AM Practice
By: Noel Dickover 
Posted: 2003-08-14
Category: Washington Redskins News
Field Conditions: It was a VERY hot and muggy day at Redskins Park today. The bugs were out and the players were definitely sweating up a storm. Just sitting on the sidelines, I was getting drenched.

The Highlights: From a football standpoint, this practice was not one of the best. There were lots of dead times, lots of misses, and truly horrid QB play. The Defensive backs got more interceptions today then anytime Ive seen previously. Rob Johnson actually took more snaps than Ramsey today. In fact the first team did not play very much at all. It seemed like Spurrier wanted to get one last look at the borderline players.

Punters: In the punting competition, after both punters looked totally inconsistent in early punting drills, hitting from 30 54 yards with no consistency. However, when they lined up with the rest of the team in real punting situations, Barker smoked Bartholomew, more due to Bartholomew's atrocious punts. He made one punt over 40 yards, the rest were very bad. Barker made a number over 50 in this drill.

QB Woes: The QB play was truly horrid from all concerned today. I don't think I could simply get this across to you in words, so I'll list in sequence their worst string of the day, starting w/Ramsey at the beginning of an 11-on-11 drill. Before I do, I must warn the faint-of-heart to turn away now! While Ramsey has usually been dead on, I'm afraid there is no way to sugar coat the following sequence. Here's how bad it was folks:

1. Ramesy throws bad pass to Robert Royal which is dropped
2. Ramsey's next pass is almost intercepted (and should have been) by Bauman who is gaurding Jacobs
3. Ramsey completes a poorly thrown 15 yd pass to Sean Dilliard to the right sideline (it looked out of bounds actually)
4. Ramsey Audibles and completes a pass to Gardner
5. Ramsey audibles again and has the pass batted down at the line of scrimmage
6. Ramsey throws a short pass which is almost intercepted (should have been) by Orantes Grant.
7. Ramsey throws one in the dirt in front of Richard Flowers
8. Ramsey throws a 30 yard pass to Patrick Johnson who is only 20 yards deep
9. Shamar Finney finally puts Ramsey out of his misery by intercepting the next pass. Spurrier has seen enough and inserts Johnson.
10. While the defense jumps offsides, Johnson overthrows Richard Flowers.
11. Johnson seriously underthrows the next pass which is intercepted by David Terrel. Spurrier has seen enough and inserts Weurfle.
12. Weurfle promptly continues the action by overthrowing Robert Royal to the right sideline.
13. Finally a completion! Wuerfle completes a pass for no gain at the line of scrimmage to Thad Buttone.
14. Ladarius Jackson blocks the next pass. Spurrier has seen enough and puts back in Johnson.
15. Johnson continues the stellar QB play with a pass to NOBODY (when I say nobody, I mean "nobody," defense or offense) in the middle of the field. Spurrier and his ever-moving visor finally inserts Hamden.
16. Hamden, not one to show off to his betters, has his first pass blocked by Lemar Marshall.
17. Hamden goes for broke on his next pass to the endzone, which is short and should have been intercepted by Smoot. Smoot knows this and immediately drops down and gives 10 pushups.
18. Somebody finally takes pity on the poor offense and sounds the horn, ending the insanity...

After the horn, they went to a 7 on 7 drill which looked lots better comparitively, but I feel sorry for the poor fans who came to practice just this once and saw this as an example of how the team is doing.

Whos Hot: I dont know that it will matter at this point, but Sean Dillard (WR, #15) made some terrific plays today. John Hall was as consistent as ever. Sultan McClullough looked very good, but what impressed me the most was his pass blocking. He stopped Orantes Grant (LB, #57) cold on a 11-on-11 drill in which Grant blitzed. Brad Badell also looked good in the one on one line competitions, stopping Mike Cecere again twice. The following people intercepted passes in either 11 on 11 drills or 7 on 7 drills: Smoot (twice, and dropped one, after which he gave himself 10 pushups), Shamar Finney (LB, 51), Matt Bowan, Champ, and David Terrel. There were also clear interception drops from Orantes Grant (57) and Rashad Bowman (25).

Whos Not: This is a guess here, but it looked like Cliff Russell and Darnerian McCants were being punished for something. Both were taken away from the main field people were practicing on (the far right field first time this was the main field when I was watching) and were made to run slow sprints across the close field like 20 times. Putting it nicely, all the QBs struggled today (or the defense was "Great!" as was the spin on redskins.com in overviewing the session - you make the call!). The following people dropped passes: Patrick Johnson, Kevin Ware, Robert Royal, Ade Jimoh, Rashad Bauman, Larry Austin (those three dropped passes on DB interception drills, but should have been easy catches).

Best Plays: The two best plays were: Sean Dilliard catching a tough 20 yarder while being covered by Champ Bailey and Chad Morton catching a 40 yard punt with one hand while barely paying attention.

Real Highlight! Smoot, after practice, walked through the crowd to a WPGC Radio booth set up 50 feet away. He was MOBBED! It took him almost 10 minutes to make a 50 foot walk. Chris Paul did a kickin interview with him (I got a number of pics of this) in which Smoot said he really hit the weights hard for the first time in his career. He thinks he is stronger and faster, and fully expects to make the pro-bowl and superbowl!

Defensive ball swatting drill: This drill was one of the best in showing the difference between the starters and the rest. In this drill, the DBs teamed up and went across the field in a line, one playing WR and the other being DB. The ball was thrown at the WR, and the other player had to "swat" the ball away. Smoot, Champ, Terrel and Bowen were FAR better at this then the rest. Most of the rest were batting hands away along with the ball; the starters got clean "all-ball" hits.

Spurrier is said to have commented on the Redskins progress after this practice with the following, "We have a long way to go." This practice was definitely not a highlight, but one must see some truth in his words.
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