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Training Camp Video: Running Backs

Posted by Andrew Walker on August 3, 2012 – 4:39 pm

The Washington Redskins’ running backs continued working on their hands at Friday’s practice.

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Alfred Morris Is A Classic Shanahan Back

Posted by Brian Tinsman on April 28, 2012 – 5:42 pm

Starting with Terrell Davis in Denver, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has earned his reputation as Running Backs Whisperer, taking obscure picks and developing them into electrifying playmakers.

That’s precisely what he’ll try to do with Florida Atlantic back Alfred Morris, who comes to the NFC East out of the Sun Belt Conference.  He comes to the Redskins as an Evan Royster type who isn’t the best at any one thing, but is a well-rounded serviceable back.

This was his review and attributes, courtesy of his draft Combine page:

Morris runs low and can get to the hole with a decent burst. He is a natural runner between the tackles who can feel and avoid pressure or wait for his seam to develop.

He is deceptively agile in short areas to avoid clean hits on him through the initial three yards of a play, and he plays much faster when tasked with finding daylight in a short area. He is capable of blocking in pass protection at the next level if his willingness matches his ability.

As every running back under coach Bobby Turner will tell you, “if you can’t pass protect, you’ll never see the field.”  Morris seems to possess that ability, and he’ll have to show it at the pro level if he expects to be the next Davis.  Scouts compare him to a runner in the mold of BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

I think the Redskins would take that kind of production.

Here’s a highlight video from his Pro Day at FAU: Read more »

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Practice Spotlight: Defensive Line

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 8, 2011 – 12:28 pm

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During unit drills in practice, the fans get dazzled on the near field by quarterback throwing sessions and running back drills.  It’s fun, it’s important, but it’s not the only drills worth seeing.  If you look on the far end of the back field, the big boys are putting in work on the defensive line.

Here are a couple of the drills, starting with agility training and footwork: Read more »

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Shaun Draughn Gets Honed And Toned

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 3, 2011 – 3:56 pm

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In case you forgot (and couldn’t guess from the forced title), “Draughn” is pronounced “drone.”

For most undrafted free agents, the NFL lockout was a career purgatory.  Whenever the labor situation was resolved, they would have a chance at their dream jobs.  But when the lockout ended, there was no guarantee of getting that call.  It was a very anxious summer.

That is, except for running back Shaun Draughn, who felt very secure.

“I definitely knew I was gonna get a call,” he said matter-of-factly.  “Coach [Bobby] Turner and I had talked before the draft, so we already had, sorta, some plans.  I still was open to other teams calling me, because of the running back situation here.  So I was trying to go to the best situation possible.”

With a buffet of running backs in Washington but no clear-cut starter, Draughn felt like he had the best opportunity here.  It didn’t hurt to come play for Turner, either.

“I feel like the relationship was important too,” he said.  “He’s one of a kind, man.  There is no other coach like him out here.  He’s always saying, ‘This is what I coach, this is what I coach.  Not what the other coaches tell you.’  We try to have our own type of language going on so we can communicate with each other.”

So far during training camp, Draughn has looked pretty good.  He’s been inconsistent at times–missing gaps and dropping passes–but he could develop further given his talent and ability to be coached.

“I’m still living in the dream man,” he said.  “I just wanna keep going, keep impressing the coaches and everything.”

Draughn listed his strengths as follows: “I pass protect real good.  I’m physical.  I’ll make a guy miss in the open field.  I think my reads are pretty good.  And I think I fit this offense really well with the zone scheme.”

Obviously, Draughn speaks very highly of himself as a running back.  Not so about his time at safety in college.

“That was a fluke,” he said sheepishly.  “A little trial and error right there.  I sucked, basically.  Like I said, I’m physical, but it’s past the physical once you get to college.  It’s mental and the game must be understood mentally.”

A move back to running back and 2,000 college yards later, it sounds like the move paid off.  He finally has his chance in the NFL, and no amount of hard work could bring him down.

“It ain’t tough, man, it’s football,” he said, flashing a smile.  “I’ve been doing this since fourth grade.  It’s competition, that’s what it’s all about.  I feel good out there, I’m just glad to be back at it.”

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Welcome Home, Tim Hightower

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 1, 2011 – 8:35 am

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The Redskins haven’t signed the splashiest free agents or made the type of trades that shock and awe, but they continue to make savvy moves and get younger.  The weekend trade of defensive end Vonnie Holliday to the Cardinals in exchange for Tim Hightower in another move in a highly tactical offseason.

