluid at all. On one play, Ramsey through a bullet to Coles, who was being covered by Bailey. Both Bailey and the ball arrived at the same time...and Bailey stripped Coles of the ball. That stirred up the crowd...and also stirred up the defense!

Next came some 11 on 11 drills focusing on the running game. Rob Johnson handled the QB duties here. Kenny Watson was very impressive was Canidate. David Terrell, however, was not. On one play, Watson came around the corner and ran right over Terrell, who was backtracking on his feet. NOT GOOD! Canidate also made it known that he should be considered the #1 back. He had an impressive morning practice. This guy is really “built for speed.”

Next came some special teams work by K John Hall.

He started kicking at around 30 yards out. All were good...with a lot of room to spare. At 40 yards, the same. When he went to 45 yards, he missed only one and made the remaining 2-3.

My observation of John Hall? THIS DUDE CAN KICK!!! He seems to have a GREAT (and accurate) leg!

I’m looking forward to seeing him play this year.

Next came the full-contact punting drills. Here is where I was very surprised. Unlike earlier in the morning, Bartholomew’s punts were wobbly, shorter, and just didn’t look good. Barker, on the other hand, was blasting his kicks long and high.

As for our punting situation....more observation is needed, I think.

One interesting observation, several times Chad Morton handled the punt only to hand it off to Champ Bailey (on an end-around type of play). Look for this play in the regular season!!

One other note: Almost all punt-returners fielded the punts cleanly. Patrick Johnson, however, let one ball hit hims smack in the numbers and bounce off of his chest. Hopefully, this is a one-time thing.

Next came some more passing drills. A couple of notes:

* Robert Royal has some really soft hands;
* Rob Johnson really stinks at short hard throws but seems to be better when he is lobbing the ball down the field for 20-30 yards.
* Cliff Russell is the real deal. On one play, he blew by the defensive player and caught a long pass for a touchdown. Once he caught it, his burst of speed was surely impressive.
* Fred Smoot is the loudest player on the team, whether he is playing or not!
* Danny Wuerffel stunk up the joint! One one series, he threw only 2 passes. One was tipped for an interception. The other looked like it was thrown (purposefully) right into the arms of Champ Bailey!!!
* Laveranues Coles is also the real deal. He caught many balls that were extremely difficult, also making one one-handed catch that stirred the crowd.

I, for one, am hoping that Wuerffel is simply going to be a “mentor” this year and not an actual back-up!!

Being from Delaware, I looked around for Darnerien McCants [DelawareState University]; however, I didn’t see him. He may have been at practice...but I didn’t see him.

After some sprints to end the practice, most of the players went in without signing autographs for the fans.

Practice ended around 11:00 a.m.

The following players, however, did spend a lot of time with the fans:

Danny Wuerffel
Gibran Hamdan
Renaldo Wynn
Chris Samuels
Del Cowsette

While the fans were getting their autographs, I was spending about $80 on Redskins paraphernalia at the store!

What a great day!!!
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