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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
News & Notes: Kellen Clemens, The QBs, Malcolm Kelly, Chris Cooley And More
By ZAC BOYER | email@example.com
ASHBURN – After five years with the Jets, Kellen Clemens signed with the Redskins because of the apparent opportunity at quarterback.
John Beck, who hasn’t begun a game since 2007, was considered the started quarterback, and Rex Grossman hadn’t yet agreed to return to the team when Clemens signed a one-year deal on July 27.
But the competition at quarterback appears focused upon those two, and Clemens is seemingly on the outside looking in.
“He’s picked things up very quickly, which is always a big plus, once we’ve signed him,” coach Mike Shanahan said Friday morning at Redskins Park. “He’s had the opportunity to come in here about 14, 15 hours a day trying to get a little edge.”
Clemens has started nine games in his career, including eight in 2007, when he completed 52 percent of his passes for five touchdowns. But he had 10 interceptions, and when 2008 began, the Jets turned to Brett Favre.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound quarterback played in two games that year, 10 in 2009 – starting one – and then in just one last year before becoming a free agent.
“I like the way he’s handled himself. He’s done a good job over a practice and a half of being able to go into the huddle right away and running our offense and executing it. I’m very optimistic about his potential.”
- Shanahan continued to juggle Beck and Grossman, with Grossman leading the first team during the first scrimmage and Beck in charge during the second. But he started to get irritated by the idea of having to answer questions about the situation every day.
“The great thing about our quarterback situation is we’ve got some competition – two guys I know can play,” Shanahan said. “It’s going to be interesting to see throughout camp and the preseason games who steps up and who’s going to be able to get the job.”
- Wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, who has battled injuries in his first two seasons with the Redskins, missed practice because of irritation to the top of his left foot. “We thought he needed some rest, so hopefully, he’ll be able to come back just like normal,” Shanahan said. “But we didn’t feel like he could practice today.” Kelly was joined again by Brandon Banks, who has swelling in his left knee, in sitting out of Friday morning’s practice. Linebacker Obi Ezeh (hamstring) returned to drills Friday after sitting out much of Thursday, while defensive end Ryan Kerrigan (right knee), the Redskins’ first-round draft pick, missed his fifth consecutive day.
- Shanahan was asked if having less of a circus in camp this year (read: Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb) has been more productive to the team thus far, and Shanahan believes so.
“You come into a situation like we had with Albert, and you come in the second year after what transpired the first year and there are going to be some ongoing issues. That’s just a part of it. Any time you deal with a quarterback, that’s always going to be an issue, especially if the quarterback’s new and what’s happened during the season. But that’s part of the NFL. You’re going to deal with those distractions. You’ve got to do what you feel is in the best interests of your football team and do things to get better. Hopefully we did that.”
He was then asked about the task it may be of having to juggle so many large personalities and keep everyone happy.
“Guys that are first-round picks, captains of the teams – sometimes guys get a little bit older and they want to play, and other guys don’t. You get the Jerry Rices, the London Fletchers, that just love to practice, and they’re just going to do everything they can to give your team a chance to win the Super Bowl. So you’ve got to go with your experience over the years and do what’s best for your football team.”
- I talked to Santana Moss for a piece I’m working on for Sunday about third-round draft pick Leonard Hankerson. I had thought that with both being receivers at Miami, they may have bonded. That’s apparently not the case; Moss hasn’t yet really spoken to him. He does, however, like what he sees. “He’s a guy that we’re going to rely on,” Moss said. “I don’t know how soon, but he’s a guy you can rely on … he’s going to get better.” He has to – he had three easy drops during Friday’s practice, including two in positional drills (one was from, oh, five yards and right at the numbers) and one in the scrimmage, and it looks like he loses interest in the play when the ball isn’t thrown to his side. That’s not a good attribute for a rookie.
- Clint Oldenburg, who was starting at right tackle until free agent signee Jammal Brown joined the team, was absent from Friday’s practice due to illness. Aside from punter Sav Rocca, still caught in international limbo, every other player was in attendance.
- With Chris Cooley taking the day off because of lingering soreness in his left knee, the coaching staff used the opportunity to juggle the team’s three other tight ends – Logan Paulsen, Fred Davis and Joe Torchia – as well as fullback Mike Sellers in the role on Friday. Only Torchia, an undrafted college free agent from Virginia, did not work with the first-team offense.
- Tomorrow (Saturday) is the Redskins’ annual Fan Appreciation Day. Parking lots will open at 9 a.m., with general manager Bruce Allen addressing the crowd at approximately 11:10 a.m. The Redskins will practice from noon to 1:30 p.m., Shanahan will speak after the practice and players will be made available for autographs. For directions, click here.
- I’m still trying to get a feel for this blog, the available tools, the Redskins and quite a bit after just one week. Bear with me. There will be much more here as the season goes on.