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News & Notes: Shanahan Happy With Intensity So Far

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Head coach Mike Shanahan praised the team's practice intensity in the first four days of training camp.

There were too many mistakes, though.

"We are getting good effort," Shanahan said after Sunday's practice. "We are starting to get in good football shape. Any time you get the pads on, normally the third and fourth days are a little bit tough."

That's when bad throws, dropped passes and missed assignments happen.

He took note of them on Sunday.

"Guys get a little tired and they're not as quick as they were," he said. "And if you're not as quick, then you do make mistakes and you get fatigued."

And then there's the hitting.

On Saturday, LaRon Landry collided with Chris Cooley on a play, prompting Cooley to say that Landry "is in full scrimmage mode at all times."

Then on Sunday, rookie Terrence Austin absorbed a hard hit from fellow rookie Anderson Russell.

Shanahan said he doesn't mind hard hits, but he doesn't want it to be excessive.

"We like guys to wrap up," he said. "That's the only way you learn how to tackle. If we are going to be a great defense, we have to learn how to tackle. The only time a [defender] crosses the line is when he hits below the waist or if he throws a guy to the ground after he wraps him up.

"We constantly talk about being in position and being smart so we don't lose our own players but still improve in the areas that we need to improve in."


-- WAKE-UP CALL FOR THOMAS

Devin Thomas turned in one of Sunday's top plays when he caught a pass in triple coverage and broke free to the end zone.

"It was a nice catch he had on that go route," Mike Shanahan said. "He has had a couple good days."

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Thomas, who started 10 games for the Redskins last year, slipped down the wide receiver depth chart heading into camp.

Joey Galloway and Roydell Williams have been seeing action with the first team offense, along with Santana Moss.

For Thomas, it served as a wake-up call.

"It just made me know that I have to work harder," Thomas said. "I have to impress Coach Shanahan and let him know that every time I get a chance I'm going to make plays and show my effort."

Shanahan said that Thomas, who posted 25 catches for 325 yards and three touchdowns last year, must earn a starting job.

"He has to compete every day," Shanahan said. "He has to win the position. He has to be better than the guys who are in front of him consistently. That's how you win a position.

"The last couple of days, he has done just that. He has gone out there and made some plays."


-- BATTLE OF THE BACKUP QUARTERBACKS

It has become clear that Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman are locked in as the Redskins' top two quarterbacks on the roster.

That leaves Richard Bartel and Colt Brennan battling to be the third quarterback.

"They go out there to prove themselves and that is what you are looking for,"Mike Shanahan said. "They both have been splitting reps and both have been doing a good job."

Shanahan was asked if he prefers carrying three quarterbacks on the roster during the regular season.

"Yes, I think it is good to have three quarterbacks if you feel that guy deserves to be on your football team," Shanahan said. "Number one, you never have enough quarterbacks and if you lose somebody, it's hard to find a person that can come in and run your system.

"So that's why you try to protect them and have four or sometimes five quarterbacks that know your system. Once you lose a guy or two, regardless of how good the quarterback is, it takes time to learn the new system."


-- LATEST ON HAYNESWORTH

Albert Haynesworth was held out of the Redskins' conditioning test for the second day in a row as he continues to rest a sore knee.

Haynesworth is not going to practice with the team until he has passed the conditioning test.

So far, the big defensive lineman has missed four practices.

"There's no change with Albert," Mike Shanahan said. "He's still store, his knee is irritated. He is getting treatment, working out. We'll see if he's ready to go [on Monday]."

After Sunday's practice, Haynesworth spent another session on the field working individually with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive line coach Jacob Burney.

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