Gregg Williams lined up the entire defense on the goal line and ordered a series of sprints.
"Go, go, go!" he shouted. "No lagging behind. If you don't have it at practice, you won't have it on game day."
Wednesday afternoon's practice was all about pushing players to the limit. On Tuesday night, the team held a spirited, hard-hitting practice at a local high school; on Wednesday afternoon, that was followed up by a practice in the heat and humidity at Redskins Park. Temperatures approached the mid-90s and several players--Rashad Bauman and Darnerien McCants among them--left the field weary from the heat.
"Today was a good practice because we had to battle the other elements and that's the heat," Williams said afterwards. "Guys pushed through it--we had a real crisp, high-energy practice last night and then rebounded into the heat today. These were two practices that were very meaningful. You have to push yourself through it when you're tired and hot, just like you have to do at the end of ball games.
"It was nice that we had a two-minute drill at the end of practice when you're dead dog tired, just like at the end of the ballgame when you have to protect a lead or win a game on offense."
There was plenty of hitting, with the 6-2, 231-pound Sean Taylor tackling the 5-8, 203-pound Morton and the 6-0, 204-pound Shawn Springs tackling the 6-3, 250-pound Brian Kozlowski. Second-year linebacker Clifton Smith tackled rookie tight Chris Cooley on a pass, but Cooley held on for the reception.
As evidence of the intensity of the last few practices, defensive tackle Brandon Noble was donning a cast after breaking his right hand during Tuesday's practice. He sat out Wednesday's practice. It's not out of the question that he could play in Monday's preseason game against Denver, Williams said.
"He's in great shape and we've got five weeks of camp, so he'll be back," Williams said. "He's played with this injury before. He'll bounce back. That's part of a D-lineman's life."
Said Noble: "I fell straight on it and snapped it. The last time I had an injury like this, it took four weeks to heal completely. But this is something that after a couple of days, the pain will subside, we'll cover it up and I'll go play."