. . . Danny Wuerffel is the solid No. 3 quarterback right now, though he'll clearly challenge Rob Johnson for the No. 2 spot. Johnson has struggled to adapt to Steve Spurrier's system--in the West Coast offense, you go through a progression; in Spurrier's system, the QB eyes a place on the field.
Wuerffel is one of the nicest and most polite NFL players you'll ever meet. And he's also one of the most helpful toward other quartebacks, especially Patrick Ramsey. Many times last season Wuerffel would talk with Ramsey on the sidelines. Coaches often yell at their players, so it's nice for a young quarterback to have a fellow QB as a sounding board during a game.
In essence, Wuerffel is like a third coach.
Also, it's clear that Gibran Hamdan would have major problems if he ever had to enter a game. There's no way Hamdan could even do what Wuerffel did against St. Louis and Dallas last season. He's not great, but he does improve the position.
But Wuerffel showed his weakness this morning: arm strength. He floated a deep out to receiver James Johnson that was nearly intercepted by corner Rashidi Barnes. Spurrier told Wuerffel, ''Dadgumit, zip the ball!''
. . . Running back Ladell Betts is unlikely to play against Carolina on Saturday. It now appears that his sprained left shoulder will sideline him at least another week. The Redskins say they're not worried about him--they know what he can do. And his goal-line runs in the only practice he participated in have whetted their appetities, not to mention bought him some time.
Betts did run a few plays against no defense. But he's not even putting a helmet on.
. . . Receiver Darnerien McCants sat out again with his hamstring injury. Wonder how patient the coaches will be with him considering how many receivers fighting for jobs have looked good (Scott Cloman, Richmond Flowers, Pat Woodcock). McCants better get healthy soon.
. . . Rookie Derrick Dockery has steadily improved. Last week I was tough on him, with good reason. He wasn't bad, but he clearly wasn't someone ready to push for a starting job. I'd still leave the line as is, giving Patrick Ramsey a full set of veterans in front of him. But Dockery has shown that he takes instructions well and applies what he learns. He lined up with the first unit at left guard today and handled himself well.
Another time, as a right guard, Dockery faced Renaldo Wynn. Wynn lunged into him, then ran a stunt with Ladairis Jackson. Dockery had no problems picking it up.
. . . End Regan Upshaw sat out practice again to rest his knee. He also missed Sunday. But he's expected to return this afternoon.
. . . Left tackle Chris Samuels buried end Bruce Smith during a nine on seven drill, clearing a huge hole for back Chad Morton.
. . . Running back Trung Canidate has the speed to do this: turn around and head the opposite direction on a play in which the middle is stuffed.
He did that on one play and was helped when safety Todd Franz abandoned his area.
''We've got everyone and their sister over there!'' defensive coordinator George Edwards shouted at Franz. ''Stay out there!''
. . . Canidate looks too easy to bring down when he runs through the middle. He's not big (though he's listed at 205 pounds) and runs upright. Linebacker Orantes Grant bumped into him on one run, causing Canidate to fall.
But Canidate did have a nice blitz pickup against linebacker Chris Clemons in an 11-on-11 drill
. . . Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson shouted at the running backs to hit the holes harder. The first one to do so: rookie Sultan McCullough.
''That's a football play, Sultan! That's how you run!'' Jackson yelled.
. . . Don't buy into any punting competition. There's a subtle, but strong difference between Bryan Barker and Brent Bartholomew. The latter seems to take an extra half-second to get his kicks off. He's also very inconsistent. Barker's not terrific, but Bartholomew is too up and down in practice.
. . . Grant earned special teams coach Mike Stock's wrath this morning. Seems Grant was too flat-footed approaching the punt returner and out of his lane. As Grant ran back toward Stock, he must have tried to defend himself. To which Stock replied, ''Bull----!'' Then Stock let Greg Scott have it when he was late running out onto the line.
''You want to cover or you want to sit on the bench?!'' Stock yelled.
. . .Funny sight: Quarterback Gibran Hamdan standing in line for the lone port-a-potty on the field. During the season, with no fans, there's no need for any outdoor restroom. Not with the amount of trees out here.
. . . Guard Lennie Friedman also is working at center. He's struggled at times at guard. Today, in a one-on-one drill, DT Del Cowsette easily got inside Friedman, who then got a teaching lesson from Kim Helton who told him he was too high. Next time, Friedman rode Cowsette to the outside.
. . . DT Bernard Holsey overpowered guard Brad Bedell in that drill. For what that's worth.
. . . WR Rod Gardner made a nice catch over the middle in an 11-on-11 drill. Gardner knew he was going to get hit by linebacker Clifton Smith, yet caught the ball and hung on.
. . . Renaldo Wynn will occasionally line up over center in a 3-4 alignment, which he did this morning.
Morning Report - Day 8
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