Mini-Camp Report: Day Three

Matt Bowen chased down Kevin Swayne after a pass, leading to an exchange of words, fists and more words. Two plays later offensive lineman Kenyatta Jones and defensive lineman Bernard Whittington got into a brief tussle. This is March?

But that's the intensity the Redskins displayed throughout the weekend, where they conducted three spirited minicamp workouts. It ended Sunday and the next one is scheduled for the week after the draft.

``Hey, basketball isn't the only thing with March Madness,'' Redskins corner Fred Smoot said. ``We're going through it right now.''

Bowen is often involved in numerous scrapes, mainly because he's physical in practice. It's uncertain why Swayne was so upset, but after a long run after the catch, Bowen caught up to him. Seconds later, the two are tangled up and Swayne throws the ball off Bowen's facemask.

As they walked back, Bowen called him a ``punk.'' When he reached the sideline, Bowen slammed his helmet to the ground.

Not everything was that intense, but there was competition among the players. Corner Fred Smoot fell on one pass, giving up a completion and prompting offensive players to let Smoot know about his misfortune, including tackle Jon Jansen.

But Smoot always has a retort. Later in the 11-on-11 drill, Jansen was knocked to the ground.

``Hey you, big Jansen!'' Smoot shouted from the sidelines. Jansen didn't respond.

Makes you wonder what's going to happen come late July.

. . . Corner Ade Jimoh had his negative moments last year and probably won't make the roster. But he covered well today, staying step for step with, at times, Taylor Jacobs and Cliff Russell, twice. Jimoh had perfect inside position in man coverage and easily defended the pass. But this may say more about the wideouts than the corner.

. . . That said, Jacobs looked OK, making a nice leaping catch over corner Michael Hall (all together now: who's he?). Jacobs is five pounds heavier and it appears to be all muscle. He's worked much harder in the weight room already and will continue to do so. He needed it.

. . . One coach said Kevin Mitchell always beefed privately about what he was asked to do. But he always did it -- and he did it with 100 percent effort. More impressively, Mitchell never complained publicly. He just remained a backup and standout on special teams.

``It was hard not to complain,'' Mitchell said, ``but I get paid to do a job. Whatever job I have to do, do it 100 percent whether I like it or not. It's still my responsibility.''

That's why it's easy to root for him to win the starting job. Or at least to be in the race.

LaVar Arrington said Mitchell should have started in some situations last year. Mitchell agrees.

``Something could have been done to save [Jeremiah Trotter's] knees a little bit,'' Mitchell said. ``At times he was a hinderance more than he was helping.''

. . . Tight end Kevin Ware weighs 259 pounds and looks big enough to take on defensive ends. But he also looked a bit sluggish because of the weight. On one route down the middle, he just looked heavy and slow. Another time, linebacker Marcus Washington made Ware look slow on a pass rush when Ware was assigned to pick him up.

. . . Running back Clinton Portis is shifty when he gets the ball in the open field. The nice thing about him is that he can change direction while still moving fast and forward. Trung Canidate could do neither, which is why he was never dangerous in the open field.

. . . And here's another thing on Portis: he picked up Regan Upshaw once on a pass rush and didn't lose his ground. I don't care who the end is, that's not easy.

. . . This is where Mark Brunell's experience is handy: he did a nice job throwing passes against the blitz, putting the ball in spots where the defender can't get near it, walled off by the receiver. And when Brunell rolls right, he throws with a lot of zip.

. . . It's hard not to get fired up listening to Joe Bugel talk. He's told the story a hundred times about Gibbs calling him about returning. But he put a new spin on it this weekend: ``My wife handed me my toothbrush, three pairs of underwear and said, `I'll see you in five years.' ''

. . . But I wish Portis would find a pair of shorts that didn't reveal his under garments every time he ran, as happened all weekend. Just a bad look.

. . . Ex-Gibbs Redskins in attendance: Doc Walker, Joe Jacoby and Cary Conklin.

. . . Worst smell when you're a hungry reporter: bratwurst, steaks and chicken being grilled. That's what the Redskins had afterward for the players and coaches. It's even worse when you're not invited.

. . . But this is no surprise: Randy Thomas was the first in line, soon joined by most of the offensive linemen.


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