. . . The tough part of the NFL is watching someone's dreams get dashed. I saw that today with offensive lineman Justin McElfish, a local guy from nearby Woodbridge. He was ecstatic about being signed by his hometown team and looking forward to training camp. He knew he was a longshot, but figured to at least take it to training camp--and even play in an exhibition game.
Instead, he was cut today.
About 10 minutes later, while waiting for the rookie bus to take him back to the hotel, McElfish listened to veteran guard Lennie Friedman. He tried to buoy McElfish's spirits--he was clearly hurting.
''You will hurt for a while,'' Friedman told him, ''but don't get down on yourself.''
It also said a lot about Friedman. There's no reason he needed to care about some undrafted rookie, but he took the time to try and make him feel better. Classy.
. . . Rookie lineman Derrick Dockery will be an interesting player to watch in camp, to see where he'll end up. Dockery worked at both tackle spots today. His footwork isn't as quick as starters Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen, but he's athletic enough to be effective. At times it appeared he would be beaten, but was able to recover. He sometimes was too upright and a bit stiff. And he looked better blocking down rather than in space.
The one knock on him: he must get in better shape. He's not overweight, just out of shape.
. . . Rod Jones, who was working at left tackle, looks huge. Can't imagine he'll make the team. Remember, the Redskins have depth at guard and Dave Fiore could always move to tackle in a pinch. And I know some of you are thinking: Jones is still on the roster?
. . .Safety Andre Lott worked with the first unit in one pass set, opposite Matt Bowen. Another time Lott joined Bowen in the backfield and David Terrell played the nickel cornerback spot. The coaches had hoped Lott would beat out Terrell last year, but he struggled to learn the defense and couldn't handle the pressure. Maybe this year he can.
. . . Tackle Bernard Jackson went through Wilbert Brown a couple more times today. No pads; still telling.
. . .Running back Sultan McCullough might have incredible speed, but he's the slowest fast player I've ever seen. If that makes sense. But here's why: his change of direction is bad and he has no moves. In one drill, where the running backs ran 30 yards, running between tackling dummies spaced 10 yards apart, McCullough was one of the slower runners.
After one run, running backs coach Hue Jackson told him, ''You'd better learn how to dance.''
. . .Jackson runs the most entertaining drills. Maybe that's why he was always smiling.
He stood with two garbage cans at his side in one drill, about 10 yards from the running backs. As they sprinted toward him, he'd tap one can and they'd have to cut off the other one. Jackson chastised Chad Morton once for not finishing his run. Jackson wanted him to sprint 10 yards past the cans; Morton didn't. Not to worry, Morton didn't know he was supposed to do that and did so the next time.
. . . The running backs spend lots of time working on pass blocking, emphasizing their footwork and balance when driving into a coach holding a blocking bag. The best today: fullback Bryan Johnson. After one time, Jackson yelled, ''That's what I'm talking about!''
In another Jackson drill, Jackson and three coaches lined up about 5-7 yards apart and would throw blocking dummies at the ground, forcing the runners to hurdle them. Johnson, typical of a fullback, barely had his feet leave the ground. Fullback Rock Cartwright tumbled to the ground after one dummy was thrown at his feet.
. . . The defense got the better of the offense for most of today. But we return to the newfound speed on the roster, which helped the offense finish strong. On a play from the 5-yard line, quarterback Patrick Ramsey rolled out a little to his right and hit Laveranues Coles in the flat. He stepped in for the score. Thing is, David Terrell knew what was coming. Terrell is not a great player, but his coverage was excellent. And Coles still got open enough for Ramsey to hit him in stride for a score.
. . . I thought end DeAngelo Lloyd looked like a good athlete. The Redskins say he is; they just don't think much of him as a player. They cut him today. The Redskins signed punter Brent Bartholomew, receiver Sean Dillard and defensive lineman Durrand Roundtree.
. . . The Redskins have coaching sessions for the next two weeks, running Monday through Thursday both weeks. Rookies can't participate.
. . . Talked to Taylor Jacobs' parents today. His mom said she spoke with him by phone earlier in the day and asked him who he was most impressed with. He said, ''These are men, people I've watched for years. Bruce Smith has been playing for 19 years--that's almost as old as I am!''
''He is psyched,'' Jacobs' mother said.
The only question his dad asked of me: Did Taylor look scared. The answer: no.
Jacobs seems to have come from a good home. Grew up on a farm outside Tallahassee and both his parents are teachers.
. . . Spurrier was pleased with the minicamp overall, but he even said there's not much you can tell until the pads go on. Perhaps the hardest battle this summer will come at running back, where four players are vying for three spots: Trung Canidate, Chad Morton, Kenny Watson and Ladell Betts. Watson is in terrific shape and is a good pass blocker. But he might be the odd man out. Remember, he's the only one not brought in by this regime. He's a Schottenheimer holdover.
Minicamp Report, Final Day
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