Om Field: Synaptic Shotgun: Camp Impressions 8.10.10

One of many experimental iterations ...

Om

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August 10, 2010

Caught practice today with my son. It doesn't get much better.

Some broad, subjective thoughts and observations for your consideration:

CAMP SHANAHAN - it's not the military-style atmosphere you might expect given all the hard-ass characterizations we've heard all year about Mike Shanahan.

Don't misunderstand, it's professional—the players jog from drill to drill, there's no horsing around, things move along with deliberate precision—but you don't walk away thinking you have stumbled on a Marty Schottenheimer camp. Or even a Gibbs camp for that matter. Camp Shanahan is surprisingly low-key.

I like the idea of coaches treating players like pros. I like the idea of the team not beating itself all the hell up before they even get on the preseason field against someone in another color uniform. If I do have one (slightly nagging) question, it's whether or not they will be the kind of team that can flip the proverbial switch and go from 3/4 camp speed to game speed at the whistle.

We won't know that for a while, of course. We may get a little taste Friday night in the preseason opener, but we won't really begin to find out if this is that kind of team until the live bullets start flying Sunday night on September 12 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Fingers crossed.

REDSKINS DEFENSE - if you have watched the Redskins closely for any length of time, you know that for about the last generation their defensive modus operandi has not exactly been of the look-out, hair-on-fire variety. Well, no more. With the brief exception of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' first year here in 2004, what you brewing see on the field at Redskins Park this fall is the most free-flowing, loose and aggressive defense since Richie Petitbon and crew blew the minds of the poor Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI...

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Jimbo

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What I find interesting about your observations of today's camp, Om, is how they seem to differ from some of the many tweets I read this morning. Twitter is interesting but possibly a judgement clouder when you try to put all the tweets together. It can definitely paint a picture in your head that doesn't match someone's overall observations. That may be a bad thing.

I think I prefer your observations. They look more at an overall picture and are certainly a hell of a lot more rosy. :cheers:
 

Goaldeje

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Thank you, OM, for adding something about McNabb. Everything I've been reading says Rex has looked good, but McNabb has struggled with accuracy and other things. My interest in McNabb has more to do with his presence and command. If he is in control, leading the offense, that will be so much more than we have seen in years. I already know he throws the ball in the dirt from time to time; if he brings confidence and swagger to the offense, I can put up with the worm burners.
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skinsfn88

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Fantastic blog. It was nice to get a fresh perspective from an avid fan. I can't wait to see Donovan McNabb and Clinton Portis in action this year. It sounds like they are focused to take us to the playoffs!
 

chrisavery72

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Nice write up Om. Pretty much reflects what I saw at Camp as well. Players know where to go and not dragging their feet around the field, Shanahan is everywhere checking out everyone. Ass. coaches are animated and are giving ear loads to the respected players they are working with.

I also like how they go from 11 on 11's to individuals then back to 11v11's. keeps them on their toes.
 

servumtuum

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Interesting write-up, Om. I'm glad you emphasized the aspect of this season's Redskin defense that most intrigues me, the fact that it will be different.

One of my consistent complaints about the Redskins in recent years has been their predictability-they weren't that hard to plan against on either offense or defense-you pretty much knew what was coming, knew the plan of attack, knew the overall strategy-even knew who was going to be where and trying to do what on most plays. That appears to have changed, again especially with the new defense. The offense with McNabb and the Shanahans calling the shots will be much different as well, it looks like. Another plus, IMO.

I'm a strong believer in the concept of keeping the opposing team off-balance, uncertain, unable to predict accurately what's coming. I'm really anxious to see this new philosophy in action.
 

TomE

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What I find interesting about your observations of today's camp, Om, is how they seem to differ from some of the many tweets I read this morning. Twitter is interesting but possibly a judgement clouder when you try to put all the tweets together. It can definitely paint a picture in your head that doesn't match someone's overall observations. That may be a bad thing.

I think I prefer your observations. They look more at an overall picture and are certainly a hell of a lot more rosy. :cheers:
Good point Jimbo, tweets, texting and almost anything "instant" is never as flavorful and nutritious as the well prepared meal.
Instant can be good for play by play stuff but opinion needs to be less knee jerk and not under the pressure of "me first to post it up" syndrome.

I prefer the observations of Om too..... level and lot's funner. :)
 

Om

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Thanks for the read and comments. :)

Thing about training camp is you simply CANNOT take any one play, or even one day, and make the mistake of projecting out from it into the season.

That McNabb ended the practice, for instance, by standing in against a strong rush, whistling a frozen rope off his back foot, splitting two defenders and hitting a leaping, twisting Cooley at the goal line for a touchdown is misleading. It doesn't mean Cooley's going to have to leap and twist to catch that pass against Dallas on 9/12--McNabb's will probably hit him in stride. ;)

But seriously ... I don't look at individual training camp "plays" and try to get flavor/impressions that way. I blur my eyes a little, take a few psychic steps back and more try to get a "feel" for what's going on, remembering it's one practice out of a very long offseason. If I started breaking down individual "plays" and tried to decipher the why's and wherefore's I'd be a fool.

And I only look like one.
 

fansince62

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OM...you go back to the 80s. You know what to look for.

- there's a "presence" physical and execution...is it there?

- there's a coaching staff with a philosophy/vision and "knowledge" on how to get it done....is it there?

I think so on the latter. don't know yet about the first question. anywho....nice post.
 

servumtuum

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If no one has yet done so, I hereby nominate MikeSr as BGO's resident Head Cheerleader!

 

Lanky Livingston

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Maybe the best 4 LBs in the 3-4 in the game right now
You think? I'm a little worried about Fletcher and McIntosh to be honest, and to a lesser extent, Carter. Fletch and Mac are prototypical 4-3 guys, and Carter has struggled in the 3-4 before. I think he'll do much better with Haynesworth and Rak on the same D though...however we shall see.

I can't wait for Friday!
 

stevenaa

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The D excites me the most. The defense from the glory years gets very overshadowed, which is a shame. I'm most concerned about McNabb, his accuracy and his ability to stay healthy. Hopefully a stout running game will solve those ills.
 

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