Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at email@example.com.
Notes, quotes and observations from practice (Mon, 8/16)
The Redskins put the pads back on this morning and practiced for about two hours. Here’s what you should know from the session:
*WR Malcolm Kelly (hamstring) sat out, as expected. There’s a “very, very slim” chance he’ll play Saturday against Baltimore, coach Mike Shanahan said. He won’t practice tomorrow.
“I think that would be pretty safe to say in a week he should be able to come back,” Shanahan said. “Maybe not this game, but the following game. So he’d still have two [preseason] games left, and hopefully he’ll be able to do that.”
*CB Byron Westbrook says his brother, Brian, is still not in any rush to decide on a team for 2010, especially with more running back situations around the league (Buffalo, San Francisco) becoming uncertain. Westbrook said he’s still trying to sell his brother on the Redskins.
*LOLB Lorenzo Alexander sat out team drills because of a sore ankle. He had been wearing some orthotics that were supposed to help his feet, but they made his ankle sore. He expects to be limited for a few days.
*RB Willie Parker will play with the first-string offense in two weeks against the New York Jets, Shanahan said. RB Clinton Portis started Friday against Buffalo, and RB Larry Johnson is expected to start Saturday against the Ravens.
*There’s no update on WR Mike Furrey (concussion). The Redskins haven’t gotten to the point where they’re trying to reach an injury settlement with him, Shanahan said.
*FS Chris Horton (groin) returned to team drills.
*Shanahan cancelled the afternoon walk-through to take the team bowling. It’s Day 19, and with camp set to break on Thursday, it’s a reward for the players’ work.
***Now, some players and plays that stood out. Please remember that this is just a snapshot of practice.
*FS Kareem Moore punished himself with about 10 pushups after failing to come up with a potential interception of QB Donovan McNabb in 11-on-11 drills. McNabb’s pass floated to WR Devin Thomas near the left sideline, and Moore undercut the route. He came up empty on the catch, though.
Moore’s read, at least, was good. He has to show more for coaches to feel good about the free safety position. He had a good first week of camp, but I’m not ready to label him the answer there just yet. His tackling against Buffalo on Friday was a bit suspect (facemask penalty), and he wasn’t tested deep.
*It’s a lot of fun watching ILB London Fletcher from the sideline. He’s so good at getting to the ball. Early in practice, he slid right just behind the defensive line, shot through a hole and popped RB Willie Parker, forcing Parker to fumble. Fletcher already looks very comfortable in this defense. As long as he’s staying clean, which he has for the most part, he’s gonna be a stud.
*DE Vonnie Holliday spent part of the morning taking LG Edwin Williams’ lunch money. Williams ducked his head on one block attempt, and Holliday easily went around him. Holliday then overpowered Williams on the next play, forcing Williams to grab hold of Holliday’s jersey. The depth that Holliday provides the defensive line is why I think it’s one of the best—if not the best—position groups on the team.
Williams got a bit of revenge later when he sealed Holliday to the right, creating the hole that RB Willie Parker ran through.
*CB Carlos Rogers’ hands have been so good in camp that it’s gotten to the point where he’s just showing off. QB Rex Grossman underthrew WR Joey Galloway deep down the middle, and CB Kevin Barnes was able to deflect the pass away. Rogers, who was not part of the play, was standing nearby deep in the secondary talking to defensive backs coach Bob Slowik. Rogers was holding his helmet in one hand, but he snagged the ball out of midair with the other and started to return the interception. Showoff.
*WR Terrence Austin muffed consecutive punts during special teams work. The first one went through his hands and the second one hit him in the facemask.
“He usually does a great job of catching the football, but he had a rough day today,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “It’s something you work on. That’s why you practice.”
*In a clash of titans, WR Brandon Banks engaged CB Justin Tryon on a run block, and Tryon put Banks on his backside. Considering that Tryon is listed at 5-9, 185, Banks has to at least stay on his feet against him. He won’t face guys smaller than Tryon in games. Banks can get separation on his routes, which is important, but his size (5-7, 155) hurts him when it comes to blocking.
*RB Keiland Williams fumbled after being hit by ILB H.B. Blades. Williams fumbled only twice on 327 touches during his four years at Louisiana State, according to stats on the school’s website, so it would seem that fumbling is the exception instead of the rule with him.
*Speaking of H.B. Blades, he also stripped TE Fred Davis of the ball as Davis came down with a short catch. It was tough to tell whether it was an incompletion or a fumble. I think the former, but I’m guessing a challenge flag would have come out in a real game. Either way, nice play by Blades, who hasn’t really appeared in camp to be more than a serviceable backup and key special teamer.
*WR Devin Thomas was slow coming out of his break on an intermediate in route, which enabled CB Byron Westbrook to stay on Thomas’ hip, undercut the route and intercept QB John Beck’s ill-advised throw. Thomas was never open, but Beck anticipated that he would be.
*Today was one of the first chances we’ve had to see RT Jammal Brown (hips) in pads. He’s still limping a bit, but he moved OK to his left on one run. You can tell that he’s strong. He stood up DE Adam Carriker twice even though Carriker had better leverage. DE Andre Carter tried to swim past him, but Brown stood his ground on the initial slap. Carter, however, beat Brown twice later on.
*LG Derrick Dockery moved NT Ma’ake Kemoeatu out to the right on a run during team drills. I haven’t noticed Dock that much during camp, but he looked good on that play. Lunging has been a problem for him in the past, so keep an eye out for that.
*Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett sought out ILB Rocky McIntosh after McIntosh dropped in coverage to the right as WR Terrence Austin crossed behind him going the other way. These are some of the kinks that the team is still working out.
*The reason ROLB Brian Orakpo hasn’t stood out as much this summer as he did a year ago is because LT Trent Williams has done such a good job against him. Orakpo, however, beat Williams around the outside on one pass rush today. Earlier, Williams rode Orakpo deep behind the quarterback. Late in practice, Orakpo flew off the right edge to stop RB Ryan Torain for a loss.
*Rookie LT Selvish Capers had his typical up-and-down practice. He stopped pass rushes by LB Curtis Gatewood and Jeremy Jarmon but also was beaten by Gatewood earlier in the day and later by DL Darrion Scott. Capers looks promising at times and like a rookie at others. I see him as a candidate for the practice squad.
*LT Will Robinson appeared to have his footwork issues sorted out when going against OLB Chris Wilson today. Robinson was abused by Buffalo’s Aaron Maybin on Friday, and he ended up crossing his feet on several occasions instead of sliding or shuffling. Granted, Wilson doesn’t have the first-round draft pedigree that Maybin does, but Robinson at least was back to sound technique.
*Will Montgomery worked at right guard with the second team, replacing Chad Rinehart. Rinehart struggled against Buffalo, but it’s too early to tell whether the switch is permanent. Shanahan has mixed and matched players with different units as part of his evaluation process.
*Long snapper James Dearth snapped during field goal and punt drills. He was a tad inconsistent with his accuracy, but overall he was OK. On the first punt that Terrence Austin muffed, coach special teams coach Danny Smith liked the way Dearth released downfield after the snap. Smith yelled: “Great job, James!”
*SS Reed Doughty’s read on a pass play earned kudos from defensive backs coach Bob Slowik. Doughty slid and reacted as the quarterback rolled to the right, and Slowik apparently liked what he saw.
*LDE Phillip Daniels batted down a pass by QB Rex Grossman. I mentioned the defensive line depth about when writing about Holliday, and the same applies to Daniels.