The Washington Redskins' minicamp, scheduled for this coming weekend, is a more significant event for some than it is for others. Even if Mark Brunell didn't have a broken finger that will keep him out of the three-day event it would be of only minimal importance to him. If it's hot, look for Clinton Portis to be a spectator more than a participant. Marcus Washington could take the same tack but, knowing him, he'll be out there hustling on every snap.
For many others, however, June 16-18 has been circled on the calendar for quite some time. The sessions will have an immediate impact on their short-term and/or long-term NFL futures:
Derrick Frost—There will be a lot of punting going on as special teams are a big part of the camp. Frost has an opportunity to dismiss the challenge that David Lonie, the rookie free agent punter from Australia by way of Cal, is expected to pose. A booming performance by Frost will send the coaching staff into the six weeks before camp starts with a positive impression; something less than that, coupled with a good showing by Lonie, will sow seeds of doubt that will linger into camp.
Jason Campbell and Todd Collins—Neither one of these competitors for the #2 quarterback job behind Brunell has much of an NFL resume on film. Collins hasn't taken a meaningful NFL snap since 1997 and Campbell has never taken one. This means that every snap, every practice will be scrutinized. Collins needs to demonstrate that his knowledge of Al Saunders' offense—Collins was in Kansas City with Saunders for the past five seasons—will allow him to execute the offense in an effective and mistake-free manner should Brunell go out. Campbell needs to show that his physical skills will more than compensate for his lack of experience.
Sean Taylor—He missed this event last year, as he was up to his neck in legal issues in Miami. This year those problems from that incident are down to ankle level and still receding. A full offseason of preparation is critical to Taylor's chances of moving from potential superstar to actual superstar. This minicamp can give Gregg Williams and company confidence that Taylor has put everything else behind him and is 100% focused on football.
Rocky McIntosh— The depth chart is very fluid at the weak side linebacker spot. The chances of the Redskins' top draft pick becoming a starter from day one are somewhat less than 50/50. To improve those odds McIntosh must show that he's capable of pushing out veteran Warrick Holdman and of outperforming Chris Clemons. McIntosh won't be expected to have the entire defense mastered but he will need to show that he has absorbed what he has been taught so far and that he can turn that knowledge into action on the field.
Jesse Lumsden, Kevin Simon and some two dozen other players fighting for a handful of roster spots— Some undrafted free agents and street free agents are likely to be cut before camp even starts. The cameras are rolling and this is the last chance for those in this group to make a positive impression on the coaches. It can take only a few mental errors or dropped passes to push some of these guys out the door. Others like Lumsden and Simon are likely to make it until August, but the three days are critical to their chances of ultimately making the team. A good showing this weekend will cement their status as legitimate contenders for one of the 53 roster spots while a less than stellar performance will make securing a job more of an uphill battle than it already is.