Skins Kick Off 07 In Baltimore
With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees in the stands and 120 on the field, the heat was on for the Washington Redskins, as they faced off against the Baltimore Ravens in their annual scrimmage.
The scrimmage, taking place at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, was the first chance for the inexperienced players on the roster to make an impression on coaches in a simulated game environment against a real opponent.
Redskins fans came out in droves, especially for a scrimmage. Amongst the 25,000 plus in attendance, the burgundy and gold were well represented on the team’s sideline, with fans showing support throughout the day.
The scrimmage began with special teams drills from both teams, starting with Derrick Frost punting to Baltimore followed by the Ravens punting to the Redskins.
Antwaan Randle El, who attracted plenty of “boos” from the anti-Steeler crowd, was the first to receive punts. Rookie cornerback Byron Westbrook received the third and fourth punts, fumbling the first and struggling to pick up the second punt after bouncing off the ground.
No tackling was allowed but the gunners from both teams were very physical when trying to speed past their assigned double teams.
Next came kickoffs and kickoff returns. Wide Receiver Jason McAddley, cornerback John Eubanks, and running back Derrick Blaylock all received reps as kickoff returners. Eubanks showed excellent speed and good vision on his return.
Next came 7-on-7’s and offensive/defensive line 1-on-1 drills.
Jason Campbell and Mark Brunell split time at quarterback during these drills with Campbell seeing most of the action. Wide receiver James Thrash appeared to be Campbell’s favorite target, catching several passes including a touchdown that drew cheers from the Redskins faithful. Tight end Chris Cooley, Blaylock, and running back Ladell Betts saw plenty of action. Blaylock and Betts caught mostly swing passes and short passes down the middle.
Fred Smoot provided the biggest defensive highlight, picking off a Steve McNair pass.
Brunell led off the 11-on-11’s, mostly throwing short passes and handing off on short yardage running plays. The plays were very vanilla, which is Gibbs’ calling card for offensive schemes in pre-season games.
Running back Marcus Mason, a rookie out of Youngstown State, showed promise in 11-on-11’s. He ran 12 times for 34 yards. Wide receiver Burl Toler hauled in the only Redskins touchdown during 11-on-11 drills, a 24-yarder from sixth-round pick Jordan Palmer.
The Redskins defense appeared to be closer to returning to their 2005 form, with both starters and reserves aggressively swarming towards the ball on several occasions.
Thanks to a Matt Stover field goal and a rushing touchdown from running back P.J. Daniels of the Ravens, the final score of the scrimmage was 10-7.
- Those who sat out: Running back Clinton Portis, left tackle Chris Samuels (knee), wide receivers Brandon Lloyd (shins) and Mike Espy (knee), cornerback Jerametrius Butler (hamstring), fullback Pete Schmitt (shoulder), linebacker Dallas Sartz (hamstring) and tight end Tyler Ecker (groin).
- Although Espy did not play in the scrimmage, he received plenty of attention from the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band before the action started. While exercising and performing calisthenics in the end zone, the band counted off every sit up and bicycle kick completed by the second-year receiver. Once he finished each exercise, the band gave him a loud cheer and a round of applause.
- Former Redskins cornerback Barry Wilburn signed autographs for fans prior to the scrimmage. Throughout training camp, Wilburn has been observing the Redskins defense, specifically the secondary, as a part of the NFL's minority coaching program.
- Safety Sean Taylor and Ravens wide receiver Devard Darling got into a scuffle when Darling used his palm to push off Taylor’s helmet and take him down in what was apparently revenge for a hit from the 2005 scrimmage.
- Jake Russell
This article was released on 2007-08-06.
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