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Fast Pace Continues At Mini-Camp

The Redskins wrapped up Day 2 of mini-camp with a solid two-hour practice complete with special teams work, positional drills and scrimmages. Veterans and rookies alike continued to adjust to Joe Gibbs' structured scheduling--and it's showing with an energetic, enthusiastic atmosphere.

While the work on the field wasn't always perfect, the upbeat attitude has been noted by all of the coaches, including Gibbs.

"It's hard for me to tell [if the players appreciate the structured approach] because this is the way we've always done it in the past," Gibbs said. "I appreciate the players' attitudes. You kind of look to try and pick up, 'Are they excited about what's going on? Are they on board?'

"Normally, where you start finding answers to those questions is in the weight room--and with Bubba Tyer and the trainers. We have some real character guys and I think that's good because you enjoy working with them."

The Redskins worked at a fast pace. Referees were on the sidelines during scrimmages and occasionally tossed up a yellow flag for a penalty infraction.

Coaches continued to employ unique drills to test their veterans. At one point, Joe Bugel repeatedly tossed softballs to an offensive lineman standing five yards away; the lineman quickly retrieved the softball and tossed it back. The drill tested the linemen's footwork and lateral skills.

"It was just helping us to get our feet moving," right tackle Jon Jansen said. "Some of us couldn't pick up the ball fast enough, sometimes you threw the ball back to 'Buges' too hard. We had some fun with it and that's what makes it exciting to come to work."

Rookies continued to get a heavy workload. Most of them seemed to have made the adjustment on Day 2, but they all recognized that they have plenty to absorb in the weeks and months ahead.

Said Gibbs: "We've put in a lot for the rookies. We expect them to be confused. We've taken the approach to put them all in there and let them go. So they're trying to get caught up."

Asked whether any of the rookies have made a big impression on him so far, Gibbs replied: "It's hard because we haven't been in pads. It's going to take us all the way to training camp before we can really tell. I think you can tell how smart somebody is and whether they're picking things up--or how they're taking to the weight room."

One player who appears to have caught Gibbs' eye is wide receiver Darnerien McCants. The fourth-year pro signed a contract extension with the Redskins last month after a 2003 season in which he logged a career-high 27 catches for 360 yards and six touchdowns.

"He's a touchdown maker," Gibbs said. "He makes very athletic plays. We looked at him as a very valuable receiver. We didn't want to lose him to [restricted] free agency."

Said McCants: "It was a great feeling when I learned the Redskins wanted to keep me. It let me know that I needed to be here and that I deserved to be here. Coach Gibbs liked something that he saw in me."

Wide receiver James Thrash left Redskins Park after the team's morning walk-through practice due to a personal matter.

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