Observing the Redskins

Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey has looked sharp in these coaching sessions, often hitting receivers in stride, or at least finding them when they're open. It's only June, but it's certainly better than looking bad at this point. Lots more observations too, check it out!

''I don't want to sound overconfident,'' Ramsey said, ''but as far as where we're throwing the ball and where we expect the receivers to be, they're there every time.''

. . . Both running backs Ladell Betts and Kenny Watson look a little bit quicker than a year ago. Which is understandable given their experience playing in this system for a year. Watson worked at increasing his speed in the offseason, at times dragging a blocking sled 40 yards during workouts. Betts worked at getting faster, too. But it's his comfort level that has raised his speed.

Betts has won over some players' hearts with his hard runs at the end of the year. Ramsey is one of them: during one film session Ramsey marveled at Betts' running ability, saying how strong his lower body was. If Betts improves at picking up the blitz, then he could be on the field even more.

Running back should be the most interesting competition this summer. Steve Spurrier said one of the contenders likely will be cut, meaning Watson could be in trouble. But if he looks good this summer--and Trung Canidate doesn't--who would be released? Canidate has speed, but other parts of his game are not as polished as Watson's.

. . . Chad Morton has the coaches anxious for this summer and not just because of his kick return ability. He's constantly juking defenders after catching passes. He did so Monday, leaving Matt Bowen reaching to his right while Morton scooted the other way, drawing oooh's and aaaah's.

. . . It's a shame that Justin Skaggs will be undergoing knee surgery, ending any chance he had of making the Redskins' roster. He was a longshot anyway: he was at best the seventh receiver and he was merely an average special teamer (for now). But he was a great story and a hard working kid, which is why he is liked in the organization.

. . . One thing worries me about the Redskins losing Joe Mendes: who is their voice of reason? Mendes could sound a cautionary note and be heard. There's no one who will do that now. Vinny Cerrato likes to find a way to grant the owner's wishes, which can be good and bad. That can lead to some creative deals, but also some negative one's.

But Mendes could play a big role this season. If Ramsey succeeds, then Mendes gets an assist. He pushed hard for the Redskins to draft him last year. And he fought hard NOT to trade him last summer when others in the organization wanted to do so last training camp.


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