I was late getting out to practice today, so I missed the debut of the newest innovation from Coach Jim Zorn: music during stretching. Zorn explained after pracitice: “Chris [Cooley] asked me about a year ago, ‘Can’t we have music out here?’ It took me a long time to decide. I thought it would just loosen up everybody, and it did. I thought our guys enjoyed it. We’ll keep it up for a while and see how it goes.” Zorn compared it to the music played during pregame warmups in the stadium, but quickly demurred when asked if the music came from his iPod. “Not mind,” he said. “We had a little Jay-Z and we had some Metallica out there as well.”
(And, to head off the inevitable question, someone — I think Rich Campbell of the Free Lance-Star — asked if this wasn’t a strange thing to do after a loss. “No,” Zorn said, sounding completely taken aback by the suggestion.)
And that, frankly, was probably the most interesting part of practice. A few other memorable — although by and large not incredibly significant — moments:
- The cornerbacks were working out extensively with the tackling dummies. (Yes, they were doing it by tackling them. You’re all very funny.) The actual drill involved pushing past one dummy and flattening another, with the second one being moved around by one of the players. Everyone seemed very enthusastic about the drill, the dummies were being suitably flattened, and none of it will matter if the tackling doesn’t improve in this week’s game.
- DeAngelo Hall was kneeling on the sideline, possibly re-tying his cleats, when the horn sounded for position groups to split off. Albert Haynesworth jogged toward Hall, then hurdled the kneeling cornerback with one hand on his helmet for balance. That was impressive. And then I realized that he was running straight at me at a decent clip. I got out of the way, of course, but given how large and fast he looked in that situation, I can’t imagine what it looks like to see him bearing down on you at top speed with his full game face on.
- Andre’ Woodson is still here, furthering the wild and crazy theory that he was actually brought in because the coaching staff likes him, not just for the Giants gameplan. Which is good, because having him here certainly didn’t seem to solve the Giants.
- Rookie fullback Eddie Williams lost his footing while caught up in the blocking wave of a play and had to avoid being trampled by scooting very quickly out of the way in a sitting position. It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t sound particularly interesting but looked absolutely bizarre, and led to the players on the sidelines who weren’t involved in that personnel grouping trying — and largely failing — to imitate the maneuver.
- Based on on-field player response, the play of the day was a sharply thrown pass from Jason Campbell to Santana Moss along the sidelines. Unfortunately, it was along the opposite sideline from where I was standing and there were fifty-odd football players between me and it, so I have no idea what made the play so impressive.
Also, after practice, Zorn addressed one of the most-asked questions in the wake of Sunday’s game: if Jason Campbell is statistically so much better throwing out of the shotgun formation, why not do that more. Here’s Zorn’s reasoning:
“We are a good gun team. I think we’re a good play-action team. We’re a decent movement team. We can throw hot from gun or underneath the center. So all those elements have to be in a ball game just for deception. But I think we actually are more in the gun, even on second down now, than we ever have been. And Jason’s comfortable with it.”
But, he explained, you can’t be in shotgun all the time, especially not in his offensive system. “Not if we want to be deceptive with our draws,” he said. “Not if we want to be deceptive on third down to run the ball. You expand your passing game, but you’re telling the team, ‘Hey, we’re throwing the ball.'”
And finally, Zorn suggested that we not put too much weight in those shotgun numbers: “He’s probably got more completions in the gun based on two-minute drills, based on those kind of things. So some of that stuff skews the statistics.”
Oh, and one other Zorn note: he completely understand the importance placed on the Redskins by the fans, and has no problem with that level of pressure. “We live in an area where everybody loves the Redskins, and everybody creates an importance for the Redskins to win. So I’m not surprised. I think there is a high expectation and the bar is set very high in this community, so [Jason Campbell is] messing with you if he says he was surprised, because that’s no surprise to me.”
Tags: on the field at practice, OnTheFieldAtPractice
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