WPC/BGO Coverage: April Mini Camp
Greetings my friends and welcome to Washington Redskins mini camp coverage courtesy of Warpath Confidential and BGObsession. My name is John Pappas and I will be your host.
It is cool is Ashburn this morning, with temps in the 40s and expected to be in the low 60s. Compared to the heat and humidity coming in training camp; we will take it.
We're excited to be here today. This is the first glimpse of the new-look Redskins we get. As you know, many changes have occured since this time last year. Vinny Cerrato was let go and replaced by Bruce Allen. Jim Zorn was fired and Mike Shanahan brought in. Almost the entire coaching staff was replaced. There's a new quarterback in town by the name of Donovan McNabb, and a backup named Rex Grossman. A slew of veterans were let go prior to free agency. And a couple of big-name running backs (from 2006) were added.
Sprinkle in a few other free agents and you have a team that is much different than the one that ended the 2009 season.
Mini camp started Friday, but today is the first day the press is allowed to view. Obvious questions will be how McNabb and the new offense look. But I will tell you up front that we can draw nothing from what we see today. This will be basic football and will probably not resemble the Kyle Shanahan offense in the fall. Still, we want to see if the receivers are developing some rapport with the new quarterbacks. I will also be curious to see if the defense whips out the 3-4 front, and how that looks at first glance.
Beyond the football, we want to try and meet the new coaches and players. We will try to get as many as we can and upload some audio for you. We likewise brought a camera and will upload some photos later.
I saw the thread Boone opened yesterday. There were some good questions there and I will do what I can to get some answered.
Stand by for news. Practice begins in about an hour. Feel free to post comments and questions.
The media room is packed today with all the locals and a couple national folks. I'm thinking this is about the only thing going today for an NFL story, unless they suspend the hell out of Ben Roethlisberger.
Glad I got here early for a seat.
We will head down in about 15 minutes.
First snap from center in team drills, Donovan McNabb drops back and hits Anthony Armstrong 40 yards downfield for a touchdown strike. And so begins the McNabb era in Washington.
Hey folks, just up from the fields, where we were treated to parade of coaches and players on the podium. I have pictures, audio, and more to come. Stand by while I get everything sorted.
Click HERE to check out mini camp photos
To listen to comments from Andre Carter click HERE
To listen to comments from Chris Cooley click HERE
To listen to comments from Kedric Golston click HERE
To listen to comments from Rex Grossman click HERE
To listen to comments from Keenan McCardell click HERE
To listen to comments from Brian Orakpo click HERE
Mike Shanahan is cut from the same cloth as Joe Gibbs when it comes to showing the media anything. In fact, he may be worse. For starters we were limited to appearing just today instead of the entire camp. Then in true Gibbsian fashion; he made sure all team drills were conducted on the field farthest away from us.
I’m not mad at him (ok a little), but I share this so you will understand it is difficult to see everything that goes on during plays. It is likewise difficult to always know who is in at what positions, other than the obvious skill players.
But this doesn’t mean we didn’t learn anything. Here are my camp notes in no particular order:
Quarterbacks – Here are your quarterbacks in order of who played best: Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, Toss-up – Richard Bartel/Colt Brennan.
As we wrote above, McNabb started things with a 40-yard bomb to Anthony Armstrong. It was by far the play of the day. McNabb had others of note as well; a deep crossing pattern to Malcolm Kelly was every bit the throw as the bomb. Kelly caught it in stride and turned up-field for a nice gain. The quarterbacks threw a lot of deep outs today and McNabb was by far the best of the lot. He got a little too comfortable however, and was victimized by Kareem Moore on one play who was able to jump the route to make the interception.
Grossman looked solid. He threw a beautiful bomb to Marques Hagans similar to what McNabb hit Armstrong on. Unfortunately, LaRon Landry committed an obvious interference to take Hagans out of the play. Grossman was able to connect with Jerry Porter on a deep out that was impressive. Grossman seemed to have a good command of the offense and made some nice throws.
Richard Bartel got most of the work and looked just ok (if that). Brennan didn’t seem to do much in team drills, but got some work with the offensive unit. He looked pretty sharp and I am guessing was held out while still healing from his hip surgery.
Play of the day – The aforementioned McNabb-to-Armstrong bomb. McNabb is accurate deep and it was nice to see him light it up right out of the gate. The throw and catch solicited cheers from the offense.
Who did not play – Devon Thomas, Santana Moss, Andre Carter, Jeremy Jarmon, Chad Rinehart, Maake Kemoeatu, Clint Oldenburg. All here, none played. Not sure what was wrong with Moss and Thomas, but they did not play.
Haynesworth/McIntosh – Mike Shanahan fielded about five Albert Haynesworth questions before he began to chastise the press. “No-one has asked about the guys who are here,” he said. Here is the news on Haynesworth in a nutshell: Shanahan says he does not “see” a trade for anyone other than Jason Campbell. He is disappointed Haynesworth is not here, and hopes he appears in shape. Same for Rocky McIntosh.
Special Guests – Jerry Porter was in the house trying out. He was one of six not on the roster but trying to get there. Porter was by far the biggest name. Marques Hagans was another fans will know, as he was here last year.
What do you call that defense? – Why that would be the 3-4 Sir. There was also the 4-3, and a bunch of other looks. Expect different fronts to be the rule, with the 3-4 the primary. If you want to know how well the team played in it we can’t tell you. In a non-contact camp there is no way to know who would have been sacked or tackled on any given play. The best play by the defense was the Moore interception on McNabb.
Portis looks fresh – He appears lighter, appeared to have good burst, and was much more low-key after practice than normal. Yes the team added Willie Parker and Larry Johnson, but Portis is still the man and this year he wants to prove it.
Andre Carter and his salad tongs – Carter spent the day doing individual drills. For much of this he practiced catching balls thrown at him from one of the assistants. For everyone he dropped, he got down and did 20 or so push-ups. I stopped counting around 100. The fact is Carter has huge hands with bent fingers and catching passes is not the thing they are most suited to. At one point Carter had former Redskins tight end Rick “Doc” Walker yelling tips at him. “Let it come to you,” screamed Walker. “Look it in.”
How old is that boy? – Kyle Shanahan is young (about 14 years our junior). But when he speaks about football he knows his stuff. The guy may be younger than some of the players, but his stint in Houston proved he knows how to run an offense. A few years ago some said the offense needed to get young-minded. They have.
Offensive line – Here was your starting line today from left to right: Stephon Heyer, Derrick Dockery, Casey Raback, Mike Williams, Artis Hicks. Kyle Shanahan said they could start the season and succeed with this group. I pray he does not have to.
Well folks, that’s about all I have. It was great to get out and take a look at the team. This is a busy week. Bruce Allen is having a pre-draft presser tomorrow. The schedule comes out Tuesday. And Thursday is round one of the NFL draft.
Not a bad week for those of us in Redskins’ withdrawal.
Last edited by a moderator: