The A.M. Camp Report: Day 7

Joe Gibbs paused during his post-practice press gathering as he spotted a group of fans heading for the exit. A few fans sat in wheelchairs. A few were mentally challenged. So Gibbs asked the media to excuse him for a minute then called out to the group, ''Is there anything you want me to sign. I don't think I got you over there.''

Amazing. It's no wonder this guy is so beloved. Sometimes athletes might do certain things just to create an image. With Gibbs, there's no doubt this was genuine.

As he signed the shirt of one fan confined to a wheelchair, the fan said, ''Thank you for coming back to coach. My dad would be tickled to death to see this.''

When Gibbs returned, he said, ''I appreciate all the fans. I'm sorry I couldn't get autographs for everybody.''

. . . Linebacker Mike Barrow injured his left knee during practice and will undergo an MRI this afternoon. He got hurt during a nine-on-nine drill and was on the field for a few minutes before getting off under his own power. But he did not immediately leave for the locker room, a good sign. The Redskins say the MRI is just precautionary.

. . . Linebacker LaVar Arrington did not practice this morning because of a bruised left calf. Lemar Marshall took his place in the starting lineup.

. . . It's sometimes funny to hear the crowd's reaction to plays during practice. A running back will get stopped at the line of scrimmage, but because the line is instructed not to tackle him, he'll bounce outside and get into the secondary. And the crowd will go crazy. That's why it's sometimes hard to gauge who's actually doing well at times. In another drill, there are no corners. So if a guy runs wide, he'll easily snap off a long gain.

. . . Not sure if Sultan McCullough has a great shot to make the team yet. But he did have one nice run off a screen pass. After turning upfield, he collided with safety Andre Lott, ramming his right shoulder into the starter (for now). He knocked Lott backward as they tumbled to the ground. If Lott is getting knocked back by McCullough, what will happen during a game against a starting back?

. . . Chad Morton remains explosive out of the backfield. And he's very hard for linebackers to cover. Gibbs has noticed this, too. Morton's offensive role will be reduced this season, but he'll still occasionally play on third down.

. . . James Thrash made the catch of the day when he hauled in a Mark Brunell pass down the right sideline with one hand, reaching over cornerback Michael Hall. A few minutes later Darnerien McCants made a nice grab, reaching back for an underthrown Patrick Ramsey pass.

. . . Corner Fred Smoot made a nice diving interception in the end zone of a Tim Hasselbeck pass. Smoot nearly picked off Brunell while going against Scott Cloman.

. . . Can't see any way Gibran Hamdan beats out Hasselbeck. When asked about Hamdan this morning, Gibbs had a hard time finding things to say. Hamdan must really look good during games to have a chance. In reality, he'd be best served by spending another season on the practice squad, then returning to NFL Europe. Maybe then he'd have a realistic shot at making the roster.

. . . Clinton Portis made another nice run today, bouncing back one run toward the middle and sprinting upfield. One fan yelled out, ''Portis, you rock!'' And Portis waved to the crowd as he jogged back to the huddle.

. . . The Redskins had their scout teams running Denver plays on both sides of the ball today.


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