Archive of our daily coverage of the Washington Redskins' 2003-2007 Training Camps.
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Team will train in relative quiet
Joe Gibbs felt like he was being watched. He didn't like it.
They might have seen something. They might have seen everything. They might report back to the Lions or Cowboys or Bears, oh my.
When the Washington Redskins held training camp in Carlisle, Pa., during Gibbs' first stint as the team's head coach, Gibbs was always leery of the fences that protected the closed practices.
"We covered them all up in Carlisle," Gibbs said yesterday, on the eve of his first training camp since 1992, "but there were people peeking all over the place. I was always a little worried."
Gibbs has no such concerns as training camp gets under way at Redskins Park this morning. He says the facility is plenty secure, and that when the practices are closed to both the public and the media in 12 days, all the schemes and formations will be kept under wraps.
"The No. 1 thing I always wanted before any game," Gibbs said, "I don't care if it was a Super Bowl or not, was peace and quiet while you're working."
The secure and tranquil setup will afford Gibbs and his staff some much-needed time to mold this team.
There are plenty of players whose starting spots are more set than clocks. There are others, however, who are auditioning for playing time within a limited window of opportunity.
In hopes of minimizing the wear and tear on his charges this preseason, Gibbs is starting camp somewhat late.
The Denver Broncos, whom the Redskins will face in the Aug. 9 Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, already have completed three days of practice.
Gibbs is also replacing several morning practices with weight training sessions. He says when there are full-contact drills to complete, only the players whose presence is most necessary will hit and be hit.
"It'd be nice if you could get ready for football on treadmills and hitting boxing bags or something, but you can't," Gibbs said, standing behind the three Super Bowl trophies the Redskins won on his watch. "You've got to have some full-tilt blocking and tackling."
The Redskins plan to tread lightly around a few minor injuries. First-round draft pick Sean Taylor, who signed a seven-year contract earlier this week, is day-to-day following a knee sprain he suffered during passing camp on Wednesday.
Gibbs said defensive tackle Brandon Noble, who tore his left ACL and MCL during last season's second preseason game, is likely to participate in just one of the two daily practices during camp.
Wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who played through a toe injury for much of last year, elected not to have surgery during the offseason and is still being hampered by the malady.
"He's used padding and everything for his shoe," Gibbs said. "We're hoping he takes right off, but we'll just have to monitor it."
Cornerback Walt Harris is out with a knee injury and rookie safety Dennard Wilson, who played for the University of Maryland, is out for the season after breaking his left leg on Wednesday.
Injuries aside, all eyes will be on the brewing quarterback battle between third-year gunslinger Patrick Ramsey and 12th-year veteran Mark Brunell, who was acquired in a trade this past offseason.
Gibbs said yesterday he expects the competition to go down to the last week of training camp.
"Physically, they're both right where you'd want them," Gibbs said. "Every pass that we chart is starting to show us things."
Deep down, Gibbs is feeling the pressure to succeed in his return to the Redskins. He's trying to do everything right the second time around, but is still feeling his way through a game that's changed plenty since he left it.
"I worry about letting everybody down," he said. "That's what I'm concerned about. I want to do well, and I know all the coaches here feel the same way about it."
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