Spotlight on: Derrick Dockery

At the second minicamp, without any prompting, Joe Bugel veered off-topic and started talking about Derrick Dockery. He moves well. He looks good. He's going to be a good player.

It was clear Bugel couldn't wait to work with Dockery in training camp. It's also clear Dockery learned a lot playing as a rookie, lessons the Redskins hope will pay off this season.

''It's my intensity level,'' Dockery said, ''the way I practice now is totally different. It's a lot harder, a lot faster. That's coach Buges mentality. Even during walk-throughs -- they really don't walk through them, they're out there practicing. We're running, doing things. Hopefully it will transfer.'' And he pays attention to what Bugel says, knowing how much faith he should invest in the longtime line coach.

''He works on the little things,'' Dockery said, ''staying low, punching. Coach Bugel talks about being more explosive in whatever we do and that helps a lot.'' Dockery will be a key player this season. Chris Samuels is coming off a disappointing season and some teammates say playing next to an inexperienced guard didn't help.

Samuels' best seasons came when he played next to veteran guards such as Keith Sims and Dave Szott. They could help him with assignments when needed. Or their presence enabled him to worry only about his job. That's not the case playing next to a guard just learning to play in the NFL. So it's comforting for the Redskins to hear how Dockery feels he's progressing.

''I've grown as far as being comfortable and mature and how to approach things,'' he said. ''The coaching change helped a lot because they encourage me, tell me I can do different things. They tell me I have a lot of talent and that has to transfer onto the field. I've been put in a great situation. We're a very close, cohesive group. We have each other's backs. If one fights we're all fighting and I like that.''

What Dockery's linemates liked last season was his demeanor. He didn't fret over penalties or bad plays. Instead, he showed an inner toughness that immediately won them over.

''Last year I started off slow but I was always confident in my ability,'' Dockery said. ''I knew I wouldn't be here if I wasn't good enough. I thought I was one of the best linemen who came out last year anyway. I had to prove it.''

And it helps Dockery to know how high Bugel is on him.

''Man, that gives you a lot of confidence,'' Dockery said, ''knowing you have a Hall of Fame coach who thinks highly of you and knowing your coach is behind you 100 percent.''

That wasn't always the case with Kim Helton last season. Few, if any, Redskins assistant coaches have been disapproved of in recent years as much as Helton. He wasn't a bad guy for the media, but the players didn't like his style. It's not just the coaching change along the line. It's all of them.

''I like it a lot,'' Dockery said of the staff changes. ''They bring a level of excitement back to the city and the team, too. They bring a winning atmosphere, the aura, the personality and how they are. They're old coaches but they love being here and we love being here, too.'


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