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Redskins Training Camp Report - 7/28/08

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  • Redskins Training Camp Report - 7/28/08

    Redskins Training Camp Report

    Today I journeyed to Redskins Park for the last open training camp of the season. While I only got to see the team practice, not scrimmage, I gained a number of observations that should provide some insight into what kind of team the Redskins will be in 2008.

    Before I get into the specifics of how the ‘Skins looked indulge me while I briefly detail the highlights of my day. My top highlight was obviously the autographs I got. I managed to get them from Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, and Shawn Springs. While Malcolm Kelly was signing my jersey I said to him, “51[st overall] was major disrespect, man.” His response? “I know, man.” So I like Malcolm Kelly. He’s got the confidence that is absolutely necessary at the pro level in a wide receiver. A girl who got Devin Thomas’s autograph before I got mine started hyperventilating right next to me while he was signing her hat. He asked her if she was alright and she uttered some half-coherent sentence about how she had been a Redskins fan since the womb or something of that nature. After Devin Thomas gave her a hug, she ran off looking like she had just won the lottery or something.

    The offense had many different faces today as all the quarterbacks got their share of reps with Jason Campbell and Todd Collins getting the heaviest load. Jason Campbell looked very solid in all the drills he participated in, completing a large majority of his passes and finding numerous receivers on deep balls for touchdowns. He is getting the offense to the line of scrimmage faster and getting rid of the ball faster. Both of these were things that he was reported to not be doing well earlier in the week. However, for as good as Campbell looked, Todd Collins looked that much worse. Collins looked confused and completed nothing above 20% of his passes. Numerous times he missed open receivers and sometimes he threw to a spot where there wasn’t any receiver at all. His footwork has also gotten quite sloppy and his lack of arm strength was on display for all to see. He raised serious questions in my mind about his ability to play in the West Coast offense. On the bright side, however, Colt Brennan looked very solid completing most of his passes with no interceptions even against the first-team defense. He appears to be healthy and is clearly trying to make the most of his first training camp in Washington.

    At the skill positions, it appears there could be some major battles for roster spots. Clinton Portis managed to scare the you-know-what out of thousands of people when he limped off the field and collapsed after a couple juke moves he made in non-contact drills but the training staff stretched him out and he was back on the field a couple plays later looking a bit gimpy, but okay. Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright both looked solid in limited action and Marcus Mason impressed me with his route running and his ability to make people miss at the line of scrimmage. It appears the ‘Skins may have to keep four running backs because Mason showed the incredible potential that earned him a roster spot at the beginning of last season. Chris Cooley and Santana Moss looked like their usual selves. Cooley, particularly, was very impressive finding the soft spot in zone coverage and capitalizing on even the slightest mistakes made by the safeties. It appears that Jim Zorn will be using Antwaan Randle El in the slot quite a bit. The result was a Randle El who looked much more like the Steelers player whose versatility contributed to their Super Bowl campaign in 2006. Billy McMullen looked great in most of his reps but he will struggle to make the team with such a crowded field at wide receiver. As far as rookies, Fred Davis looked decent on certain plays but he needs to run more crisp routes if he expects to succeed in Zorn’s offense. Malcolm Kelly, Devin Thomas, and Anthony Mix did not practice.

    Most of the starting offensive linemen did not participate in practice but I was very impressed by Stephon Heyer. While Heyer lacks ideal speed he is a bruising blocker who does not shy away from contact. It appears to me that the Redskins have found a left tackle for the future as Heyer has shown continued improvement from his time as an undrafted free agent in training camp last year. Todd Wade and Jason Fabini both looked good as well so it appears the Redskins have very solid depth should a veteran player fall again this year.

    I was surprised to see that Jason Taylor was not dressed for practice but I have no indications that he is actually injured at this time. Cornelius Griffin and Kedric Golston looked a bit flat against the running game so Anthony Montgomery’s recovery becomes much more important. Andre Carter looked the best he’s ever looked and I would not be surprised to see a 15 sack season out of him. The kid’s motor never stops running.

    At linebacker, H.B. Blades was most impressive in limited action but London Fletcher-Baker is the clear leader of this defense. Regardless of what mix of players was on the field, the defense looked better when he was a part of it. Marcus Washington spent about half of his reps at defensive end but looked really good at linebacker as well. His movement doesn’t appear to be hampered much by the injuries he fought through last year and his ability to hit the hole is uncanny for a player of his size. Fletcher-Baker displayed an incredible ability to shed blocks for a linebacker of his size and age. Meanwhile, Khary Campbell may struggle to make the team as he looked a bit lost at the middle linebacker position and missed several tackles.

    The big news in the secondary is that Shawn Springs took 100% of his reps at free safety. I asked him about this afterwards and he told me he was not sure if they were going to keep him there or not. I got the sense that he was not completely happy about playing safety but he’s a professional and a team player and he knows his role is what the coaches tell him it is. While this had been rumored in the offseason, it appeared that Carlos Rogers’s slow recovery from knee surgery had put a temporary damper on the idea. Rogers participated in most of the defensive drills but looked sloppy and interfered with receivers frequently. He looked lost at times even against the scout team offense and I question whether he will be anywhere near 100% by the time the season starts. If he isn’t it appears that Greg Blache feels comfortable with Leigh Torrence, who recorded a very nice interception jumping a Todd Collins pass intended for Rock Cartwright. Torrence appears to have had a very solid camp and could fill in for Rogers in the event that Springs is moved to free safety permanently. Matteral Richardson gets the biggest slop from me, however. Richardson looked lost on the field the whole day and was beat time after time by any receiver he had to cover. I don’t expect him to survive the first round of cuts. Doughty looked very solid playing strong safety while Schweigert looked a bit lost. If Springs isn’t moved to safety Doughty should lock up his job fairly easily.

    Overall, the offense showed a lot of improvement but the defense looked flat whenever London Fletcher was not on the field. However, Redskins fans have seen their defense step up time and time again when they are called to do so and I personally don’t expect any less this season. It is a matter of days now before Zorn’s West Coast offense sees its first game action and the world will get a sneak peak of just how good Jason Campbell could be this year. Until that day comes though, all I have left to say is, “Hail to the Redskins!”

    R.I.P. Sean Taylor 1983-2007

  • #2
    I have about 20 clips of different plays that are mostly quarterback centered from a confidential source from Redskins Park. If anyone wants them for scouting purposes feel free to ask but if I haven't seen you doing active scouting on these forums I will not turn over these clips to you so don't bother asking.

    R.I.P. Sean Taylor 1983-2007


    • #3
      Great stuff!

      Springs moving to FS doesn't surprise me one bit, but as you mentioned, it's going to be tough for him to make the move as long as Carlos Rogers is dinged up.
      2016 NFL Mock Draft

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      • #4
        LaRon Landry?