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Camp Practice Blog: Training Camp, July 31

Redskins.com's training camp practice blog comes to you as action happens, from the practice fields from Redskins Park.

It begins. Training camp is finally underway from Redskins Park, and it starts in sweltering heat. Players began filing out of the training facility, into the humidity, at about 3:15 p.m. ET. First player out on the field: wide receiver Mike Espy. He was joined shortly by Richard Smith, a fellow receiver and roster hopeful. 3:25 p.m. ET

The arrival of Santana Moss and Sean Taylor drew cheers from the fans assembled along the main practice field at Redskins Park. Acknowledging the fans, Taylor raised his helmet high to the air as he crossed the Astroturf field to practice. 3:30 p.m. ET

Head coach Joe Gibbs was among the first coaches to arrive on the scene, complete with bottle of water and a black pen, handy for the autographs he will undoubtedly sign after practice. Surprisingly, fans didn't notice Gibbs at first as he walked toward practice. The team is practicing on the far field, furthest away from the fans.* 3:36 p.m. ET*

About five minutes after his arrival, Gibbs walked over to fans, to a roar of applause, and explained, "We're doing a walk-through practice right now, but we'll hold our main practice over here for you so you can see everything better." 3:41 p.m. ET

Early word is that wide receiver David Patten has the flu and may not practice. 3:45 p.m. ET

The Redskins spent the first 20 minutes of practice on special teams work, under the direction of special teams coordinator Danny Smith. As anyone who has attended a training camp practice can attest, Smith barks out calls to his players and is constantly challenging and motivating his players. It's no different this year. He spent some time on instruction and technique, then oversaw some intense punt return drills, with Antwaan Randle El showing off his skills. But on one return, Randle El was tripped up by Khary Campbell. 4:20 p.m. ET

Gregg Williams is in mid-season form. After special teams work, the offense and defense shifted to separate fields. The first task for Williams's charges? Up-downs. 40 of them in all. After the last rep, Williams shouted out, "And that's 40. Welcome back." Then, after issuing instructions, players began to walk toward their position coaches. Williams barked, "We don't walk here. We don't walk here." Players quickly broke into a jog. 4:30 p.m. ET

Who's at training camp? Hall of Fame running back John Riggins, now of Red Zebra's Triple X ESPN Radio, is on hand, broadcasting live from Redskins Park. Also seen: Redskins great Jim Lachey. 4:34 p.m. ET

The fun has begun. At about the midway point of practice, quarterbacks and wide receivers began to work on passing drills along one part of the main practice field, directly in front of fans. On the other side of the same field, the offensive line and running backs worked against the defense on run plays. Here are some highlights of the action:

  • On the first play of the running drills, Clinton Portis ran to the right and burst past a block by Jon Jansen and into open field. Associate head coach-offense Al Saunders raised his arms into the air and raced over to Portis to congratulate him.
  • On another run play, Demetric Evans slowed up running back Ladell Betts, grabbing him by the shoulders. Evans' linemates did the rest, stopping Betts in his tracks.
  • Rookie safety Reed Doughty challenged Rock Cartwright head-on--and Doughty won, standing up the running back and stopping him long enough for Doughty's teammates to swarm Cartwright.
  • In passing drills, Jason Campbell threw a deep sideline pass to James Thrash, who pulled up ahead of rookie cornerback John Eubanks to haul in the catch. Thrash held on to the ball, even though Eubanks was called for pass interference on the play.
  • Jesse Lumsden showed solid push running into a pile of linemen. He took on defensive end Nic Clemons and rookie defensive tackles Anthony Montgomery and Vaka Manupuna, pushing the pile back. Not bad for 6-2, 219-pound running back.
  • Robert McCune may have had the best hit of the afternoon. On a running play to the right side, the second-year linebacker knocked Lumsden back a few yards.

Tight end Mike Sellers departed practice with what appeared to be cramps. He was carted off the field. Coaches and trainers will update his status after practice. 5:20 p.m. ET

Confirmed: Patten is not practicing due to the flu. Also not practicing is defensive tackle Joe Salave'a, who has been excused due to a personal matter. 5:30 p.m. ET

Finally, the 11-on-11 drills begin. Here we go...Some highlights:

  • Cornerback Shawn Springs blitzed untouched into the offensive backfield and pressured Mark Brunell into a hurried throw. The pass fell incomplete.
  • Linebacker Warrick Holdman penetrated into the backfield to slow down running back Clinton Portis on a carry.
  • "Third-and-2," Gregg Williams shouted to his defense before on play. "Let's stop 'em." Al Saunders was ready, though. Fullback Nehemiah Broughton caught a screen pass in the right flat and weaved his way downfield, with linebacker Chris Clemons on his heels. Clemons eventually pushed Broughton out of bounds, but not before a long gain.
  • Brandon Lloyd displayed acrobatic skills with an impressive sideline catch right in front of fans. On the play, Brunell scrambled left to avoid pressure, then fired a dart to Lloyd, who caught the ball falling backwards, both feet just in bounds.
  • Chris Samuels and Andre Carter could be a matchup to watch all training camp. On one play, Samuels pushed Carter into the backfield as Portis ran around him.
  • Rocky McIntosh is new here--and even he would admit he has a lot to learn. On one of the last plays of practice, the rookie linebacker was beaten on a short pass to Cartwright, who got a step on McIntosh and ran downfield for a long gain.
  • Kerry Carter broke a tackle by Sean Taylor, who sat on the ground afterwards and applauded the effort of the third-year running back

The team huddled up--signifying the end of the first training camp practice--at midfield. A rendition of "Hail to the Redskins" broke out amongst the fans. 6 p.m. ET

Confirmed: Sellers suffered a bout with cramps midway through practice. He is reported to be fine now, but his practice status is listed as day-to-day. 6:20 p.m. ET

Among the Redskins who signed autographs after practice: Clinton Portis, Adam Archuleta, Jon Jansen and Brandon Lloyd. Head coach Joe Gibbs, as he does every training camp practice, signed autographs for upwards of 20 minutes, before heading to a post-practice interview with Triple X ESPN Radio's Riggins. * 6:30 p.m. ET*

Total attendance figures: 2,700 fans. 8 p.m. ET

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