Notes, quotes and observations from practice (Sun, 8/15)
The Redskins returned to work this afternoon with a two-hour practice in shells. Here’s what you should know from the session:
*RB Larry Johnson says he will start Saturday night’s game. He did not play in Friday’s 42-17 win over Buffalo. Coach Mike Shanahan started RB Clinton Portis and let Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams handle the carries once most of the offensive starters exited after two series.
*WR Malcolm Kelly (hamstring) did not return to practice today as Shanahan had hoped. Instead, he did rehab work on the side. Kelly won’t practice tomorrow, but the team is hopeful he can go Tuesday.
*RT Jammal Brown (hip) returned to practice today. FS Chris Horton (groin) participated in position drills but sat out team work. He could practice tomorrow, but his top priority is playing on Saturday against Baltimore. WR Mike Furrey (concussion) did not attend practice.
*Mike Shanahan says he has no indication of what free agent RB Brian Westbrook will do amidst reports that the two-time Pro Bowler will pick a team as early as Monday. Shanahan said the Redskins have not presented Westbrook with any required timetable for a decision.
*The Redskins made official this morning the signing of long snapper James Dearth. He practiced with the team and was a bit erratic with a few of his snaps in field goal work. I saw two high snaps and one low.
*Shanahan offered the vaguest of evaluations after watching the film of Friday’s win. “I was pleased with the effort,” he said. “Overall I was pleased with the execution. But, like I said, we’ve got a ways to go.”
Shanahan sidestepped most of the questions about specific players.
***Now, some players and plays that stood out. Please remember that this is just a snapshot of practice.
*DL Albert Haynesworth practiced mostly with the second team today, but he got a few reps with the first string during team drills.
Shanahan’s evaluation of Haynesworth’s play on Friday: “What I usually do is look at how hard people play,” he said. “Albert played eight plays, and those eight plays he gave everything he had, so I was pleased.”
*WR Santana Moss practiced pretty well. He beat CB DeAngelo Hall on an intermediate out to the right sideline once during 11-on-11 drills. There’s a noticeable dropoff from him to the other 10 receivers in camp. Imagine what this receiving corps would be if he were not in the mix. Yikes.
*LOLB Andre Carter looked pretty good rushing the passer after a rough night against Buffalo. On one pass play, he swiped RT Jammal Brown’s hands off him, forcing Brown to grab hold of Carter’s jersey from behind. It would have been an easy holding call for the referee. Carter also beat TE Chris Cooley fairly easily on a pass rush.
It’s gonna take some time for Carter to be smooth in coverage, but I wonder if it will ever happen. ROLB Brian Orakpo, like Carter, is more comfortable rushing the passer, he’s much more fluid in coverage.
*RB Larry Johnson made a deliberate cut to shoot through a hole on a run to the right edge. When he gets going downhill, it appears that he’s tough to bring down. He also caught a pass out of the backfield today and turned it upfield for a nice gain. I’m eager to see what kind of power Johnson shows against live tackling on Saturday.
*This was one of WR Joey Galloway’s best practices of camp. During red zone work from the 5-yard line, QB Rex Grossman threw a fade to him in the back right corner of the end zone. Galloway, who was working against CB Justin Tryon, measured up the pass but waited until the last second to react to it because he didn’t want to tip off Tryon. Galloway grabbed the touchdown before Tryon could react. Later, Galloway got good separation on a crossing route and made a catch over the middle. He also beat CB Phillip Buchanon for a reception.
*The inconsistent WR Devin Thomas reared his ugly head again. He beat CB Byron Westbrook and S Anderson Russell for a deep touchdown catch from QB Richard Bartel early in practice. Later, though, he got open on another deep ball and it slipped through his hands. This is the coaches’ biggest gripe with Thomas.
*DE Vonnie Holliday had a would-be sack of QB Donovan McNabb when he came unblocked through the line of scrimmage. Most likely a miscommunication by the offensive line.
*TE Fred Davis was up and down. He showed off his athleticism by making a few catches deep down the seam. He jumped for one, came down into a summersault and got up and kept running. He also took advantage of a coverage breakdown on the backside by slipping out and catching a deep pass from QB John Beck. Davis, however, also dropped a couple passes.
*TE Logan Paulsen dropped a pass from QB Richard Bartel. I think TE Lee Vickers is getting the better of him in this training camp battle so far.
*CB Byron Westbrook was beaten by WR Devin Thomas for a touchdown early, but he later broke up a pass intended for WR Anthony Armstrong. Armstrong ran an out near the left sideline, and Westbrook did well to drive to Armstrong’s inside shoulder and knock the pass down.
*For perhaps the first time all camp, I saw CB DeAngelo Hall blitz from the outside. He came off the left side. Usually, the corners that blitz are coming out of the slot. Something to keep in mind.