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Redskins Mini-Camp Blog: Saturday, May 3

Redskins.com's Mini-Camp Blog comes to you with news and updates from the Redskins Park practice fields.

-- SATURDAY, MAY 3

## 10:08 a.m. ET

Day 2 Begins

Coachers are here, players are here, media is here. Welcome to Day 2 of Redskins mini-camp.

There's another new face on the practice fields.

The team has brought in offensive lineman Rich Beverly, a 6-5, 300-pound undrafted rookie from Delaware. He is in camp on a tryout basis.

The team needed another lineman after undrafted rookie Shannon Boatman from Florida State was released by the club on Thursday. Boatman failed his physical, unfortunately.

The Redskins have six tryout players in mini-camp. With the release of Boatman, it's likely that one of those six tryout players will be signed after camp.

The others are tight end Jason Goode from Maryland, defensive back Steven Tate from Hofstra, tight end Jay Sonnhalter from East Carolina, defensive tackle J.T. Mapu and tight end Brandon Davis from Northern Illinois.

For what it's worth, Goode make some nice catches during Friday's practice. And Tate logged an interception during 9-on-9 work.


## 10:08 a.m. ET

Zorn's Rules

Zorn has instituted several changes to Redskins practices, many of which he brought with him from Seattle. He called it a "Seahawk-instigated idea."

For example, you can bet that coaches and players will heed Jim Zorn on his 15-yard rule starting every practice.

Twice on Friday, Zorn had to admonish coaches and players for standing to close to the line of scrimmage on practice plays. He insists that they stand back 15 yards.

"It gives the players a sense that they're actually out on the field by themselves," Zorn said. "And it gives the coaches a full view of the whole play. And it's also a safety issue. When we have a quarterback scrambling, I want them to be able to scramble and not worry about running into an O-line coach, or a tight ends coach."

There's also a burgundy line about 10 yards in-field. It goes the length of the field.

"It's just a tool for the offense and defense," Zorn explained. "It is for the quarterbacks and receivers. When the receiver is running, it is an indication of saving room in case he has to fade into the sideline. It is an indication not to get squeezed into the sideline.

"That burgundy line is an opportunity for us to know where we really want to be when that ball is thrown deep down the field. It is for go routes.

"It really wasn't my idea, I just brought it here. Our offensive coordinator in Seattle used that when he was coaching and it really made a difference for us, so I brought it here. It will make a difference with our quarterbacks and receivers."


## 11:10 a.m. ET

Stump

New running backs coach Stump Mitchell spent time during practice putting an emphasis on pass blocking skills.

That's something that Clinton Portis has excelled at over the years.

Still, it needs an emphasis because it's a crucial role for running backs in the West Coast offense. Running backs must be able to pick up pass rushers and blitzers when the short pass routes are covered.


## 11:15 a.m. ET

Devin Thomas

As Casey Husband noted in his feature on Redskins.com, wide receiver Devin Thomas is not at mini-camp on Saturday. He was excused to attend the funeral of his grandmother.

He is expected to return Saturday night and be on the practice fields Sunday for the final mini-camp practice.


## 11:15 a.m. ET

Kevin Sampson

Just learned that offensive lineman Kevin Sampson was cut by the team prior to mini-camp.

Sampson was a 4-year veteran who alternated on the Redskins' roster and practice squad last season.


## 11:38 a.m. ET

Hollenbach's Learning Curve

Young quarterback Sam Hollenbach, the Maryland product, is getting his share of reps during mini-camp.

He has looked good on some plays, not so good on others.

On one play, Hollenbach turned and handed off to Rock Cartwright. It wasn't quite as fluid as Jim Zorn would have liked.

"You did it again, you did it again," Zorn told Hollenbach. "Don't stand and turn. Do it in one motion."


## 11:50 a.m. ET

Defense On Top Again

The defense continues to raise its game. Another solid session for Greg Blache's crew in 11-on-11 work.

