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Devin Thomas Continues To Say The Right Things

Posted by Matt Terl on March 27, 2009 – 1:34 pm

The offseason conditioning program didn’t start out well for Devin Thomas, as a planned absence from the program’s first day somehow took on a life of its own in media reports, leading to a post at Fanhouse with the admonishing headline “Redskins’ Devin Thomas Should Show Up for Voluntary Workouts”. This wouldn’t be particularly significant, except that it was posted on Wednesday of this week, seven or eight days after Thomas had actually shown up. It’s safe to say that public opinion has not been with the second-year wideout.

But things started to turn for Thomas yesterday, with a blurb on Redskins 360 acknowledging his existence at Redskins Park followed quickly by a reasonably positive entry on Redskins Insider.

Well, the Devin Thomas Positivity Train 2009 makes another stop today on Comcast SportsNet’s Redskins Nation, where Thomas sits down with Larry Michael and is perfectly upfront about what went wrong last year, what he hopes to do about it this year, and what the story is with Malcolm Kelly.

For those of you who don’t receive Redskins Nation, the audio of the interview is after the jump, but here — since it’s been a transcribe-y kind of day for me anyhow — are a couple of the choice quotes.

On reports that he came in last season out of shape:

Thomas: “When it really boils down to it, the NFL is a different shape you’ve gotta be in. That’s point blank, period. I felt like coming in I was in good shape, you know, I was in better shape than I’d normally be in, but for the NFL, I probably wasn’t ready. I probably needed to do more.

“And, you know, that showed in not being able to pass the conditioning test. But that’s something I had to learn with that, and I definitely learned that, like, ‘Man, I’ve gotta do more, like even extra.’

“And I think that played a role in it. Then the preseason came and I pulled a hammy, but that was just due to working hard in the practices and overexerting myself.

On this year’s conditioning test:

Thomas: “Oh, man, I’m down here with John [Hastings], our weight room guy, all the time, just getting ready for it, whatever it is. If it’s the same test or not, I’m gonna make sure I’m ready for it.” Read more »

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Coach Zorn On The Draft Party, Bringing In New Fans, And Offseason Work

Posted by Matt Terl on March 20, 2009 – 1:42 pm

The part of Chris Cooley in the morning’s post about the team’s Draft Day Party was originally supposed to be played by Coach Jim Zorn. Since Zorn’s address to the crowd is one of the centerpieces of the event, and since last year was his first experience at something like this as head coach, I asked him for his impressions of the day.

But since he is Jim Zorn, the conversation took a somewhat more detailed, more thoughtful, and more lengthy turn than I was expecting. So rather than cutting some genuinely interesting insight down to fit into the framework of that post, I excised Zorn entirely from the piece.

Instead, here are his thoughts on the draft day party, ways to bring new fans into the NFL, and how offseason conditioning is going. I think it works much better this way.

What was your initial impression of the Draft Day Party?

Zorn: “It’s easy to think that certain parts of this event are just about novelty, or about appearing dramatic. You know, the coaches fly in a helicopter to get there. All that stuff is dramatic but it was actually necessary to be able to do all the things that need to be done that day.

“I think what was unique about it is how this organization took the time to meet the fans. For me I thought it was a little bit of a novelty because it was my first year and all that kind of stuff, yet this is something that goes on in a much more significant way than just being a novelty. It really is a way to meet with the fans. To have a more personal touch.

“The Redskins’ relationship with their fans is pretty intimate for an NFL organization. Not only with our players interacting with fans, but our coaches as well.

“I’ve thought that through: it’s even more important now than it was when I first did it, because when I first did it I thought it was just, ‘Okay, well, the organization is going to get Jim Zorn out there’ — or the new head coach out there, not just me personally — but the head coach out there meeting the fans. I think it does mean a bit more than that. It truly does give an opportunity for the fan to meet the organization a little more up close and personal.” Read more »

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Another Conditioning Q&A Video: Derrick Dockery

Posted by Matt Terl on March 16, 2009 – 1:58 pm

Another player, another two-minute long media session on the opening day of offseason conditioning. Despite initial reports that he’d be in Arizona or otherwise not here, Derrick Dockery chatted briefly with the media, and discussed getting the old gang back together and what he expects from practicing against Albert Haynesworth.

After the official chat, Dockery — like Fred Smoot — was asked about his alma mater’s chances in the NCAA. His thoughts on the 2009 Texas Longhorns, after the jump. Read more »

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A Mild Inaccuracy On ProFootballTalk

Posted by Matt Terl on March 16, 2009 – 1:42 pm

ProFootballTalk has a post up at the moment headlined “Portis Doesn’t Show For Start Off Redskins’ Offseason Workouts”. It’s highlighting a quote from Jim Zorn last week in which Zorn mentions that he doesn’t expect Portis to attend offseason workouts.

Here’s PFT:

Our friends at the Red Zone noticed at the bottom of an article about the Redskins’ offseason workout program a mention of the fact that star running back Clinton Portis is expected to be a no-show for Day One.

“I fully expect him to be here participating at some point,” coach Jim Zorn said, according to the Washington Post. “I talked to Clinton on the phone yesterday, and he knows what it means. He’s just trying to work out his schedule. He’s been working out his schedule.”

Yeah, it’s hard to “work out his schedule” with more than two months off since the last day of work.

But here’s the thing: Clinton Portis was absolutely here today — I saw him myself — and, according to the people I asked, he did indeed work out. (I asked in case he had dropped by for some other, unrelated reason, although I really can’t think of what that might’ve been.) Sure, it’s not nearly on the level of declaring Terry Bradshaw dead, but it’s still a little peculiar. That said, the Albert Haynesworth photoshop he links to is actually kinda funny.

(UPDATE: PFT has corrected this.) Read more »

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Fred Smoot Chats About Conditioning

Posted by Matt Terl on March 16, 2009 – 11:56 am

Fred Smoot took a few minutes to chat with the assembled media about offseason conditioning, roster moves, the absence of Shawn Springs, and all that good stuff. At the very least, it was longer and more in-depth than Casey Rabach’s appearance earlier.


But Smoot’s main excitement wasn’t for workouts, or for the continuity of a second year under Jim Zorn, or for anything like that — it was for the Mississippi State basketball team’s SEC Championship win and berth in the NCAA tournament. “Y’all should’ve been asking me about that,” Smoot said as he left the room. Tough to argue with. Read more »

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