By: Noel Dickover
Category: Washington Redskins News
Man, this was an intense practice. It did not have the usually light hearted feel during warmups, there was a serious fight (Chad got pissed) and generally a "get to business" type practice one would expect after they got their "you-know-whats" handed to them.
It was raining about an inch an hour prior to practice, but it cleared up about 30 minutes before start. By the middle of practice, the sun was beating down something fierce on the skins. There was a HUGE crowd and like 60 some VIPs blocking our view from the normal practice field (front right field). George and Sunny (w/his stogie) were in the golf cart at midfield but there was no sign of Danny boy. Also, I got Darnerien McCants to make an official comment for Thehogs.net! (More on this at the end)
Before Warmups: Prior to the practice, Hall was kicking from 23, 33, 42 and then back to 23 yards. In all I saw him kick 16 times and did not see one miss, but he seemed to be taking it easier than last week. The kicks were right about the middle of the uprights with the 40 yarders just over the crossbar. Both Bartholomew and Barker were holding for him. To the delight of the crowd, Hall beamed the guy in the high crows nest behind the goalpost a few times as the crowsnest was being raised.
There was also a football kick return machine (similar to a baseball batting cage machine) that was sending balls 30 yards up in the air to kick returners. At this point they were just catching the ball. Jacobs and Patrick Johnson got the most catches (each around 4) with Sultan McCullough (at that time wearing #39, but this was to change), Robert Gillespie, Chad Morton (who came in later, but still before 4:00) and Ade Jimoh each getting a catch or two. They rotated the kick machine from the middle, to the right, and then over to the left side of the field. Nobody dropped any in this drill. It was interesting that they had a camera on the field recording this drill very closely. Usually, the only cameras you see are on the high crows nests.
The QBs and WRs were in pairs with one QB throwing to a WR, who would hand to the adjacent QB, who would throw to the other WR (Hopefully that made sense). Ramsey threw to McCants, who handed it to Rob Johnson, who threw to Scott Cloman (Cloman looked fine today, no problems with the shoulder apparently), who handed it back to Ramsey. Weurfle and Hamden were doing similar drills.
Injury Report: Darnerien McCants was fully practicing, as was Bruce Smith. Ladell Betts was in full pads but only practiced the first half. Kenny Watson was not dressed and had a wrap on his left (I think it was left) leg. Also, Dave Fiore was out. Larry Moore (50), an OL left in a cart right around 5:00. I expect we will hear something about him being injured. Also apparently out for practice were the officials, who were sorely needed in the second hour - more on this later.
Warmups: Nothing fun to report, other than Coles and Ramsey seem to be in the habit of warming up next to one another. After warmups, everyone broke into position drills. The Defense went to the opposite corner field so it was hard to see what they were doing, but I did get some brief descriptions. Mostly I saw the RBs (up close, along with some "colorful metaphors" by Hue Jackson), The Oline and the QB/WR drills.
RB Drills: The RBs pretty much went through all the drills I had seen them do in previous practices, including anti-fumbling drills, footwork drills, Cutting drills (with upside down trashcans), and then some passing drills with Danny Weurfle. The order for the drills generally went like this: Canidate, Morton, Betts (Betts came second in the passing drills though), Sultan, Gillespie, and then the FBs (I believe this was the FB order but I was also watching the other stuff) Johnson, Cartwright and Buttone. Betts looked both fast and large in these. His legs are huge compared to Trung. I really want to see him in action, but he did not participate in the later full contact drills. Cartwright dropped one pass during these. Jackson was continually saying during the passing drills, "Finish it, Finish it!" (the run).
Oline: Okay, I may be off base on my analysis here but I don't think so. After some brief hand drills, The Oline appeared to be doing offsides punishment drills. They continually lined up against one another (two lines, but both lines acted like Olinemen) and waited for the coach to yell "Hut". Then they would go until they touched the oposing player. They did this way too many times to count (all through the time the RBs were doing the whole series of different drills listed above). The players faces looked suspiciously like the bad kid in school who had to write 40 times on the board "I will not shoot spitballs in class." However, its interesting to note that later in the scrimmages, it was the Dline who continually got offsides. Go figure...
QBs/WRs: The QBs (Ramsey and Johnson) were doing a whole series of different pass plays with the WRs. This caught the VIPs attention so they all moved to that side of the field. The order of the WRs was as follows: Coles, Garder, Jacobs, Russel, Flowers, Cloman, McCants, Johnson, Woodcock, etc. I saw both Russel and Gardner drop one, but generally everyone seemed to do ok from my standpoint. However, Spurrier was very engaged and was doing quite a bit of coaching here. McCants looked really good, which is nice considering how much time he has missed. Patrick Johnson made the catch of the day though, with an awesome one handed 20 yard out.
Defense: The LBs/DBs seemed to be working on interception or pass blocking drills. I am hoping it was pass blocking drills due to the number of balls that were dropped, but unfortunately a decent number were caught as well. Again, I had to use my Binocs to see this as they were on the opposite corner field. The Dline was working on footwork drills and hand use drills.
