Dozens of young NFL hopefuls trudged off the Redskins Park practice fields on Sunday afternoon--some for the last time. For a select few, it could be just the beginning.
The Redskins wrapped up their three-day Rookie Camp on Sunday, as coaches and scouts got another day of evaluation of the rookie crop. Then they quickly huddled away in meeting rooms to watch film and come to a decision over which players deserve a closer look.
In the coming days, the team is expected to announce several signings to the roster.
"We had an excellent camp," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "I can't brag enough about our scouting department because we have some quality players. I thought we had a real good camp, with very few injuries. I thought we got a lot of good work out of it."
Coaches put the rookies, which included the Redskins' six draft picks and eight undrafted rookie signings, through tests both on and off the field, Gibbs said.
"We threw a lot at them, so you get a pretty good idea of who can handle what mentally," Gibbs said. "You get a real good feel for how sharp they are and how quick they are going to learn things. You get a real good feel for their athleticism and how they move around, which is hard to tell on film."
The Redskins' top draft pick, linebacker Roger "Rocky" McIntosh, got his first taste of NFL action and worked hard to impress coaches.
"I wanted to show them the way I hustle," McIntosh said on Sunday. "I wanted to learn as much as I can. It's a lot more different from college. The plays are more detailed. The coaches really emphasize the little things."
Like most of the rookies on hand, McIntosh made his share of mistakes on the field. He knows he has plenty to learn.
"You're taught that, if you make a mistake, don't dwell on it," McIntosh said. "[Coaches] wanted us to go full speed and not worry about [making mistakes]. If I mess up out there, I'll have time to correct it later."
Safety Reed Doughty, the Redskins' sixth-round draft pick, felt that he adjusted well to his new coaches and the new surroundings.
"Coaches want to see what you can learn, put a lot of pressure on you and see if you can handle some criticism," he said. "That's okay because I'm not looking for a pat on the back. They want to see if you can handle a lot of information in a short period of time. I'm just trying to make the most plays that I can."
As draft picks, McIntosh and Doughty are ensured of making it through at least training camp. Other rookies at camp on a tryout basis face an uncertain future in the NFL.
Last year, the Redskins uncovered several undrafted rookies at their Rookie Camp. One player, linebacker Zak Keasey, made the Redskins' opening day roster and is currently with the San Francisco 49ers.
Offensive lineman Jonathan Alston served time on the Redskins' practice squad last year and is getting a close look this offseason.
"When you're out there evaluating players, you don't get focused in on finding a guy who could make a difference," Gibbs said. "You are just trying to add a player whenever you see a good football player. I get excited about that because you can hit on two or three [undrafted rookies]. Several of those [undrafted rookies] looked good this weekend."