There are a few categories of guys who really get NOTICED at training camp. (Where, for purposes of this writing, “noticed” means written about, talked about, thought about, analyzed, broken down, and turned into potential franchise saviors or destroyers.)
First, especially at the 2010 Redskins training camp, are the guys who get noticed for some off-the-field issue. Say, just to choose an example at random, a defensive tackle who needs to complete a conditioning test while also suffering a knee injury AND boycotting the media. That gets a little bit of notice.
Second are the guys who get noticed for doing well. They show up as Studs in Studs and Duds columns, they’re pitched as Break-Out Players or Ones To Watch or Dudes Who Is Doing Good, and by the end of camp everyone knows who they are. Guys in this category for the 2010 Redskins would include Kareem Moore, Brian Orakpo, and Larry Johnson.
Johnson also fits into the third category: guys who get noticed because they are offseason stories Willie Parker would be an example of this, as would Jammal Brown and (obviously) Donovan McNabb. Their arrival here was dramatic; now we’re finally seeing what they can do on the field.
The highly-touted rookies would be a fourth category, and aging veterans trying to eke out one more year a fifth. Guys who are looking for redemption after disappointing years might be a sixth, and guys who are struggling mightily a seventh.
You would think that between these seven categories and any others I’m not thinking of, you would’ve covered the entire Redskins roster. But there are always guys who fall through the cracks. Draft choices who aren’t selected notably high, don’t have any specifically noteworthy pedigree, and haven’t yet dazzled anyone with a specific on- or off-field talent. Or reliably solid veterans who are continuing to perform with reliable solidity.
Say, for example, sixth-round pick Dennis Morris, a tight end, and veteran linebacker Rocky McIntosh, respectively. Well, some people noticed that very little had actually BEEN said about these two, so I grabbed each of them coming off the field yesterday and conducted a very quick state-of-training-camp interview. Just so we can figure out which category to slot them into, really.
Rocky McIntosh Gets Down To Business
The biggest difference in this training camp, McIntosh says, is “That when it’s’ time to get down to business, we take care of business and when it’s time to rest, we rest. That’s definitely different.”
Which makes McIntosh yet another one riding the teeter-totter of disciplinarian-vs.-player’s-coach, although he notes that Mike Shanahan has elements of both coaching styles. “I think it’s a nice balance,” he says, “because we needed a little bit stronger direction around here. So, it’s definitely good when you have a stern head that everybody else is gonna follow.”
There was a minimal amount of offseason concern about McIntosh’s ability to play the inside backer position in a 3-4 defense, but, according to McIntosh, that’s about as much concern as the move warranted. (i.e., None.) “It’s really no different, man,” he says. “But first and foremost, you gotta play smart and you gotta be physical. So those two things…I got both of those, so I feel kinda like superman a little bit out there on the field. It’s great, man, that’s all you need.”
And McIntosh isn’t worried that people aren’t talking about him yet. “I’m just coming out here and doing my job and getting myself up there,” he says. Which is kinda predictable and athlete-speak-ish, but true nonetheless.
Dennis Morris: Silent Killer
Dennis Morris knows that no one’s talking about him. “Yeah,” the rookie tight end says, “I’m like the silent killer, I don’t really like to do too much talking or nothing like that. I just like to go to work and do all of my assignments and that’s about it. I don’t really do too much talking. I let my game do all the talking.”
Morris is primarily being used in blocking so far, and that’s fine with him. “My main responsibility is blocking,” he says. “I’m a good blocker, I like to block. I like to knock heads. It’s football, you gotta love to bang. I think they all want me to block a lot. I also think…they give me some passes, you know just to keep me on point, keep my step, you know, just in case.”
Right now, it’s all about working to internalize everything the coaches are advising. “I just work on what they tell me what to work on every day,” Morris says. “And you know, I try to get better every single day.”
After a full week in an NFL training camp, Morris says that life in the NFL is “pretty good. A lot harder than college, but it’s treating me right right now,”
Tags: dennis morris, rocky mcintosh, training camp 2010
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