- Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams, in his first comments since the end of last season, discussed first-round draft pick Carlos Rogers following Saturday's Rookie Camp practice. He also discussed the defense's cornerback rotation, fifth-round pick Robert McCune and the team's middle linebacker situation:*
Q: What are your impressions of Carlos Rogers after the first two days of Rookie Camp?
A: "Carlos has had an impressive two days. It's hard for me, as the old, disgruntled coach, to say that right off the bat. But he should stand out with the crop of people we have in here. He and Jason Campbell both are at the head of the class. They've had two strong days and we look for a third strong day so that when we send them back home, they can return to us on the May 17 OTA days that we have scheduled. They shouldn't be behind that much. They've had two really good days."
Q: With Shawn Springs set at one cornerback spot, who has the edge at the other?
A: "Right now, we don't have starters. That's the same thing we've talked about last year. What we are going to do is put players in a role and right now, in our first group of guys, we have Shawn Springs and Walt Harris. Walt did a great job last year. He's played a lot of games in this league before and I have a lot of comfort ability and a lot of confidence in Walt. We've had a tremendous off-season. I've been impressed with that whole group in the secondary. [Safeties coach] Steve Jackson and [defensive backs coach] DeWayne Walker have done a great job with those guys: Garnell Wilds, Ade Jimoh and the new young guy we have, Roosevelt Williams. All those guys will be in the mix. I think we should have a real competitive camp. Carlos fits right in there. It's going to be a lot different the next time he comes to camp. He's going to go against guys who have played in this league. Guys who run the way he runs. Right now, it's obvious he's at the head of the class in being able to run on this field. He's got good speed."
Q: Will Carlos be ready to play the first regular-season game?
A: "I would say this: As long as he is injury-free, we'll find a way to get some packages. But if you track my own personal background, especially with defensive backs, I try to bring them in there slowly, like we did with Sean Taylor last year and Nate Clements who I had when I drafted with the 21st pick in Buffalo. We want to make sure we put them in situations where they don't get a total lack of confidence. It's a different game when you come into the National Football League and you're out there on the edge. He has all the tolls and he's just going to be thrown in the mix. Right now, we're slowly teaching and not throwing a lot of packages at these guys because when we do that, we can really evaluate their athletic ability because they're thinking so much. The next time Carlos gets here will be more of an indication of whether he can handle the multiple packages that we play."
Q: Will having veterans like Springs and Harris help in Rogers' development?
A: "I really believe that's going to be really helpful for him because so many times things don't happen on the field the way a coach diagrams them. The way you see it on film happening last year is not necessarily a situation you're going to be in when you have to be able to bail yourself out and play the play. When you have a veteran in front of you, they do a good job of coaching each other. We encourage that. We want the kind of veteran in here that helps coach young guys. We want to get him acclimated to help us win football games. Shawn and Walt both are tremendous teachers. They do a good job and have good personalities for that. Hopefully that will speed up the learning curve for Carlos."
Q: The other first-round pick, Jason Campbell--what are your thoughts on him so far?
A: "I really did not look at any film of Jason prior to him coming here. But I saw a lot of film yesterday. I was very, very impressed with his first practice. He completed more deep balls in one practice against our defense than we did the entire year last year. So that was emphasized today in practice. He has a live arm. And the thing that's fun to watch is that I've been in a lot of camps and rookie quarterbacks always get flustered. I haven't seen him get flustered yet. I haven't seen him get upset."
Q: In fifth-round draft pick Robert McCune, is there any disadvantage to being a 26-year-old rookie?
A: "There's no disadvantage as long as you're healthy. When you look at this game, which is a high-collision game, you wonder at 26 how many collisions and how injured they are. He has a pretty clean history in that respect. The fact that he's more mature, I like that. We want to coach as many mature men as we can. I'm anxious to see him play in live conditions. He's got a good frame and he has shown toughness. The thing he's going to have to work hard on is all the mental gymnastics that a middle linebacker in our system has to have. That will only come with experience and time."
Q: Speaking of the middle linebacker position, who do you project will emerge at that spot this off-season?
A: "We have what we think are four or five guys who can go in there. We want our linebackers--outside of Marcus Washington and LaVar Arrington--to play all the positions. It just makes us better when the next best athlete has to fit into the spot we need on the field."