7 on 7 RB/TE running passing drills: This is when things started to get interesting. The RBs and TEs where doing passes out to the sides (5-10 yards out) with defenders. For some reason, Sultan was now wearing number 22 (this took us a while to figure out...at first I thought a new RB was in camp, but realized Sultan was not there). At first, the RBs were going up the middle, and the defendesr were pushing them, but were not really bringing them down. That started to change though, for some reason things started to get more intense. Jordan Younger (38 ) nailed Morton on one play. Gillespie got stripped on another play with Ricot Joseph recovering. The best tackle was done by Armstead who nailed Gillespie behind the line. In the passing plays Royal seemed to be getting more work then Flemister here. The highlight though was Trung going on Bowen. Trung caught a tough pass to the right and started running while Bowen was closing on them. The crowd got scared - I thought Bowen was gonna whack him, but they eased off at the end. Jackson said at the top of his lungs after this play "That's some good *sh$t* right there!" He then yelled "We gonna do it right! Lets Go!" Regan Upshwaw then took down (later to find out an increasingly frustrated) Morton. For some reason the defense was intent on putting Morton on the ground. Bruce Smith did this on another play later.
Punters: The punters were hitting by themselves on the far right field. I would like to say one looked better than the other or that they were both consistent but this is not the case. They both seemed to hit some long and some high and short. I don't know if they were just trying different punts or what, but there appeared to be no rhyme or reason from where I was sitting.
5:00 - At this point, the practice was half over. The teams broke into the two opposing fields and BOTH fields worked on special teams return drills. It seemed Spurrier was really interested in addressing special teams in this practice more than say tackling. Interestingly, Patrick Johnson seemed to be second in the rotation on kick returns. on the far field, the defense and the tight ends were practicing punt return coverage.
WR/RB Passing Drills: At the far end of the field, the QBs started passing in 3-4 reciever/plus running back sets. This was interesting to watch. At least 4-5 guys would go out with the QB choosing one. Tight ends, RBs and WRs got involved in this. I saw Coles miss a tough catch on the side.
7 on 7: After the passing drills, they did a 7 on 7 passing scrimmage with the DBs and LBs and some Dlinemen. This was pretty intense, but there were no officials. In one clear pass interference Bowen practically mugged Coles before the ball got there. There were a number of good catches, in one case, Cloman put an awesome move on someone after the catch. There were a number of blocks by the defense as well though. Overall, the intensity level was high. Trung dropped one that he should have caught in this drill.
Then the fight broke out - Chad caught a pass over the middle and then was stopped by three defenders (I believe they were Larry Austin (40), Rashidi Barnes (32) and Armstead (98 ), who then threw him down. Chad came up swinging. It was a real nasty one, with all 3 defenders taking him to the ground, which made everyone come in and surround it. It took a while to calm Chad down, while the defenders went to the opposite sideline. I think someone got this on tape so look for it on the 11 Oclock news. The best play on this overall was Garderner who totally faked out Wade Davis (36) for a touchdown.
Oline Vs Dline drills: These were great. For some reason, mostly the backup Oline was going against the backup Dline. Its hard to desribe this but I'll try. #71, Ethan ALbright was the QB (yes, he dropped a number of snaps - don't quit your day job Ethan!), and 3 Olineman would line up and one Dlineman. The Dlineman went against only one of the Onlinemen (either the right or left side). These were intense. The Dline won if they got to Eathen "Fleet of foot" Albright while the Oline won if they stopped this. Usually the same pair went at each other twice in a row. In a play reminisent of Saturday Derrick Dockery (66) got absolutely thrown aside by Zellner. Zellner Nailed him in a bull rush the second time. In one really fun outing, Bruce Smith Flew past Samuels on an inside rush. Brad Badell looked great beating Mike Cecere twice. Lennie Friedman (64) held his own against Scott Greg (96).
11 on 11: The big news here is Robert Royal was the TE on the first play of the scrimmage. Usually, they put their first team in the first play (Coles, Garder were in, Trung was in, Ramsey, etc.). This was a fun scrimmage, but unfortunately, the lack of officials really showed. The Offensive line was holding horribly. The defensive line was getting offsides (Arnold (77), Scott (96) and Brown (79) were the worst). In one play, Trung was kept in for blocking and lost a blitz from Chris Clemons (59) who then stood next to Ramsey waiting for him to pass. On another play though, Trung absolutely smacked Wade Davis (36) when running a sweep to the right. Coles and Patrick Johnson both dropped catchable passes in here. Both Ramsey and JOhnson seemed to take too long on their passes.
For Autographs, The usual crowd showed up (Ramsey, Smoot, Hamden, Flowers, and Lavar and Champ!), along with Cowsette, Todd Frantz (29) and Danny Weurfle. Everyone looked exhausted, and were totally dripping with sweat. This was the first time I saw Ramsey leave early - he continually apologized saying he had to lift weights. Lavar, with his shirt off, had to really be coaxed in, he kept saying "I'm Tired." Darnerian McCants was also there, and I got him to make a comment for the site. I told him I thought he played hard today and was glad he was back. Darnerian looked exhausted and said, I'm tryin man, I'm trying. I asked him if he had anything to say for TheHogs.net, after asking what this was, he said "Redskins Rock!" Thats my quote for the day!
"Redskins Rock!" By Darnerien McCants for TheHOGS.net!
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