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Camp Practice Blog: Training Camp, Aug. 4

Redskins.com's training camp reports come to you as action happens on the Redskins Park practice fields.

We're back. Players have left the Redskins Park facility to the practice fields for a morning walk-through practice. They are in shorts and pads. Looks like a strong crowd will be on hand for the practice. 9:30 a.m. ET

We've received several emails from fans asking for blog updates of closed practices. I'd love to, believe me, but for now I'm respecting the work that the team has to get in during camp. Coaches want to implement specific schemes during closed sessions, and leaking any type of information for other teams to use just isn't worth it. 9:33 a.m. ET

After last night's rain-shortened practice, and subsequent hijinks, the team has plenty of work to get in before Saturday's scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField. The offense is working through passing drills and the defense is practicing coverage schemes. 9:42 a.m. ET

During special teams work, a lot of starters and skill position players have some down time. Brandon Lloyd got some work in catching passes from a ball machine. Later, Lloyd worked on perfecting his pass routes with wide receivers coach Stan Hixon and offensive assistant Bob Saunders. Clinton Portis, as is his custom, worked one-on-one with running backs coach Earnest Byner. 10:10 a.m. ET

Carlos Rogers is sitting out Friday's practice. It is the third practice he will have missed since suffering back spasms on Thursday morning. 10:12 a.m. ET

Defensive line coach Greg Blache gathered his defensive lineman in the far field, away from the crowds. Time for some instruction: Blache had his charges line up in various combinations. He focused on schemes, with linemen rushing ahead or dropping back. The unit has remarkable versatility; as many as six players could line up at any of the four positions on the defensive line. 10:15 a.m. ET

During special teams drills, assistant defensive coach Jerry Gray stood alongside Carlos Rogers, Earnest Byner and Clinton Portis along the side of the field. Said Gray to Portis: "You're all about timing, [Carlos] is all about reaction timing." 10:18 a.m. ET

Assistants and interns in the football and scouting departments have a unique opportunity working with NFL players. They know it, too. During practice, scouting assistant Alex Santos serves as the center for quarterback drills. He asked for photographs of himself working with Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins and Casey Bramlet. Redskins.com was happy to oblige. 10:30 a.m. ET

A lot of individual drills early on in practice. The wide receivers spent time working on route-running and breaking away from coverage near the line of scrimmage. First it was an outside route, then it was an inside route. After each reception, associate head coach-offense Al Saunders instructed each receiver on how he wanted the ball caught on the route. It's all about the details now. 10:36 a.m. ET

Want a rookie to keep an eye on in Saturday's scrimmage and the rest of preseason? Wide receiver Mike Espy continues to impress with fluid route-running. He seems to be catching everything thrown his way in practice. Espy has drawn raves from teammate Brandon Lloyd, who wrote about Espy in his daily Training Camp Journal. 10:50 a.m. ET

And we have some breaking news for the blog: David Patten is at practice. The veteran wide receiver was released from the hospital yesterday after a bout with viral meningitis. He is standing alongside coaches on the sidelines watching the proceedings. It is the first training camp practice Patten has attended since he was hospitalized on Monday. 11:10 a.m. ET

It has been a light-hitting practice so far. Into the second hour, the team's quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, linebackers and defensive backs gathered on the main practice field for 7-on-7 work.

  • Sometimes, even starters need to be pulled into reserve duty. During run plays, Santana Moss and Brandon Lloyd served as cornerbacks and Antwaan Randle El and Mike Sellers lined up at safety. Sellers at safety? Wow.
  • Linebacker Spencer Haver had solid coverage on a short pass to Antwaan Randle El. The undrafted rookie out of UCLA was expected to be a mid-round draft pick, but he was overlooked. The Redskins gladly signed him after the draft.
  • The Redskins' corps of wide receivers have shown some fancy footwork this training camp. Santana Moss hauled in a pass along the sideline, keeping both feet in bounds.
  • In perhaps the hardest hit of the session, Marcus Washington tackled tight end Christian Fauria after the veteran tight end had hauled in a short pass.
  • One day after Buck Ortega's rookie hazing, in which he was taped to a tree behind Redskins Park, the tight end hauled in two impressive catches during practice. On one pass from Jason Campbell, Ortega dived for a low pass, ahead of defender Philippe Gardent, and managed to hang on despite Gardent's solid coverage.
  • Robert Johnson is 6-6, 278 pounds. He's a tight end. It's just not going to be easy to bring him down. After an easy catch in the flat, Johnson was quickly wrapped up by safety Reed Doughty. But Johnson broke free, and turned up-field, only to be surrounded by cornerback John Eubanks, safety Dennard Wilson and linebacker Rocky McIntosh. He broke free again. It's non-tackling, but you get the sense it would have taken more to tackle him.
  • Wide receiver Steven Harris, who spent the 2005 season on the Redskins' practice squad, ran cross-field and pulled in a perfectly timed throw from Jason Campbell. Harris was shoved hard out of bounds by Adam Archuleta.

Time for a mid-practice breather. Players huddled up mid-field. There's a breeze in the air, so it's not excessively hot. 11:20 a.m. ET

For fans and players alike, the start of 11-on-11 drills is the perfect climax of any practice.

  • Seems like old times: wide receiver Santana Moss scored a touchdown on a deep pass.
  • Yep, Mike Espy continues to impress. He ran a route that required him to cross-field, then turned to haul in a pass despite being surrounded by three defenders. He was quickly tackled, but it was a nice catch by the rookie.
  • Steven Harris showcased some leaping ability in going after a Jason Campbell pass. Campbell had to throw the ball high to avoid a defender.
  • Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright each caught short passes that they converted into long touchdown runs.
  • Later, Clinton Portis caught a pass in the flat, then reversed field. He was running stride for stride with safety Curry Burns, who eventually pushed Portis out of bounds after a long gain.
  • Second-year player Dimitri Patterson showed solid tackling form on one play. Antwaan Randle El caught a short pass from Mark Brunell, but he was met quickly by Patterson, who shoved him out of bounds.
  • In the red zone, Clinton Portis took a handoff and burst through the line of scrimmage, but he was quickly wrapped up by middle linebacker Lemar Marshall.

Two days ago, Joe Gibbs commented that defense was a step ahead of the offense. Not so on Friday. The offense had the upper hand during Friday's practice. 12:01 p.m. ET

Dozens of coaches and players signed autographs after practice. Among them: Sean Taylor, Marcus Washington, Shawn Springs, Clinton Portis, Chris Samuels, Renaldo Wynn, Mike Sellers. 12:18 p.m. ET

I'm told that, as Clinton Portis walked off the field, he tossed his tee-shirt into a crowd of fans. A young woman caught it, much to her surprise. She yelled an enthusiastic "Thank you!" Then she smelled the shirt, which Portis had worn during practice. She suddenly was less than enthusiastic that the shirt was in her possession. 12:20 p.m. ET

Time to gear up for the scrimmage. Offensive players look ready to try out new plays against a different defense. Defensive players look ready to hit someone other than their own teammate. Should be fun. 12:45 p.m. ET

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