A gorgeous morning here in Ashburn today, definitely a little cooler and less humid. The players came out in full gear, so I knew that we were in for a good practice. Obviously the fans loved the weather, as the AM session today was by far the most heavily attended practice yet.
I wanted to concentrate on the offensive line this morning, but they moved to the opposite end of the field and I couldn't really watch much. I decided to watch the defensive line some instead.
I don't know if injuries prevented Renaldo Wynn from performing to his standards last year, but he looks really good this year. He was very fluid in the drills and was also helping some of the rookie ends with their technique. The line spent about half an hour doing drills that somehow involved engaging one or two guys and then releasing. It was all at half speed, but you could see that veterans like Wynn, and Upshaw really have a lot better skills than some of the young guys. Delbert Cowsette looked good though. He's wearing number 99 this year.
The blackflies were brutal on the defense's side of the field today, so if you come to practice and want to get a really good view of the defense, MAKE SURE YOU BRING SOME BUG SPRAY... and bring me some too.
I was getting eaten alive, and the action was limited so I moved back to the other field just in time to see tome special teams drills. They went through quite a few ST drills with Mike Stock out there instructing and yelling. They did some drills that involved just practicing their runups on the kickoff and then they put up some pads in the middle of the field and had the players running through them full tilt. Pretty uneventful, but good to see the team spending some time on ST, we need the practice.
For the last 1/2 hour or more of the practice, the fans were treated to a full contact, full speed set of passing and running drills. Once again, the offense looked very fluid when Ramsey was at the helm. He wasn't quite as impressive as yesterday, but he still made some great passes. Rod Gardner and Laveranues Coles were the most noticeable receivers and I actually saw Richmond Flowers drop a pass today. I honestly think it's the first one that I've seen him drop.
Rob Johnson continues to be less than impressive and yes folks, he's still sitting in the pocket too long and shuffling his feet too much. He did make some nice passes, but the pocket also collapsed around him several times. They have been rotating the quarterbacks through constantly so that they're both working with both starters and back-ups, so it isn't that he's not getting the same protection. He looks like he's still learning the offense which I guess is to be expected.
Gibran Hamdan continues to impress everyone here with his raw physical possibilities. At 6'4", he towers over guys out there and he throws the ball better than Johnson does. He has great mechanics and I'm sure Spurrier is seeing a lot of upside to him. A lot of people have asked me why we picked Hamdan over Brad Banks, but watching the two of them at practice, it's quite easy to tell. Banks is hardly getting any reps at all.
It was a very vocal afternoon with lots of cheering and jeering in the stands. By far the biggest reaction came when Matt Bowen rocked Trung Canidate. Canidate had busted a run and was running up the sideline. He lowered his head to take on Bowen and got just smoked. Both were fine, but the crowd went nuts. Bowen has really impressed me with his speed already, so to see him make that kind of hit was just gravy. I think that we have found a real diamond in the rough here, though only game action will reveal how he'll fit in as a starter.
Kevin Mitchell didn't practice today, but I did get a chance to ask him if it was just cramps yesterday and he said that it was and that he was just going to take it easy for a day or two. Ladell Betts also did not practice and had his elbow pretty heavily bandaged. Bruce Smith also appears that he will only be practicing once a day.
I continue to meet loads of great people at practice and I really enjoy just talking Redskins with whoever is standing beside you. Just wanted to put a shout out to Brian who I've watched nearly every practice with. We're having a grand old time yelling at players like we know what we're doing and telling everyone around us who all the players are.
That's a wrap for this morning, hopefully I can get a good look at the offensive line this afternoon but it's getting pretty hot, so they may practice without pads again this afternoon.
Ken Harvey was at practice this morning but I didn't get a chance to talk to him. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see him this afternoon and bring you guys the insight of a true pro.
This article was released on 2003-07-30.
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