. . . Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson clearly has come into camp in better shape. He's still rotund around the middle and always will be. But usually in May he looks like he's swallowed an extra watermelon. That's not the case this spring, a good sign for the Redskins.
''Dan is in much better shape,'' Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said. ''He made a serious commitment in the offseason. I hope that makes a difference for him and our team.''
. . . Is there really going to be a front office shakeup? That was part of the talk today. The answer among those in the know? No, there won't be. Vinny Cerrato and Joe Mendes do not get along. Period. But they co-existed well enough to have a strong offseason and owner Dan Snyder isn't in a rush to oust Mendes. The only way it changes is if Mendes decides he's had enough of Cerrato and quits. As one person told me today: ''Dan likes tension.'' He's got it in his front office.
. . . Spurrier said after the second practice that free agent punter Brent Bartholomew would give Bryan Barker a good run this summer. To which we wonder: what was Spurrier watching? Barker was pretty good, but Bartholomew was horrible. Too many 30-yard kicks. Sorry, not a chance he unseats Barker. Maybe someone else will, but that person isn't in Ashburn right now. Another free agent, Mike Barr, had a 50-yard punt followed on his next kick by another one. But he was too inconsistent Friday.
On Bartholomew's 30-yard punt, he might have been intimidated by the returner: LaVar Arrington, who took a turn with the other returners. But Arrington had to run too far up to catch the punt, let it bounce then figured that was enough.
. . . After catching a few punts, returner Chad Morton went to the sideline, chatted with the owner then gave him a half-hug. A warm and fuzzy moment.
. . .More speed update: I like watching left guard Dave Fiore pull to the right. He looks quick. He's big, but lean and his footwork is excellent, giving him good balance. At least that's how it looked today.
. . . The depth at guard is so much better it's ridiculous. Here's the difference: today, Lennie Friedman was knocked back on a play, but recovered, regained his balance and got control of the defender. And this is a backup. Last season, the starters often couldn't do that.
. . . QB Patrick Ramsey had a strong morning practice, for what it's worth. Right now all he wants to do is work on his checks and try to get some timing with the wideouts. He had it today. Though on one play, Ramsey looked down the middle and flung it wide to tight end Robert Royal. Meanwhile, Rod Gardner thought he was open deep down the middle and said to no one in particular, ''Throw the ball, man.''
Ramsey did get picked off by safety Andre Lott on one play. Alas, no one's perfect.
. . . Arrington, as usual, provided a highlight. We try not to write about him so much, honestly, but we just can't help it. He's constantly giving good copy. He blitzed around right end on one play and headed for the quarterback. Rookie running back Sultan McCullough was supposed to pick him up. He nearly whiffed.
''You better learn to block!'' Arrington shouted. ''Ooooooeeee. Don't leave me one on one with him. Put someone else in! Boom, boom, boom.''
The man is entertaining, what can we say.
On another play, Ramsey connected with receiver Laveranues Coles, dropping a pass over the linebackers and hitting Coles in stride. Coles was covered tightly on the play, but made a nice catch.
''That's the way to be a go-to receiver,'' Arrington yelled. The man also gets it.
. . . QB Rob Johnson winds up too much when he throws. That has to drive Spurrier nuts considering he's such a big proponent of holding the ball by your ear and delivering it from there.
. . . DT Bernard Jackson is one to watch according to some in the front office. We'll see. When he lines up, he often looks too upright, making it tough to get leverage. But we can also see why they're intrigued: Jackson shot inside of rookie lineman Justin McElfish on one play and muscled past another lineman on another.
. . . First-year end DeAngelo Lloyd looks like a nice athlete with a good lean body (he's 6-foot-6, 280 pounds). Don't know yet if he can play.
. . . End Ladairis Jackson appears to be recovering nicely from his knee surgery. He made so much progress last year and it would be good for the Redskins if he can start training camp 100 percent healthy.
. . . Bernard Shaw visited Redskins Park today. For those who care about such things.
. . . Safety Matt Bowen is a supreme hustler. Just you watch. That, combined with his speed, makes him an immediate upgrade. By the way, Ifeanyi Ohalete and David Terrell rotated with the first units again.
. . . Receiver Patrick Johnson showed his burst of speed during the morning. One pass to him appeared very overthrown. But he accelerated and made the grab. Now, if he can only stay healthy . . .
Redskins Minicamp Report, Day Two
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