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You May Exhale: Brian Orakpo Agrees To Terms [Updated]

Posted by Matt Terl on July 30, 2009 – 11:00 pm

The Redskins have agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Brian Orakpo. Orakpo is expected to join the team at Redskins Park on Friday, his 23rd birthday. Crisis averted, all draft picks ready to go.

See you all at 8:30 tomorrow morning — an estimated 5,000 people attended today, and I’m looking forward to seeing how many show up tomorrow.

UPDATE: Now with some of Orakpo’s comments from last night, after the jump.

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Afternoon Practice – Chris Wilson Feels Good, Finds A Loophole In The Hotel Rules

Posted by Matt Terl on July 30, 2009 – 5:28 pm

There were two major stories at afternoon practice:

1) Guys being held out. Phillip Daniels, Cornelius Griffin, Malcolm Kelly, and Albert Haynesworth were all held out of most of the action this afternoon to help preserve them and keep them fresh as we come up to the season. They were taking those good old “mental reps” on the sideline. Dominique Dorsey left on a cart, which was momentarily worrisome, but it turned out to be due to cramps. Cramps that were due at least in part to…

2) The heat. It was very, very hot this afternoon. There’s not much more of a story to it than that, it was just very hot, and it was wearing guys — who haven’t settled into this routine yet, remember — down quickly.

Partially as a result of that, the afternoon’s practice seemed to be something of a mixed bag every time I tried to watch someone.

Santana Moss would look quick and big, and then seem tired a play later. Ladell Betts had a couple of nice runs and a couple of dropped passes. Colt Brennan threw a couple of his how-did-that-get caught passes, and a couple that were less successful.

And rookie Kevin Barnes‘s performance was such a mixed bag that defensive coordinator Greg Blache felt compelled to explain: “Well he’s a rookie, and so he played like a rookie. Quite honestly, he’ll be out there and make a great play, but then he’ll make a mistake and you’ll just think to yourself, ‘Son, that’s just not the way it’s supposed to happen.’ He is a classic, typical rookie. And that’s not a compliment.”

Meanwhile, I spent some time trying to see how Chris Wilson was doing with his move to linebacker, especially with rookie Brian Orakpo not yet in camp, but it seemed like every time I looked over, he was at pass rushing defensive end.
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On The Field For Practice – The Start of 7/30 In Pictures

Posted by Matt Terl on July 30, 2009 – 2:43 pm

I had forgotten what it’s like having fans at practice. Last season, training camp started with thousands of fans cheering every play; then practices are closed to fans but still open to the media; and by the end of the season, it’s pretty much just me, by myself on the sidelines with the coaches and trainers.

So it was almost overwhelming, at first, to see all the fans. In a good way, but still overwhelming. “This is more people than we used to see at our spring game every year,” rookie cornerback Kevin Barnes said. Read more »

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Cornerbacks Do Push-Ups

Posted by Matt Terl on July 30, 2009 – 1:20 pm

Last year, the defensive backs had a bit of a rough time holding on to interceptions and, well, it certainly seemed like everyone noticed. Carlos Rogers definitely got the worst of it (see here, here and here for examples), but when DeAngelo Hall signed midseason and immediately picked off Tony Romo, it was definitely a change from what we’d been seeing.

The old joke is that if they could catch, they’d be playing at wide receiver, but … the defense only had 13 picks last year, and that’s exactly the sort of big play they’re hoping to see more of in 2009. So every time a cornerback drops a ball in drills, he has to drop and give ten push-ups.

“You drop a ball, you do push-ups,” Fred Smoot said. “Point-blank, that’s where we going out there.” But this wasn’t just one of those things where Smoot was joking around about it after the fact — it’s also his idea. “I’m the oldest guy in the secondary,” he explained. “I just feel like we dropped too many chances last year — if we just pick off the ball we had chances to pick off, we’d’ve been top in the NFL. So now we gonna keep it going, and hopefully we’ll hold on to all these balls.” Read more »

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Follow Training Camp On Twitter

Posted by Matt Terl on July 30, 2009 – 8:27 am

The fans are already singing outside; follow along on my Twitter feed until the next update here. Read more »

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Thursday, July 30: Training Camp Opens

Posted by Matt Terl on July 30, 2009 – 7:25 am

That’s probably the last time the walkway down to the practice fields will be this empty for a while.

Training camp opens today, thankfully putting an end to the completely rumor-driven portion of the offseason and beginning the part where there’s an actual on-field component of the talk.

That change hadn’t happened yet for the first group of fans who arrived today, seven guys “mostly from McLean.” When I asked what they were going to be paying special attention to once practice started, the conversation turned to the competition for the second wide receiver spot.

“Devin Thomas,” said one.

“Malcolm Kelly,” said another, immediately, and the whole thing degenerated into a lively debate.

“No, dude.”

“He doesn’t work as hard as Devin Thomas!”

“He’s bigger, man!”

“He’s better, he’s just hurt all the time.”

“He’s more poetic…”

“He can rhyme.”

And so on.

It makes sense that these guys hadn’t moved to the next stage of the offseason yet, because they got here well before fans were allowed to begin parking. “They were here when I got here,” the guard at the gate told me.

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