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Redskins Park, Ashburn, Virginia, 8.11.05--It was
back to the hot and humid
conditions we had here last week as the Redskins took the field in half pads
in their last full practice prior to Saturday night’s preseason opener against
the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte. Most of the players who are out
injured were seen working out, LaVar Arrington on a stationary bike, Shawn Springs doing some agility drills and Carlos Rogers trying to stay loose.
One guy who already was loose was Ray Brown. He was quite impressive during stretching
drills, showing flexibility that would have been remarkable in any man,
even more so for a player of his size (6-5, 318) and age (42).
As drills progressed, the decline and fall of Darnerien McCants did as well. Although he seems to be working hard, he just drops too many passes.
Perhaps he’ll turn out to be one of those guys that Joe Gibbs talked about on
Tuesday, the ones that turn it on when they line up against a different
team. McCants seemed to be slightly annoyed about questions about his practice
habits and special teams participation, issues that hampered his playing time
last year, when asked about them after
practice. He didn’t seem to be too keen on that “hitting” thing. That’s
unlikely to go over well with special teams coach Danny Smith.
Jonathan Combs is the longest of long shots to make this
team. The 5-9, 230 undrafted free agent running back comes out of Texas
College. That’s not the Longhorns of the Big 12, it’s the Steers of the Red
River conference. To have a chance, such players must do everything just about
perfectly. Combs’ play on Thursday didn’t quite fit that
Antonio Brown is starting to look like a wide receiver in
addition to being the team’s punt returner. When I talked to him last
week, he didn’t seem to be very enthusiastic about lining up on offense.
Perhaps he still isn’t, but he’s certainly looking like a decent
pro receiver out there. One thing he’s not looking like, however, is the
5-10 height at which the roster has him listed. Seeing him standing next to
Santana Moss, who I’m sure is 5-10, I’d have to figure that Brown is a good
two, maybe three inches shorter.
The play of the day was made by Sean Taylor as he reached
out and stole the ball away
from David Patten and pulled in a one-handed interception.
I’ve tended to bust on Renaldo Wynn over the years as a guy
who has started every game at defensive end for the last three years and hasn’t
made a single memorable play. That may be true, but the guy still plays for my
team. After having missed the last four days due to a death in his family, Wynn came back and
did what he’s always done; he worked hard, showed great hustle and enthusiasm
and got his job done. After practice he
talked about Saturday’s upcoming game and how the defense has been playing.
H-back Manuel White hasn’t done much to
distinguish himself to this point. This is not necessarily bad news; in
fact, it should be expected from a player who is not only adjusting from
college to the NFL but learning a new position as well. The former UCLA running
back did make a nice catch
on a swing pass later on in practice.
In light of the near-disaster Wednesday night when receiver
David Patten ran into some equipment left carelessly near the practice field,
you could see some particular attention being paid to it today when some
equipment men were admonished to move
coolers and water fountains away from the field.
Patrick Ramsey appeared sharper
than he did last week or even earlier this week. He showed considerably more
accuracy when he had to step up in the pocket against pass pressure. After
practice, he talked about his
progress and preparations for Saturday’s preseason game.
As the practice wore to a finish, many of the players were
understandably showing some signs of fatigue at the end of the second practice
of the day in the heat. Many had their hands on their hips and were noticeably
sucking for air. James Thrash was not one of those
players showing fatigue. He was bouncing around like it was a cool October
morning, running out everything and seeming to be unaffected by the conditions.
New tight end Robert Johnson sure is big. That’s
about all I can say about him, although he did exhibit some speed at a closed
practice on Wednesday, hauling in a long pass on a seam route. Size and even
decent speed guarantee a long look in the NFL.
After practice, I did get a chance to
talk with the much-maligned Ade Jimoh. Unfortunately, I found out that I
had hit the wrong button on my voice recorder and didn’t get it for audio
replay here. Those of you who bust on him regularly should know that he is
aware of WarpathInsiders.com as a Redskins site, but he doesn’t look at the
message boards. He is one of the nicest players I’ve ever met and it’s hard not
to root for him to make it on that level. By the way, in what may have been a
revealing slip that echoed the sentiments of many, he did say that he hopes
that his contributions to the team are more on special teams rather than on