Shawn Springs broke up a slant pass to Antwaan Randle El, and Fred Smoot raced over to him to offer congratulations.

London Fletcher stepped in front of a pass over the middle to James Thrash, breaking up the play.

Eddie Jackson continues to have a solid camp--the fifth-year safety nearly had an interception on one play.


## 12:05 p.m. ET

Up-Downs For D-Linemen

The defense wasn't immune to mistakes.

Defensive end Tommy Davis was offside, and he received a tongue-lashing from gruff defensive line coach John Palermo. "Tommy, you'll cost us a 5-yard penalty," Palermo yelled. "Wait for the ball!"

Davis was forced to do a series of up-downs for the infraction.

Later, another young lineman in Kevin Huntley was offside. "Get outta there," Palermo yelled as Huntley clasped his helmet in frustration at his gaffe.

Huntley found space behind a row of players to do his up-downs.


## 12:10 p.m. ET

Golston Hurt

Defensive tackle Kedric Golston suffered an ankle injury during a play in 11-on-11 work.

Trainers brought him to the sidelines and taped up his ankle. Probably a minor ankle sprain.

Golston was able to stand and walk, but he was eventually carted off the field.


## 12:10 p.m. ET

Todd Yoder

There's Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley and there's rookie second-round pick Fred Davis, another tight end.

And there's Todd Yoder, who appears to be having a solid camp. He pulled in a downfield pass from Todd Collins for a solid game.

Yoder is a strong blocker, and that element of his game is a key to the Redskins' ground attack. But he proved last year he can be capable in the passing game, grabbing seven passes for 97 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown catch that was critical in the Redskins' Week 13, 24-16 win over Chicago.


## 12:10 p.m. ET

Randy Thomas

Like Jon Jansen, Randy Thomas is coming off an injury-plagued 2008 season. He had surgery on his triceps that sidelined him most of last year.

Thomas says the injury feels fine and that he is 100 percent.

He admits to frustration that every time the Redskins make the playoffs, he succumbs to injury. One reporter asked him if fans should root for him to get injured, and Thomas looked at him curiously.

"Where you from? Are you from Dallas or something?" Thomas asked.

Was it tough for Thomas to watch from the sidelines last season?

Here's the quote of the day: "Rehab is long story, but I'm too blessed to be stressed."


## 12:30 p.m. ET

Zorn On the Defense

The defense is clearly ahead of the offense at this point of the offseason. On most plays, they were a step ahead.

Makes sense. Offensive players have an abbreviated playbook that they just received for the mini-camp. They have barely had time to absorb the plays and take it all in.

After practice, Jim Zorn was asked to comment on the defense.

"The front seven--they're giving a great effort," Zorn said. Linebackers are scraping, filling holes and pursuing very well. The safeties and corners are doing a good job disguising their looks. I think that's helping.

"The main thing to watch is the emphasis of pursuit and swarming to the ball wherever it's going. It was great to see."

The Redskins hold their second practice of the day--and fourth of the mini-camp--later this afternoon.


## 2:45 p.m. ET

Andre Carter Quotes

After the mid-afternoon lull, practice resumes shortly. Here are some Andre Carter quotes to help with the wait for more blog updates.

On the fast tempo of practice:

"Having this type of tempo, it makes the mind work a little bit faster so you make a faster decision. A fast tempo is good."

On the changes to the defense:

"It is great. It is more reaction than thinking. Sometimes you have so many packages you tend to over do it. You tend to think too much rather than play. Just to have that in this defense is going to benefit us."

On defensive coordinator Greg Blache's strengths:

"Experience. He has coached 21 years. His level of experience in this game is very crucial. He has seen it all and been through it all."

On what defensive coordinator Greg Blache expects:

"For the young guys, unfortunately they don't know him. Just working with him through experience, we already know what his expectations are as far as veteran leadership and playing on the field. As a vet, we know what he expects from us. That part is simple mentally. We just have to be professionals and go out and play."

