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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.


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The Other Kick Return Candidate

Posted by Matt Terl on May 6, 2009 – 2:23 pm

In my post yesterday on the potential kick returners, I talked to incumbent Rock Cartwright and new speedster Anthony Alridge. Somewhat conspicuous by his absence, though, was other new speedster Dominique Dorsey, and I can honestly say that this is because Dorsey is very, very fast: he was the first guy off the field at practice, and was back to the facility before I noticed that he was gone.

This omission seemed both glaring and unfair, so after practice today, I positioned myself in his likely path and intercepted him before he could turn on his open-field afterburners. Unfortunately, all that advance planning hadn’t included a whole lot of thinking about my questions, so I started with the basic fallback “How are things going so far?”

“Definitely a lot of fun,” Dorsey told me. “I’m having a great time gettin’ in there and being able to showcase my abilities. For the most part, it’s just been gettin’ in there, starin’ at a playbook, and just coming out here and executing.”

What positions do you see yourself possibly playing?
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An Interesting Possibility Signs A Futures Contract

Posted by Matt Terl on February 4, 2009 – 10:42 am

So the Redskins announced today that they’ve signed two guys to reserve/futures contracts — that is, 2009 contracts for players who were not under 2008 contract to any other team — and both are at positions that have been the subject of much offseason (and in-season) speculation:

  • Dave Rayner, K
  • Dominique Dorsey, RB/KR

Rayner is an experienced kicker, although a bit of a journeyman. He’s seen action with four teams, including the full 2006 season with Green Bay, but that seems to be the way things go for kickers until they find their spot. Coach Zorn mentioned this phenomenon in a press conference back in December:

There’s kind of a group of punters and a group of kickers and they all rotate until they find a home, and what the do when they find a home, you know what they do? They get coached and they find their rhythm.

So we’ll see what shakes out, and maybe find out how Suisham acquits himself with competition in camp.

But the more intriguing name is Dorsey’s. He’s is a former UNLV running back — his 1,000 yard 2004 season is the most recent one they’ve had — who received the 2008 John Agro Special Teams Award. That award, as I think we all know, is given to the most outstanding CFL special teams player by a vote of his peers, so … pretty prestigious honor.

Dorsey, a classic too-short-for-the-NFL case at 5-7, still trains in Las Vegas in the offseason (and also did some offseason work at the FedEx loading docks there, where he earned more accolades: Employee of the Day, per a profile in the Las Vegas Sun).

Now, I can hear you already: hey, that’s Canada. Don’t they have a wider field than we do? And weird rules? Do they really eat french fries with cheese curds and gravy? And don’t they pronounce the letter O weirdly? So how much can the Candian special teams award really imply?

And those are all great questions. The answers to the first four are simple: yes, yes, yes, and yes. For the fifth, though — the one about what the John Agro Award implies — for that, let’s go to the videotape.

Here’s Dorsey returning a missed field goal 129 yards.

It’s a longshot, obviously. In most cases like this, there’s a reason that a guy hasn’t made it in the NFL just yet. But in an offseason where plenty of people have commented that the Redskins could use someone like Darren Sproles, the 5-6 KR/RB in San Diego, well … maybe Dorsey could fit that mold, but without the price tag that Sproles’s playoff performance will command. Worth keeping an eye on, anyhow. And isn’t it nice to have some specific players to speculate about beyond Albert Haynesworth and Jordan Gross?

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