Mini-Camp Report: Day One

This did not feel like a minicamp. With the amount of media, it felt more like the beginning of a playoff game. But that's what Joe Gibbs created just by his presence on the first day. More than 40 media members attended this workout, including ESPN and the New York Times. That's much, much more than would usually show up. And it'll be like that all year.

For certain interviews -- quarterbacks Mark Brunell and Patrick Ramsey and running back Clinton Portis, the Redskins set up a stand outside, where seven microphones were placed in front of a chair. That's a first.

But what else would you expect from Gibbs' return?

Most of the players got their first taste of Gibbs in a one-hour Thursday night meeting in the auditorium here. He introduced staff and touched on many subjects, emphasizing the importance of the franchise to this community.

``That was the first time I've heard him talk in person and it was very impressive,'' Redskins safety Matt Bowen said. ``He made you want to be a Redskin. He talked about how important it was to be a Redskin. It got everyone excited. It got me excited to come to practice today and it got me excited to wear this helmet and come to work.

``He's a Hall of Fame coach. I've never played for a Hall of Fame coach.''

. . . As everyone has probably heard by now, the Redskins have given linebacker Jeremiah Trotter permission to seek a trade. It's not just a cap move: they just didn't think he fit into their plans. Based on his play the past two seasons I'd say he wasn't worth the dough. Philadelphia knew it, but Redskins owner Dan Snyder was desperate to have him.

Kevin Mitchell will get a shot to start, but I've talked to some in the organization who realize the guy has lost a step and might be past his prime. The guy I liked last year is Clifton Smith. He made excellent plays in the preseason and I know he has fans in the organization. Thing is, they liked him as someone who down the line could battle for a starting job. They weren't talking this year.

Gibbs ruled out LaVar Arrington moving inside and Marcus Washington has always been a pass-rush type, having played end at times in college. Stay tuned.

. . . Quarterback Patrick Ramsey admitted he was surprised by the signing of Mark Brunell and that he considered demanding a trade.

``I never demanded a trade,'' Ramsey said. ``The way I felt is that if I was coming in and Mark would come in and be the starter, there would be no competition. I didn't feel that would be a great situation for me. I was assured that would not be the situation. That's why I'm happy to still be here.''

. . . By the way, Arrington was here today. He'll address the media Saturday.

. . . Quarterback Mark Brunell did not look particularly sharp. I know, it's only March. But Patrick Ramsey threw a nicer ball. Ramsey did not take part in any nine-on-nine or full-team drills.

. . . On the first play of the full-team drills, the defense sent an all-out blitz, perhaps a little signal as to what everyone can expect this season.

. . . Receiver Cliff Russell continued to drop passes.

. . . Kenyatta Jones opened as the starting left guard. Not sure yet what that means.

. . . Corner Fred Smoot made his presence known, begging quarterbacks to throw his way. ``I'm open, man!''

. . . The Redskins had four officials working here today, a welcome sign over last season when they used them sparingly.

. . . The entire defense did a set of up-downs before embarking on their drills today.

. . . It was clear the Redskins sent a message about special teams' importance today. They worked on it for 15 minutes at the beginning of practice and Gibbs watched the entire time. Quite a change from the past two seasons.

I'll also say this: special teams coach Danny Smith has a lot of energy while coaching.

. . . Gibbs worked heavily with receivers, at times covering them as they ran their routes, giving them different looks to see how they adjusted to different coverages.

``Sell your fakes!'' he told them. More often than not they did.

. . . The number battle is on. When the Redskins introduced Clinton Portis at his initial press conference, they held up No. 26, the number he wore in Denver. Too bad it belongs to someone else: Ifeanyi Ohalete. And, from what we heard, Ohalete was steamed that the team did that (they've done it to others in the past). So Ohalete wants no part of a number swap. Instead, Portis wore No. 3 this afternoon.

``[Ohalete] won't even talk to me about it,'' Portis said. ``I hope you all convince him and say, `Portis doesn't look good in number 3. Give him 26.' ''

. . . From the are-you-kidding department: Receiver Laveranues Coles said he had no clue as to who Joe Gibbs was when he was hired. Coles was familiar with the name, but it wasn't until well afterward that he found out Gibbs had won three Super Bowls. Hard to believe.

. . . And yet another are-you-kidding: Byron Chamberlain showed up out of shape. He looked as big as he did last season when he was quite rotund. During one game in 2003 in which he was inactive, Chamberlain was spotted buying hot dogs at halftime. Can't imagine he'll last long.

. . . Meanwhile, tight end Kevin Ware looked bulkier, too, as did tight end Mike Sellers. If he can stay out of trouble Sellers could be a valuable pickup at the H-back spot. Unless they draft Kellen Winslow.

. . . Defensive tackle Brandon Noble was in uniform (shorts and a T-shirt) but obviously did not practice. But the former bearded one was cleanly shaven, making him look five years younger.

``It's nice to get some attention from my wife,'' he joked.

As for his return, Noble said he's confident he'll return this season.

. . . Center Lennie Friedman and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin got tangled up for a minute, each grabbing the other's facemask. Nothing came of it. But the hit of the day was safety Andre Lott taking down receiver Scott Cloman. And Matt Bowen once again was involved in a hit, knocking down receiver Kevin Swayne. After he did so, tight end Walter Rasby ran up to Bowen and said, ``Come on, man.''

. . . Right tackle Jon Jansen on his new position coach: ``I don't know what better situation to be in than to be with the Redskins with coach Bugel as your line coach.''

. . . Jansen on having center Cory Raymer back: ``He's as ugly as ever.''


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