On what he thinks the key for the defensive line is:

"Every year is the same--you have to be physical. You have to have a level of consistency day in, day out. Four-man rush, the tackles blow up the pocket and the ends come around the corner, that is it."


## 3:25 p.m. ET

Silver Balls

Call it Dodge Ball, Redskins style.

Jim Zorn's latest drill is to have a quarterback stand in the center of the field, surrounded by the three other quarterbacks and two coaches. Two giant silver balls are rapidly tossed at the quarterback in the middle.

The drill requires the quarterback to keep both hands on the ball and maintain proper footwork, all while avoiding the silver ball thrown at him.

Not every QB was perfect. Jason Campbell was hit once by a silver ball thrown by Jim Zorn. Todd Collins was hit once by Sam Hollenbach.

Now this drill looks fun. I admit I was a big dodge ball fan growing up.


## 3:35 p.m. ET

Redskins Park Leap

On the defensive side, there have been more drills this year emphasizing using a player's athletic ability to force turnovers.

In one series, coaches threw balls high to defensive backs and linebackers, who had to leap to pick it off or tip it away from a receiver.

Most impressive was 5-10 cornerback Byron Westbrook, who leaped high to grab a pass mid-air.


## 4:30 p.m. ET

Player Updates

Kedric Golston, who injured his ankle in the morning session, was not on the practice fields for afternoon work.

Jason Fabini was excused to leave the afternoon practice early due to a family event. (Fabini just up and left mid-practice. It kind of looked like he decided to retire on the spot. But that wasn't the case.)

Vernon Fox tweaked his knee and had it wrapped by athletic trainers. He could practice on Sunday, though.

Versatile lineman Lorenzo Alexander is only working on the defensive side of the ball this mini-camp. He is expected to resume playing offensive line at some point.


## 4:40 p.m. ET

Mini-Camp Action

Chris Cooley hauled in a pass in front of Reed Doughty, then pulled away. Cooley was trailed by Casey Rabach, who shouted, "I got your back, I got your back." Unfortunately, there was no one there for Rabach to block as Cooley made his way downfield.

Todd Wade got an earful from players on defense after he committed a false start during run-blocking drills. The cadence by undrafted rookie QB Bret Meyer tripped him up.


## 4:55 p.m. ET

11-on-11 Notables

Second-year linebacker Danny Verdun-Wheeler, a practice squad player last year, managed to leap up and tip a Jason Campbell pass, but Santana Moss was able to grab on to the ball anyway for a reception.

Phillip Daniels got solid pressure on Jason Campbell, but Campbell escaped and threw a pass to Santana Moss. He made the catch right before he would have been leveled by a hard-charging LaRon Landry.

Wide receiver Billy McMullen put a move on Byron Westbrook and found himself wide open downfield. He grabbed Todd Collins's pass for a long gain. McMullen, a 2003 third-round draft pick, has experience in the West Coast offense in Philadelphia and Minnesota, so he could be a contender in a crowded wide receiver field.

Bad pass by Jason Campbell, intercepted by undrafted rookie Matteral Richardson.

Jason Campbell tested Matteral Richardson again a few plays later on a deep pass to Santana Moss. Richardson did not turn around, and Moss stepped in front of him to get the ball. He wasn't able to catch it, though.


## 5:05 p.m. ET

Steve Largent In the House

Former U.S. congressman and Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent, who played with Jim Zorn in Seattle from 1976-84, attended the afternoon practice and watched from the sidelines.

Largent was so low-key during the practice that "nobody would know he's in the Hall of Fame," Zorn said.

Redskins pro scout Don Warren chatted with Largent for a time, but otherwise Largent watched quietly.

"I went over to our wide receivers and said, 'See that guy in the green shirt over there? He's in the Hall of Fame,'" Zorn said. "And they're looking at me [with a look of surprise on their face.]"

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