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NFL Blitz: It's Mini-Camp Season Around the NFL


The Redskins begin their second voluntary mini-camp on Friday, this time with their newly-drafted rookies, a few more veteran free agents and the undrafted newbies they've signed.

We'll talk more about what to look for as the week rolls on but we always like to keep a keen eye on the rest of the NFL. Twenty-three teams held some sort of mini-camp over the weekend, either for rookies alone or for the full squad.

Here are some highlights and lowlights from coast to coast but starting in the heartland:

ST. LOUIS: Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, took his place at the head of the Rams' quarterback rotation. Two shoulder injuries during his years at Oklahoma dot his past but the Rams put him right to work. They did not limit his throws.

"No, not at all," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I think it's structured such that the first group gets about two to three more reps in each period just because of how it times up. So he ends up with a couple more throws than the other guys but that's just normally how we do it."

The Rams also used him exclusively under center. Bradford played mostly in the shotgun at Oklahoma.

Bradford said he was "definitely a little nervous," having played so sparingly last season due to the shoulder surgery. "The arm feels great. It's not tired at all," he said.

Another plus: Bradford roomed over the weekend with fellow rookie, Rodger Saffold, likely his starting right tackle. Always good to make friends with the big guys.

PITTSBURGH: The Steelers used a second-round pick two years ago on receiver Limas Sweed and have so far squeezed seven catches out of him. Sweed wound up on injured reserve last year with an unspecified illness that was reported to be depression.

Now he's got an Achilles tendon injury and left the Steelers' facility on crutches Sunday. Having traded Santonio Holmes, the Steelers can use a little youth at receiver but Sweed seems less and less the answer for them.

DETROIT: The Lions hope that rookie Jahvid Best will give them some pop in the backfield but for now they're not naming any starters.

Holdovers Kevin Smith and Maurice Morris will compete for playing time but Smith is coming off a torn Achilles tendon suffered late last season. "There's a running back by committee," Best said. "I've just got to play my part."

CLEVELAND: The Browns' top pick, cornerback Joe Haden, said he is willing to wait and learn and isn't staking a claim to a starting job. "Not thinking I'm going to start, just thinking they are going to put me where they need me to help out the Browns," he said.

Colt McCoy is one of four quarterbacks on the Browns roster and the rookie is, as expected, just glad to be there. "I couldn't be in a better place. I couldn't see myself in a better situation," he said.

The nominal starter is veteran acquisition Jake Delhomme, who is much closer to the end of his career than the beginning. The Browns also have Seneca Wallace and Brett Ratliff.

DALLAS: No. 1 pick Dez Bryant tweaked an ankle during workouts and lacked peak conditioning, which is to be expected since he played only three games last season at Oklahoma State before the NCAA suspended the game-breaking receiver for lying to it during an investigation.

N.Y. GIANTS: Mixed bag. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, their No. 1 pick, grew winded quickly and back problems kept him from showing any explosion out of his stance. New defensive coordinator Perry Fewell stole the show with his fire "fewelling" an emotional resurgence. "I've been doing this for some time now and that's just me," said Fewell, who finished last season as Buffalo's interim head coach.

SAN FRANCISCO: Coach Mike Singletary said he did not acquire Ted Ginn Jr. from Miami simply to bolster the return game. He said the offensive coaching staff is "saying, 'This guy has a lot more to him.' Ginn, a former No. 1 pick, only cost the 49ers a fifth-rounder in trade.

Singletary clearly wants him to grow as a receiver and slowly relinquish some of those return duties. "The more he gets acclimated, the better he gets at being a receiver, the less we are going to want him doing some of those (return) things," said Singletary, who no longer has Isaac Bruce and Arnaz Battle for depth.

Some other bits and pieces: Philadelphia has moved Stacy Andrews to right guard. The Eagles hoped he would be a starting tackle when they signed him a year ago. Newly-acquired linebacker Ernie Sims seemed to fit in well. ... Seattle told linebacker Leroy Hill to stay away from voluntary minicamp for a second time following charges of domestic violence. ... Miami worked rookie John Jerry at both guard positions. He was a college right tackle. ... Rookie Armanti Edwards played quarterback at Appalachian State but Carolina liked his effort at receiver and on special teams as a returner. The Panthers think he may find a role in the slot. ... Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati's top pick, looked very much like the future at tight end. "I feel good about his prospects," head coach Marvin Lewis said.

Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at and follow him on

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