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Jim Haslett Is Fond Of Lorenzo Alexander

Posted by Matt Terl on May 26, 2010 – 4:50 pm

When I first asked Lorenzo Alexander about his shift to linebacker in the 2010 Redskins hybrid defense, he was matter-of-fact about the switch. “Just another job for the One Man Gang to do and learn,” he told me. “It should be fun.”

To my untrained eye, he’s looked solid making the switch, and he seems comfortable with it in his laid-back way. “It’s been coming pretty good,” he told me today. “Been learning the defense — that’s comin’ along real well — and I’m starting to feel more comfortable out in space. That’s the biggest thing. Most of the time we’re rushing, and that’s just like playing defensive end, but when you get out there having to read the routes and knowing who you’re passing off to and what your responsibilities are, that’s when it gets a little complicated.”

The one time I specifically noticed him in coverage, he was covering Chris Cooley downfield yesterday. When the pass went to Cooley, Alexander was just slightly out of position but managed to jump and get an entire hand firmly on the ball — which then bounced off and into Cooley’s arms. Alexander was furious about this — he’s not nearly as laid-back when he’s on the field.

“I was guarding Cooley,” Alexander explained, “and it ended up being man-to-man. He ran a 7 route, and I’m turning to look, and — I mean, when you’re looking for the ball you assume it’s being thrown to you, but he’s not throwing it to me. He’s throwing it to Cooley. So I kinda panicked a little bit and didn’t play it that well and got just my hand on it when I should’ve probably picked it off.”

Still, I suggested, you’ve been a linebacker for all of twenty minutes and you were downfield against a Pro Bowl tight end. Surely getting a hand on the ball is pretty good?

“I’m competitive,” Alexander said, shrugging. “It don’t matter where you’re at, whether you’re a Pro Bowler or a rookie. But it’s getting better, and I’m glad I’m gettin’ all those reps playing against a guy like a Cooley or a Donovan McNabb, who’s putting those balls in great places. When I get in the game, it’ll be that much easier for me.”

So that’s Alexander’s cautiously optimistic take on where he is. His new defensive coordinator, on the other hand, is not quite so measured.
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Chris Cooley Tries His Hand As A Holder

Posted by Matt Terl on May 26, 2010 – 3:18 pm

Two days ago, I devoted 700 words to punter Josh Bidwell‘s trials learning to hold for a left-footed kicker. Today, Bidwell was absent from practice (with his coach’s permission). Now, I’m not saying those two things are connected, but whatever the reason the fact remains: the team was forced to try out some backup holders today. Much of the holding was done by whichever kicker wasn’t kicking, but head coach Mike Shanahan and special teams coach Danny Smith also explored having a Pro Bowler holding for kicks:

Chris Cooley.

“It’s probably the first time I’ve ever been around Chris where he looked a little nervous,” Shanahan said. “Y’know, something he wasn’t comfortable with. I’m not sure if he’s ever done it before. But Chris has got excellent hands; we wanted to take a look in our OTAs, see if he could handle the ball, obviously, as a holder, and I thought he did a good job.”

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Mike Shanahan Addresses The Santana Moss Issue

Posted by Matt Terl on May 26, 2010 – 1:43 pm

There was some hope that Santana Moss would address the media today to discuss his name being linked to Canadian doctor Anthony Galea, who has been charged with smuggling human growth hormone into the United States. Moss elected not to field any non-football questions, but Moss’s teammates said that he had spoken to them about the situation, and Moss himself acknowledged that he had discussed it with his head coach.

And the head coach turned out to be more than willing to speak up on his behalf. Read more »

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Another Sign Of The New Tempo At OTAs

Posted by Matt Terl on May 26, 2010 – 10:33 am

Tempo: it’s something that’s been mentioned a lot at the minicamps and OTAs under the new Redskins coaching staff, but I’ve had a hard time finding something specific to point at as a concrete indicator of the new tempo. The best I’ve come up with is the drill that starts off every defensive practice: the eleven guys on the defense take the field in their positions, get set, and then sprint to a corner of the endzone. Then the next eleven guys line up and do the same thing, and so on until everyone’s done it.

And I do mean sprint. This is, I think, the fastest I’ve seen players run during practice in the time I’ve been watching. It’s certainly the fastest when there was no one-on-one competition involved.

So yesterday I asked Carlos Rogers if he could explain the thinking behind the drill, and what it says about the philosophies of the new coaching staff. Read more »

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