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The Danny Smith Show

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 6:33 pm

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Ever wonder what you’re missing in afternoon Redskins coverage?

Easily the most entertaining part of afternoon walk-throughs, is watching–and listening to–special teams coordinator Danny Smith.  Smith has a voice that carries well, and he loves to hold court with his players.

One of the things he called for this afternoon during special teams drills was his “all-rookie team.”  With 25 rookies in camp right now, that’s not hard to envision.

The advice that he yelled out to his players as they lined up was, “Your first play in the NFL could be right here.  We put you out there, ’cause we know you can do it.”

And that is the extent of the excitement from today’s afternoon walk-through.

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Playing Wide Receiver Big Willie Style

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 4:40 pm

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Meet your new redzone threat, rookie offensive tackle Willie Smith.

The Fresh Prince himself.

The East Carolina product currently registers at 6-6, 290 pounds, and is looking for a spot on the Redskins offensive line.

But a few short years ago,  Smith was 6-6, 225 pounds, and lined up at wide receiver at North Johnson High School in Kelly, N.C.

Seriously. Read more »

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NFL’s New Rules Video Features Redskins

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 3:32 pm

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Just like players lose a step in the offseason, so do gameday officials.  Part of their role in training camp is to practice making calls to get back in the flow of the game.  The flip-side of this scenario is that players can explanation on rules before they count.

The other aspect of the officials teaching experience in camp is to inform players about the new rules for the 2011 season.  Referee Ron Winter and members of his crew were at Redskins camp, and provided the instructional video for players to watch.

The video discusses several rule changes that focus specifically on player safety.  One of the examples that was provided under the description of “defenseless player,” was a video of Santana Moss against Dallas.  In the clip, Moss has a defender wrapped around his ankles and is going to the ground.  Before he manages to hit the turf, however, he is drilled by an additional defender, which was emphasized as being illegal.

Ouch.  That’s kind of like having someone hold you down while another guy pummels you.

The video also discusses rule changes to defensive delay of game situations.  The video features a clip of the Redskins playing the Giants where the Giants offense is attempting to line up before the Redskins defense is ready.  London Fletcher not-so-casually runs down the line of scrimmage and boots the ball away from Giants center Shaun O’Hara.

The kick is so delightfully blatant that you couldn’t help but laugh.  Fletcher is a linebacker and had no reason to be near the ball other than to “accidentally” keep it away from the Giants center.

Hey, it was worth a try, right?

These rules changes were released several months ago, so there was no real news besides the opportunity to ask Winter and his crew some questions.  The two biggest changes are that every scoring play will now be reviewed by a booth official, and kickoffs will be moved from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line.

I’m sure that because the officials explained the rules, that there will be no hard feelings or controversial calls during the season.

Yeah, right.

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Special Teams Are Looking Graham-atically Sound

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 2:30 pm

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Still no actual kicking from the pair of kickers today in practice.  The competition rages on.

Still no punter, or Sav Rocca, but we didn’t really expect him until Monday.

Shayne Graham handled the duties of throwing the ball back to the Jugs machine today during punt drills and does not have good throwing form or a spiral.

No emergency quarterback duties for him. Read more »

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Hightower Making A Big First Impression

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 1:37 pm

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The newest Redskins running back, Tim Hightower, has certainly set the expectations high with his performance in the last two days.

Yesterday, he ripped off a long run on his first play in 11-on-11 drills.  Later on, he caught a pass out of the backfield and took off down the sidelines for another big gain.

Today, his first two runs (one end around, and one draw play through the middle) streaked for touchdowns.

Wow, this guy has moves.

Hightower could prove to be the smartest addition to a developing-roster.  Especially now that Ryan Torain is injured and out of commission for a week or more, Hightower could put the sleeper hold on the starting job if he continues to perform.

Hightower is noted as a running back that can do it all: run inside and outside, catch the ball out of the backfield, and pass protect.  In his introductory media session, he described himself as: “I’m a rhythm running back and I like to get in my groove.”

Given his practice tape so far, I think Hightower hit his groove early. Read more »

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Quarterbacks Find Stride In The Sun

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 12:54 pm

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For the first time this training camp, players had to run back-to-back practices after yesterday’s flip-flopped schedule.  Coaches accounted for some soreness today, but everybody’s conditioning looked pretty good.

Offense vs. Defense Drills:

As a group, the quarterbacks stumbled out of the gate.  In the first session of 11-on-11 drills, only Kellen Clemens was able to complete a pass, a needle to Leonard Hankerson over the middle.  Both John Beck and Rex Grossman looked uncomfortable in the pocket and likely would have been sacked a couple times.

In the subsequent 7-on-7 drills, there was less pressure on the pocket and all quarterbacks fared better.  Beck went 2-for-3, only missing on a Hankerson dropped ball.  Grossman also completed 2-for-three and was bailed out by Niles Paul on a high pass that he went up and got.  Clemens went 2-for-4, and was picked off by an acrobatic Anderson Russell jumping his route.  He also had a slick pass to tight end Fred Davis over the middle.

Davis looks good no matter who throws to him. Read more »

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Receiver Competition Is Heating Up

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 10:19 am

In at least one practice for the last couple days, both head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan have taken a particular interest in the wide receiver drills.

The result has been seen in a slow but steady improvement on the consistency of the receivers.  A lot has been said about the quantity of hands in camp, but it looks like the quality is starting to show itself too.

Check out the video below of receivers working on hitch routes with wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell:

The drop towards the end of the video is rookie wideout Leonard Hankerson, and that has been a bit of an issue throughout camp.  He’s proven the ability to make a sensational catch one moment and drop one that hits him right in the hands.

It’s still early folks.  Very, very early.

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Are You Ready For Some Football?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 8:51 am

I don’t have much of an intro for this, because words do not describe how awesome this Redskins tribute video is:

You’re welcome for your Friday morning goosebumps.  Hail!

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Redskins Top Fan Dines With Bruce Allen

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 8:35 am

Earlier this summer, the Redskins Facebook page ran a “Redskins Fan Draft Photo Contest,” to find their No. 1 Fan.  Who would’ve guessed that the top Redskins fan was an Oregonian?

Scott Duncan and his family teamed up to create this winning photo, below.  I got a chance to catch up with Scott and his wife Brandy on the sidelines at training camp earlier this week.

Click on the awesome photo for a description: Read more »

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One Week Down, Players Staying Positive

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 5, 2011 – 8:08 am

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Now with all players suited up and the lockout fully in the rear-view mirror, the Redskins are embracing the challenges of camp.

It’s difficult to say what we learned in the first week because, well, it was the first week of training camp.  While some of these players had met during offseason workouts, the learning curve is pretty steep for a young team.

On offense, there will be a legitimate competition at quarterback, wide receiver, and running back.  On defense, questions remain at inside linebacker and cornerback.  These battles will make preseason games pretty exciting for Redskins fans, and could continue the debate into the season.

Last night and this morning, Redskins players were broadcasting optimistic messages on Twitter.

Adam Carriker was visibly excited to be reunited with old teammates yesterday: Read more »

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