Hightower was born in Santa Ana, Calif., but grew up in Alexandria, Va., attending Episcopal High School.  After attending the University of Richmond, he was on the radar of many Redskins fans, who wanted him and join forces with Clinton Portis.  Now he’s on his way back to the East Coast.

Hightower has pretty much everything that you look for in a running back for any offense: ability to run outside or between the tackles, ability to catch out of the backfield, and a great threat in the redzone.  He also has playoff and Super Bowl experience, and only earned a ticket out of Arizona because of depth. Read more »

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Bobby Turner Talks About The Current Running Backs

Posted by Matt Terl on April 21, 2011 – 2:01 pm

Redskins running back coach Bobby Turner recently sat down with Larry Michael for Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Shortly afterward, Redskins.com intern Brian Tinsman wrote about Turner’s approach to finding running backs in the NFL Draft; now he explains what the coach has to say about the guys who are currently on the roster. (You can watch the entire interview in three parts here, here, and here.)

by Brian Tinsman

Birds come in flocks, wolves come in packs, and running backs come in stables. Well, if that last one is true, then Redskins running backs coach Bobby Turner is the horse whisperer.

A coach long-renowned for getting the most out of his players, Turner didn’t mince words when he assessed the position with Larry Michael on Redskins Nation. Among other things, Turner addressed the need to add depth to the position this offseason.

But before looking ahead to the draft or free agency, he reviewed what the team already has.

Ryan Torain, the team’s primary back last season, has had a tough time staying on the field in his career. In his three seasons in Denver and Washington, Torain suited up for only 12 games, missing all of 2009 with injury.

“He has had a history, y’know, of being injured,” Turner said. “If he could have stayed healthy, better things could have happened to us.”

Turner has been Torain’s only running backs coach in the NFL, first with the Broncos and then following him to the Redskins. Over that time, Torain has had “a lot of freak things happen,” according to Turner.

Freaky indeed. In his rookie campaign in Denver, he dislocated and broke a bone in his elbow in training camp. After coming back midway through the season, he played only two games before tearing his ACL against Cleveland in Week 10, missing the rest of the season. He did not play at all in 2009 after being waived due to injury in training camp.

Despite only appearing in 10 games in 2010, starting eight, Torain gained a team-high 742 yards, at a 4.5 yard/carry clip. Not bad for a guy who started the year on the practice squad.

So what does he need to do to get better?

“Quite a few things,” Turner noted. “Number one is we’re never complacent, you know, we’re never content. We want to improve in every area.”

Turner cited a few specific spots where Torain needs to improve: Read more »

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Bobby Turner Discusses Drafting Running Backs

Posted by Matt Terl on April 14, 2011 – 9:30 am

Redskins running back coach Bobby Turner sat down with Larry Michael for a fairly lengthy interview for Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. It started airing yesterday and continues through the weekend; you can watch parts one and two on Redskins.com, and read Redskins.com intern Brian Tinsman’s take on one interesting facet of the interview right here.

by Brian Tinsman

After the release of Clinton Portis, the Redskins are without a tested starter at running back, making that position a possible target in the draft. Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Bobby Turner recently had a chance to sit down with Larry Michael on Redskins Nation to discuss the upcoming draft in terms of running backs.

Turner has a reputation as a running backs guru from his time with the Denver Broncos, where, in a 15-year span, he coached six largely unheralded running backs (Tatum Bell, Terrell Davis, Reuben Droughns, Clinton Portis, Mike Anderson and Olandis Gary) to over 32,000 rushing yards and 11 collective 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

The key to Turner’s success has come in the NFL Draft, where the Broncos selected five out of those six backs. Of those five, none were first round picks, but two were sixth round picks, including the great Terrell Davis. Clearly, Coach Turner knows what to look for.

“We’re looking for talent,” he told Michael. “I’m looking for the next Terrell Davis. We’re talking about a guy in the late rounds that can produce and help you win World Championships year in and year out.”

If that sounds easier said than done, that’s because it is. Read more »

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Meet The Coaches – Bobby Turner, Running Backs

Posted by Matt Terl on February 16, 2010 – 4:18 pm

Next up in the Meet The New Redskins Coaches series: legendary running backs coach Bobby Turner. Turner has made the most out of some great running backs (Terrell Davis, Clinton Portis) and some that were never heard from again after they left his tutelage.

He sat down with Larry Michael to discuss coming to D.C. (Gary Fitzgerald again has a few of the money quotes.)

http://p.castfire.com/1Ll7r/video/247371/redskins_2010-02-12-093804.895.m4v Read more »

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