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Carlos Rogers Keeps Practice Fight-Free

Posted by Matt Terl on August 5, 2010 – 2:30 pm

Carlos Rogers and Devin Thomas didn’t fight today. In itself, that’s not particularly significant: they don’t fight most days, after all. Today, though, they came close. I didn’t see exactly how it went down, but here’s the impressionistic version: Thomas was blocking downfield; he hit Rogers, who went down; Rogers came up talking; they walked away.

Afterward, they both minimized the incident. Here’s Rogers, minimizing: “Devin hit me in my back and I was like, ‘Come on, man!’ I was about to get serious, but it’s practice. It happens. That’s all it was. He says he just hit me from the side, so I’m gonna let him pass on that. It was within the play. It ain’t serious.”

And here’s Thomas, minimizing while still getting in a little jab: “I tried to come down and get him, he stopped, kinda caught his shoulder. You know, he thought I got big on him. I’m about 239 230, now, so I kinda ran him over. And he was mad. You know, he was upset that he hit the ground, you know big DB’s –they’re pretty boys, they don’t like to touch the ground.”

But the whole incident reminded me that this has been a largely fight-free training camp, and some people believe that’s a bad thing.

Fights show SPIRIT, the thinking goes, guys with FIRE fight! If accurate, that would be a bad sign for these Redskins. So I asked around a bit to see where guys weighed in.

“I’ve been a part of both,” DeAngelo Hall said. “I’ve been part of fight training camps and non-fight training camps, and, I mean, we’ve won both ways and lost both ways. I don’t really bother with it, I don’t think.”

“I gotta be honest with you,” defensive lineman Adam Carriker told me, “if you’re fighting in practice, you’re probably more likely to fight in a game. I think it’s more about self-control and discipline, so I would side more on that.”

Rookie tackle Trent Williams sounded like he could’ve gone either way, despite how unequivocal this appears in black-and-white: “It brings out everybody’s competitive juices,” Williams said, “but then again, you know, health is important and we’re gonna need each other. We don’t need to be beating up on each other.”

Basically, there was tremendous uniformity among all the players that fighting is just a dumb, pointless exercise … and, it turned out, there was a reason for that uniformity: head coach Mike Shanahan.
“Coach says he doesn’t believe in all that, man,” Rogers said. “You’ve gotta get in control ’cause they’ll call a penalty. Actually, he’s really encouraging guys to walk away from stuff. He said that’s how it’s gonna be during the season, and it’s a good thing, you know? ‘Cause that’s how you can get a penalty that can change a game around, so he doesn’t want any of that. If somebody pushes somebody, you’ve just gotta walk away.”

Thomas concurred. “Shanahan really emphasizes the fact that it’s stupid to fight,” he said. “You know, he doesn’t want that to be a situation here. Some coaches like that stuff, but Shanahan doesn’t want us to be fighting. He wants us to work hard, play hard, play smart and look out for each other ’cause we’re all teammates.”

And, Shanahan told me, what he expects to see in games, he also expects to see at practice. “f you lose your composure here on the practice field, you’ll lose it in a game,” he said. “And I’ve never seen a football player ever get hurt [in an on-field fight]. So you have to put the team first. You have to keep your poise. When someone takes a shot at you, usually they see the retaliation and you’re the one who gets penalized. And nobody’s bigger than the team.”

Which meant that, in the end, the non-altercation between Rogers and Thomas was absolutely perfect in the coach’s eyes. “That’s what we’re talking about,” Shanahan said. “That’s camp. We’re on the same team and those things are gonna occur, but that’s part of being a mature football player and putting the team first.”


A few other notes from practice:

  • Albert Haynesworth didn’t practice again, although his post-practice work is getting steadily more involved.
  • Oh, and he’s getting an MRI on his knee today.
  • Turns out Mike Furrey has been missing practice because of a concussion.
  • Also sitting out today (with a day mostly off) were Chris Cooley and Mike Sellers, and Jeremy Jarmon and Jammal Brown were limited.

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