Mini Camp Report: Day 1

Here's the thing about Sean Taylor: He's big. And he looks even bigger on the field, compared to the typical safety. Then again, if he were the typical safety he would not have been the fifth overall draft pick.

But size alone won't land Taylor in the starting lineup. In his first minicamp practice, Taylor worked with the No. 3 unit as the Redskins will make him earn the job. Ifeanyi Ohalete and Matt Bowen were the starters.

''I don't want to get anything handed to me,'' Taylor said. ''I'm going to work and let people see me work and that's it.''

Kind of hard not to like that attitude. But in Taylor's first 9-on-9 passing drill, he got juked by H-back Brian Kozlowski. Taylor bit on an outside fake and Kozlowski turned back inside for the catch.

As Taylor pointed out, however, in a real game he would have inside help. Taylor, though, broke on the ball well and looked comfortable.

''They wouldn't bring you in if they didn't think you could pick it up fast,'' Taylor said. ''I ran to the ball hard, I practiced hard and that's all I can give.''

. . . Ohalete seemed to bristle when asked about his role on the team, telling reporters, ''You saw my role today.'' Ohalete also picked off quarterback Patrick Ramsey's first pass in the 9-on-9 drill. But Ohalete was generous toward Taylor, saying how all the safeties will help one another. Ohalete would not answer questions about the jersey number. He wore 26 today, as he should.

. . . Taylor does not appear overwhelmed at all by being surrounded by NFL players. Coming from Miami, he shouldn't be. Third-round pick Chris Cooley, however, admitted noticing that he was lined up across from linebacker LaVar Arrington on one occasion.

. . . From Joe Bugel: ''The guy I was impressed with was Dockery. He come light years, with his footwork, his confidence and firming up his body. He's a good puller. He'll be a whale of a player.''

That's high praise from Bugel. It was also unsolicited as we were talking about the rookie draft picks. But Dockery is still limited during the workouts.

. . . More Bugel, just because we like the guy and can't listen to him enough. This time on Chris Samuels: ''They told me this was the best offseason he's ever had. He's got a chip on his shoulder. He wants to do great and he didn't have a good year last year. He'll be the first to tell you that. . . But he has tremendous footwork. He's a shutdown tackle.''

. . . One thing about this rookie class: they're big. Real big. Jim Molinaro (6-foot-6, 309 pounds) and Mark Wilson (6-foot-6, 295 pounds) both are huge. Molinaro lined up at several spots today, including left guard, right tackle and right guard. Wilson seemed to line up mostly at left tackle.

. . . Quarterback Patrick Ramsey went through the whole practice and looked fine, at least from an injury standpoint. But receiver Laveranues Coles appeared to limp on occasion, perhaps from his toe injury.

. . . Ernie Zampese watched practice today, dressed in a velour sweatsuit. For whatever that's worth.

. . . As the defensive players did up-downs, Hall of Fame linebacker turned to a friend and, in disbelief as to what he was seeing, said, ''I thought Lombardi had died.''

. . . Running back Clinton Portis wore No. 6 today; receiver James Thrash wore No. 3. The whole number problem is ridiculous. Certain players meant a lot to this franchise, but too many numbers are protected. Guys who rank among the NFL greats should have their numbers retired. Guys like Bobby Mitchell, Darrell Green and Sonny Jurgensen. Two are in the Hall of Fame and the other will be. But Joe Theismann's No. 7 shouldn't be protected.

. . . The big difference between vets and rookies when it comes to offensive linemen: their feet. When they do blocking drills against a dummy, the vets are much faster at chopping their feet. The rookies look slower.

. . . Tight end Brian Kozlowski has good size and runs pretty well. He could be a nice fit and a good person for Chris Cooley to work with. Both look much quicker than players such as Kevin Ware, who appears to have swallowed a teammate.

. . . Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is not afraid to get on his players. Couldn't tell what he was saying because he was across the field, but certainly heard him get loud.

. . . Today's starting defensive linemen, from left to right: Renaldo Wynn, Cornelius Griffin, Joe Salavae'a and Phillip Daniels. Brandon Noble worked with the first unit at tackle during individual drills.

. . . Biggest size mismatch: rookie receiver John Standeford (6-foot-4) going against corner Rashad Bauman (generously listed at 5-foot-8). Bauman got the better of this deal, breaking up the pass in an 11-on-11 drill.

. . . One thing I noticed: the coaches ask the players a lot of questions, sounding like teachers. Heard that a lot today. Running backs coach Earnest Byner said to Rock Cartwright, ''Now, what am I thinking in this situation?'' When it's a classroom atmosphere on the field, that's good.

. . . LaVar Arrington lined up at right end again on occasion, just as he did last minicamp.

. . .Those waiting for a phone update, we apologize. Windy conditions made it hard to record quality sound from the field. We'll try again Saturday.


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