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On The Field For Some Entertaining Drills

Posted by Matt Terl on June 4, 2009 – 2:47 pm

Well, I jinxed it just a little bit. On this dreary, overcast day — the last of this four-day batch of OTAs — Malcolm Kelly was noticeably limited in practice. Coach Zorn, however, does not feel jinxed, and he remains optimistic: “He’s been limited in these last couple days because of getting him right back into it,” he said after practice. “We want to be smart with what he is doing as well, but he will be practicing next week just the same as he did this week.”

I certainly hope so.

Zorn was also optimistic about where the team is, following this week of OTAs. “I think we are better than last year, or coming into last year,” he said. “There were a lot more question marks. I’ll give you an example, [Chad] Rinehart wasn’t ready to accept the full responsibility of what he is already accepting this time. We did move Jon Jansen on, so we do have a clearer picture of the competition at right tackle. We’ve got legitimate guys working at left tackle to back up Chris Samuels. We’ve got [Derrick] Dockery in there and he has kept pace with what we were doing last year with Pete Kendall. We are in better shape, no question.” So that was good to hear.

On the field today, though, the most interesting things to watch were two drills.

The first was the QB net drill. This is one of those things that never seems to get old for me. I suspect that’s because it’s so straightforward: QB drops back to pass, Coach Zorn shouts out which hole in the net the ball should go through, and either the throw is a success or a failure. Not much gray area there.

And the star of today’s QB net drill? Read more »

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Thursday, May 21: Anthony Alridge, As Fast As Advertised

Posted by Matt Terl on May 21, 2009 – 1:03 pm

The rookie class got to participate in their first community relations event yesterday, exercising (alongside several Redskins veterans, such as Ladell Betts, above) with three groups of local students as a reward for being the winners of the What Moves U Challenge to battle childhood obesity. (Briefly: students at area schools were encouraged to engage in some sort of physical activity for 60 minutes a day, every day over a four week period. These students were the top of the ones that met or exceeded the goal.)

The event was a success — the students spent an hour working out on the artificial turf practice field with the players, rotating through different stations and generally having a good time.

At least for me, though, the real star of the event was Anthony Alridge. The word on Alridge — acquired off waivers from the Denver Broncos this offseason — has always been that he was fast. You might remember the YouTube video I posted when he was signed, entitled “lookin’ like Barry Sanders”.

Or you might recall Vinny Cerrato, on his late March radio appearance, discussing Alridge’s speed thusly:

We also got a guy that Denver cut, Anthony Alridge, who the year before from the University of Houston, at the combine ran 4.34, at his personal workout ran a 4.22 and he is a third down guy. I talked to Mike Shanahan about him. When he got cut, when he was on the wire, I called him and said Mike, what do you think about this guy. He said, get him. He said he is the fastest guy I have ever seen on the field with the ball in his hands.

Or perhaps you remember the OTA practice report where I described Alridge as “a blazing speed guy,” and Coach Zorn characterized him as “FAST” emphatically enough that I transcribed it in all caps.

So, yes, Alridge = teh fast. Got it. But yesterday took it to an entirely different level, at least for me.

What I noticed first about him yesterday wasn’t his speed, but his enthusiasm. By which I mean how loud he was. By which I mean that he was bordering on Fred Smoot levels of volume. I came over to his group — a sprinting station, appropriately enough — because I could hear him from thirty yards away, shouting at one of the students preparing to run.

“Braids! Hey, Braids!” he was yelling, at a twelve year-old with cornrows, “I got fifty bucks says you’re going to win this one. Come on, Braids!” Then he yelled some more while the kids ran, and when the guy with cornrows lost, he teased him for a bit about costing him money.

This seemed promising, so I stuck around as the groups rotated … and then the next group to the sprinting station didn’t have an even number of students, so trainer Harrison Bernstein recruited Alridge to help out.

The game in question was Tag: one student would lie on their stomach with their hands on the 5 yard line; the other would stand on the goal line. The aim was for the student in the front to reach a target — in this case other new speedster Dominique Dorsey — before the chaser could tag him. Straightforward enough.

Of course, Alridge could make up the five yard gap no problem … so Bernstein positioned him fifteen yards back, at the back of the end zone. It didn’t matter.


Read more »

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Friday, February 13: Redskins Claim Anthony Alridge, Establishing A Trend

Posted by Matt Terl on February 13, 2009 – 10:10 am

When the Redskins signed RB/KR Dominique Dorsey out of the CFL to a futures contract, I speculated that he might be a bargain version of Darren Sproles. Last night, the Redskins were awarded RB/KR Anthony Alridge off waivers from the Denver Broncos, and it now seems safe to say that “quick little kick returner” is a position that’s receiving some attention.

Alridge had a productive career with the University of Houston Cougars — he averaged 10 yards a carry over 95 carries in 2006; in 2007 he rushed for 1,597 yards (with a 6.2 yard average) and caught 42 passes for 428 additional yards. In fact, his college numbers were strong enough that he was named second team All-Conference USA.

That might not seem particularly impressive — it’s only second team, and it’s only Conference USA — but the three running backs ahead of him were Matt Forte (1,715 yards from scrimmage for the Bears), Kevin Smith (976 yards rushing for the hapless Lions), and Chris Johnson (named to the Pro Bowl for the Titans). So getting pushed down to fourth best in that crew is still pretty darned good. Read more »

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