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Markus White Channels Barry White

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 17, 2011 – 5:54 pm

A word of the wise to all future NFL rookies: don’t confess any hobbies or special talents.  Rookie outside linebacker Markus White found that out the hard way.

One of the highlights of training camp after-hours, is the rookie talent performances.

While the rookies do get to show off some hidden abilities, the crowd is mostly as supportive as Stand Up at the Apollo.

“I think they want me to sing,” he said sheepishly.  “I messed up and I told ’em that I sing all the time, so now they keep asking me to go up.”

White is currently proving his versatility on the football field by making the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker.  According to him, he’s just as versatile behind the microphone.

“I can sing about anything, man,” he boasted.  “I mean, I like a variety of singing from Usher to John Legend.  I mean, it could be oldies, I like the hits.  I like Earth, Wind and Fire, I can go way back. It just depends on what they want.”

Apologies to anyone reading this blog who considers Earth, Wind and Fire to be “way back.”

For right now, White has escaped the spotlight, thanks to the crowd of rookies in camp.  He knows, however, that he can’t run forever.  “Eventually, they’ll make me do it in the linebacker room.”

Here’s one blogger’s vote for “Let’s Groove.”

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Focus On Defensive Turnovers Gaining Traction

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 17, 2011 – 4:49 pm

AP Image

Today is the first day of practice in the regular season format, which, starting Sunday, will have limited availability to the media.  Here’s some thoughts on the final practice that’s fully open to the media:

  • Redskins players broke the huddle before practice by yelling, “Hard work!”
  • In preparation of the game in the raucous RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Redskins coaches had large speakers out on the field to pipe in fan noise.  The cheering was used during 11-on-11 and would run from the time the players broke the huddle until the snap of the football, to simulate lining up in a hostile environment.
  • Brian Orakpo had a nice one-handed catch during the daily linebacker interception drills.  The first time I saw the drill this year, both he and Ryan Kerrigan had difficulty identifying the ball in the air.  Both looked much more comfortable in coverage now.
  • As a matter of fact, Kerrigan split out in coverage on a tight end in 11-on-11 drills and and picked off a pass from Matt Gutierrez that would have led to a big return.  This wasn’t a cheap pick–he jumped about two feet off the ground to pull this one down.
  • Cornerbacks Kevin Barnes and DeAngelo Hall were also dialed in on coverage and picked off a pass each.  Hall caught his near the goal line and prevented a score.  Barnes caught his out in the flat and would have taken it to the house.
  • In 1-on-1 battles, offensive guard Chris Chester matched up well against defensive end Barry Cofield, trading back and forth in dominance.

Check out some footage of the linebackers working on their coverage skills:

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Redskins Players Reflect On Training Camp

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 17, 2011 – 4:11 pm

AP Image

With training camp ending yesterday, players finally got a chance to reflect on their experiences in the last three weeks.  Whether it was their first or fifteenth camp, players were excited to be there, and excited to be done with it.

One of the stars of training camp, was rookie defensive end Jarvis Jenkins.  By all accounts, Jenkins had a great camp, and comes out of it as a more complete player.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” he told me with a big smile.  “It was kinda rough at first, it was kinda fast-paced without mini-camps and OTA’s.  But I’m pretty sure I can fit in.”

Jenkins came in renowned as a bulldozer on the line, someone who can tie up blockers and shut down the running game.  He assessed that he had improved in all areas. Read more »

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Special Teams, Special Circumstances

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 17, 2011 – 2:23 pm

AP Image

Today’s practice ended as many before it have: with the kicker booting a field goal through the uprights.

The difference today is that it wasn’t put through by Redskins kicker Graham Gano; he was nowhere in sight.  Instead, it was put through–with thunder from Down Under–by punter Sav Rocca.

Gano had been at practice early on, and there weren’t any plays where he had an injury, so I turned to Rocca for some insight.

Two words: “Baby time.”

Apparently Gano had come to practice this morning, knowing that his wife was due with their first child at any time.  Once he got the call, he hustled out to be on daddy duty.

“Well, he’s there,” Rocca corrected himself.  “I don’t know if he’s a dad right now, but it’s gonna be very soon.  He was here.”

Once that was cleared up, I asked Rocca–one of the best goal kickers in Aussie Rules history–what it was like to practice his field goals, kickoffs and onside kicks.

“It’s actually a little bit different to what I’m used to,” he explained.  “It’s more of a soccer style [for placekicking], compared to when you drop it from our hands normally [for punting].”

As he informed me, not all oblong balls are created equal.  “Y’know, when I first got here four years ago, I could not hit one from 20 yards,” he said.  “It’s something that I’ve worked on and wanted to get better at.  At least now, if it’s called upon like today, it can look half decent.”

Rocca did look at least ‘half decent’ today, and could be an in-house option if Gano is delayed for Friday’s game.  Regardless, Rocca looks to be a decent insurance policy.

“It’s just–you never know in this league,” Rocca said.  “If Gano has an injury, or something cockeyed happened one way or another, someone’s gonna have to do it.”

“I’m nowhere near his standards, but it’s something that I can fill in for, for the day.”

Too bad he isn’t allowed to kick field goals punt-style:

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