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Observations from Redskins minicamp

The Redskins just wrapped up their second day of coach Mike Shanahan’s second minicamp. There are about 110 players in attendance, including more than 20 undrafted rookies here to try out. That’s almost an unmanageable total, but it’s part of the process at this time of year.

The main emphasis at these practice is giving players a chance to learn the plays and the new system. Physical execution is secondary–as it should be this time of year. Players don’t even wear pads. I hesitate to tell you who I thought looked good or bad because I believe it’s perilous and pointless to draw any conclusions at such a preliminary stage in the team’s progression.

And with that disclaimer, let’s proceed. Here are a few things I saw:

*WR Santana Moss did not participate in team drills because he recently had minor arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Coach Mike Shanahan expects him to be back next month.

*WR Devin Thomas (hamstring) also did not participate in team drills, leaving Joey Galloway and Malcolm Kelly to work with the first-string offense.

*DT Albert Haynesworth was the only absence from the voluntary minicamp. Shanahan said he hasn’t been in contact with Haynesworth recently. He was not at all interested in talking about the big fella.

*Kareem Moore played free safety with the first-string defense today. He told me that coaches had him take over for Reed Doughty.

*With Haynesworth not here, the first-string defensive line was LDE Adam Carriker, NT Howard Green, RDE Kedric Golston.

*First string ROLB Brian Orakpo (ankle) was replaced in team drills by Chris Wilson.

*The first-string offensive line was: LT Trent Williams, LG Derrick Dockery, C Casey Rabach, RG Mike Williams, RT Artis Hicks. The second-string o-line was LT Will Robinson, LG Kory Lichtensteiger, C Will Montgomery, RG Chad Rinehart, RT Stephon Heyer.

*OLB Lorenzo Alexander practiced on the right side.

*Seventh-round draft pick WR Terrence Austin was the first player to return kickoffs in that particular drill.

*QB Donovan McNabb’s release is noticeably quicker than Jason Campbell’s. It’s more compact. Campbell is so lanky and long that he had to put a lot of work into trying to speed up his release. Shanahan, by the way, wouldn’t critique Campbell after the fact.

*McNabb made some nice throws and some ugly ones, exactly what you’d expect for a guy learning a new system in early May. He hit WR Anthony Armstrong with a bullet in traffic. Earlier, he overthrew RB Willie Parker on a wheel route and was intercepted by LB Robert Henson in a one-on-one passing drill. Henson beat converted fullback Darrel Young.

*I am not sold on Rex Grossman’s arm strength.

*OL coach Chris Foerster said last month that the Redskins offensive line will protect sideline to sideline, and we saw it today. This is typical of Shanahan’s offenses in the past. Lot of roll outs and misdirection. The plays seem–how should I put this?–dynamic.

*Second-year CB Kevin Barnes intercepted QB Richard Bartel’s underthrown deep ball intended for WR Roydell Williams.

*In other injury news, Shanahan said he expects NT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (Achilles) and LB Andre Carter (biceps) to be back next month. He hopes LB Jeremy Jarmon (ACL) will be ready by training camp.

…again, it’s May. Take these for what they are. If you have question, post it in the comments, shoot me an email or get at me on Twitter @Rich_Campbell.