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News & Notes: Shanahan Prefers Practice to Scrimmage


Don't expect a full-contact scrimmage and all-out war between the offense and defense at Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday.

Head coach Mike Shanahan said after Friday's practice that he has a philosophy of sparing the players excessive pounding and his sights are set on a healthy roster for opening day Sept. 12.

He learned from his experiences with the Denver Broncos that the risks may not be worth the rewards.

"I went full speed three years in a row on goal line and lost one guy each year," he said. "And I looked at myself and said, 'What are you trying to do with those 12 plays? What's the difference?' I think you go back to your past and say, 'What can we do to get in the best football shape, get our team ready for the first game and try to keep away from injury?' So that's my philosophy."

The pace of the work counts more, he said, than gambling that key personnel maintain their health.

"What we do every day, we're practicing at game-day speed," Shanahan said. "If you practice at game-day speed and you don't go after somebody's knees or somebody's ankles, you have a chance to go into the first regular-season game as healthy as you possibly could.

"We all understand there's going to be tackling in preseason games where you actually take guys to the ground and we've got four. The philosophy may change if there's two (preseason games in the future) but right now I'm going to stick to that philosophy."

All of that flowed from the start of the off-season work. The Redskins have been fortunate in sustaining no serious injuries and Shanahan would like to extend that.

"The thing that we try to do when the guys first come into the off-season conditioning program, it takes a while to get these guys in shape," he said. "Then you have all these OTA days, all these practices, you get them used to football-related drills. With the majority of the guys working with football related drills, we've been –knock on wood – in pretty good shape."

The ninth day of training camp saw rookie offensive tackle Trent Williams sustain a minor hip injury. Receivers Malcolm Kelly (hamstring) and Mike Furrey (concussion) and tackle Jammal Brown (hip) did not go.

Williams should be available Saturday, Shanahan said, "unless something flares up." He expected Kelly and Brown to be practicing on Monday, after the players have Sunday off, but said he was not "positive." He had no timetable for Furrey because of the concussion.

"We're very careful with that injury," he said.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers got the day off.

"He's been going at it pretty hard for eight straight days," Shanahan said.

Nose tackle Howard Green also did not practice.


Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (knee) took part in one drill but essentially kept up the same routine as in recent days.

"He's been doing the same thing, a few reps in individual work. He didn't get anything in team," Shanahan said. "That was a turnover drill that he was able to do but he has gotten the same work after practice."

He did not comment specifically on the MRI Haynesworth underwent on Thursday but said "there's no difference from Wednesday. He's getting treatment and hopefully he continues to improve."

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