Playing in his first professional training camp, Gomes decided to juggle three oranges in an effort to impress his veteran teammates in the annual rookie talent show.
It didn’t go over so well.
“I got booed, so I had to go again,” Gomes recalled recently in a podcast interview with SonOfWashington.com.
Gomes got a second chance, however, and “did a little skit on … a defensive meeting” with the rest of the rookie defensive backs and safeties.
It would appear the 2012 crop of rookies have a little better grasp on what their veteran teammates are looking for. Word leaked this week that quarterback Kirk Cousins’ slick-haired Mike Shanahan impression was a hit with the crowd.
“Basically the skit was designed to make fun of me for 15 minutes and (Cousins) did quite a good job,” Shanahan told the media after Wednesday’s practice. “I think he got a standing ovation by everyone in the room so that was pretty impressive.”
Gomes, meanwhile, has had a training camp this season focusing less on dropping oranges and more on covering receivers and snatching interceptions.
Last season, Gomes got thrown into the fire and responded well, starting five games and appearing in 15. He said he hopes to contribute in a similar fashion in 2012.
“It’s definitely a positive thing anytime you know that you can go out and you have a great possibility of contributing to the team,” Gomes told SonOfWashingon.com. “Of course you want to make the team, but you don’t want to be just that guy who is out there filling up a spot. You want to be doing something to help the team win. So anything I can do to help get victories is a positive thing, especially when two of your other college teammates are doing the same thing.”
Those two other college teammates Gomes refers to are running back Roy Helu Jr. and tight end Niles Paul. The trio began its professional career together last season after playing at Nebraska, making the transition from college to professional football much easier, Gomes said.
“Everyone knows how long camp is and how strenuous it is on the body and the mind,” he said. “Just having a roommate that you were teammates with in college, during camp — just to talk with someone after camp and practice to see how things are going for him — it definitely made things easier.”
Gomes last season saved his best performance for the Week 11 rivalry game against the Dallas Cowboys. In the first start of his career, Gomes collected a season-best 14 tackles.
“Before I got here, I didn’t know how much it meant,” Gomes said of the Redskins’ rivalry with the Cowboys. “After being here a year, I can see how seriously that game was taken. So it definitely seems like it’s turned up to another level during that week.”
With a full offseason under his belt, Gomes certainly looks to continue raising eyebrows in 2012.
“I’m not really shell-shocked,” he said. “It’s actually helped me out by having the OTAs and the minicamps and the offseason workouts. You get in the books that much more and you get a greater grasp of the defense coming in to camp.”
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